His childhood fantasy was show business. But he realized that if he didn't make it big, he was likely to be singing at weddings and funerals in his hometown of Clifton, New Jersey. So he gathered up his courage and asked his father to send him to beauty school.
He had talent. And he had a big personality. His only flaw, a mentor told him, was his name: Richard Anthony Patire was not a winner on a marquee or a salon. But his nickname was Ricky and his Cuban friends called him Riqué. Thus was born a talented exotic.
The lure of the spotlights was irresistible --- as soon as he could, Riqué moved where show business and hair were both big.
He couldn't have arrived in Music City at a better time. In the early '80s, music videos were coming on. And so was a new breed of country musician --- rebellious, authentic women who had no interest in mountains of teased hair. Riqué knew how to make hair camera-ready and audience-friendly, so home viewers and people in the nosebleed section saw hair that was perfectly in place. At the same time, he “took the helium out of hair styling” --- he deflated “big hair.
He met Rosanne Cash, who loved her new look and became a client --- and friend --- for life. She introduced him to Emmylou Harris, who became a client --- and friend --- for life. Word traveled. He did the Judds' first video. Alabama called.
Soon he had a problem --- finding products that worked for his clients. Not just because, as he says, “your hair gets used to certain products and then you need to change,” but also because people who regularly appear on camera and in concert get almost daily hair treatments --- and no product seemed to restore all that was lost in those sessions.
In 1994, Riqué solved the problem by launching his own product line.
He had a terrific slogan, a gift from Emmylou Harris --- “tested only on musicians.”
And a terrific core ingredient --- the highest grade of aloe.
“Aloe --- in combination with other botanicals --- is magic,” he says. “It maintains a natural look and, because of its concentration, continually heals as it styles. You can see for yourself: When you get a cut, cover the wound with aloe. It heals much faster.”
There's also a consumer advantage, he says, to the aloe in his products: “It's so concentrated that you use less.”
For best results, he suggests a three-product process:
CLEANSE: “A moisturizing shampoo for all hair types. You should see a rapid thickening of your hair. That's because it contains pathenal and henna --- clear henna, not a coloring --- which gives hair a shine. And it also has wheat proteins to help strengthen your hair.”
RECONSTRUCT: “Use this intense protein conditioner after you shampoo. It's especially helpful if you chemically treat your hair. If you don't use color, just one treatment a week will help strengthen and deep-condition your hair. This also has sun-protectants to help with color fading and the waning ozone.”
MOISTURE: “This contains most of the same ingredients as CLEANSE but helps seal the cuticle, adds shine and makes hair more manageable.”
For those who need control and body, he created WHIPP, an alcohol-free gel/foam. Alcohol is in most styling products, and it has a drying effect,” he says. “Many people use it for that reason --- it helps you go big. WHIPP has aloe, pathenal and other conditioners to give you that same performance, but it conditions as it controls. For that reason, men like it --- you don't need much, and the kiwi-and-mango smell is so faint it won't compete with cologne.”
Rounding out the product line are SPRAE, a workable hair spray with especially good “hold” that's also great for split ends, and NET, a firm “hold” finisher. Both products have almond glycerides and botanical extracts to add shine and resist humidity.
For those new to his products, Riqué recommends the Starter Pack #3. [There are smaller, less expensive Starter Packs here and here.] “It's heavily discounted,” he explains. “No matter how often you use these products, this supply should last five to eight months or more, depending on your length of hair.”
For the past few years, the women in my life have been Riqué fanatics. And I have noticed, ever since the little one switched to RECONSTRUCT, there are fewer knots in her hair --- and many fewer calls to the police from neighbors who wonder about the cause of those post-bath screams.
And me? For decades, I have used Mane 'N Tail --- a horse shampoo. I not only still have my hair, I whinny if you pat my head. And at $8.95 for 32 ounces, I also had the satisfaction of of getting quite the bargain.
Old habits die hard. But Mane 'N Tail has been an easy one to break. Because if I needed any convincing beyond a) Riqué's superior product and b) Riqué's commitment to give a portion of all proceeds to humanitarian and environmental causes, there is c) the endorsement of Riqué by Emmylou Harris. When was the last time she spoke up for products? Hasn't happened. But here she is, for Riqué: "I love these products; I call them 'Riqué on the road.'" In this house, that's not small.
As you read this, Riqué is probably in Nashville or Los Angeles, cutting and styling the stars. In the anonymity of a New York apartment, he's my family's virtual strength conditioner. Everybody wins.
To buy Starter Pack #3 from Amazon.com, click here.
To buy Starter Pack #2 from Amazon.com, click here.
To buy Starter Pack #1 from Amazon.com, click here.
To buy CLEANSE from Amazon.com, click here.
To buy RECONSTRUCT from Amazon.com, click here.
To buy MOISTURE from Amazon.com, click here.
To buy WHIPP from Amazon.com, click here.
To buy SPRAE from Amazon.com, click here.
To buy NET from Amazon.com, click here.
To visit Riqué's web site, click here.