About the artist:
Ursula Goff is a is a super talented colourist, with a passion for rainbows and vibrant hair colour. With a big following on her Flickr feed, her unique creations have gone viral online. Ursula runs her own salon in Wichita, US, and has years of experience. Ursula’s creativity and passion for colour extents beyond hair, with her stunning handmade tulle rainbow skirts that she sells in her Etsy store.
Today she talks to us about life as a rainbow hair artist and shares some of her creations.
Here is our Q&A with Ursula Goff:
What inspired you to start working with hair?
My own hair has always been a defining feature for me, even when not coloured. It’s really thick, curly, coarse, fluffy, and red. People always commented on it or touched it.
Around age 13, I started experimenting with colour because I was bored – namely, Kool Aide and tinted styling mousse that my mom found for me. Then I moved on to highlighting kits and permanent colour, and around age 15, discovered Manic Panic. Then my friends started asking me to help them colour their hair. So it was just a thing I did mainly for fun.
I never considered it as a career option, though. I first went to art school to study fashion design, which didn’t work out, so I transferred to a state university to study psychology. That didn’t work out either! So I came home and had no idea what I was going to do. Until one day, a co-worker where I was waitressing at said, “Why don’t you go to hair school? You’re always colouring your hair and everyone else’s hair.” So I went, pretty much on a whim, and it ended up working out really well!
The chameleon: Some of Ursula’s many hair colours…
What do you do when you aren’t colouring?
I am an artist at heart, so lots of creative things. I occasionally draw and paint, but more often lately find myself designing clothes, refurbishing furniture, making cakes, and various other crafty things. I also homeschool my kids, so that provides a lot of opportunities for creativity and travel. I’m also am in college again full time to finally finish my psychology degree, in addition to running a small business doing hair and selling my various creations…so I stay pretty busy.
What are you the most thankful for?
Wow, um….everything?! Really, I often stop to ponder how lucky I was to be born in one of the greatest places in the world, in one of the greatest times, with so much access to opportunity and pretty much everything I could ever need or want. My children do not have to want for anything, I don’t have to worry about their safety or security, and I have a husband who loves me very much. At the same time, I get to do a job and pursue an education that are both very fulfilling. I literally have nothing to be grumpy about!
When did you discover your passion for rainbows?
I’ve pretty much always had it! As far back as I can remember, it was something I doodled on everything. If I had something to decorate, whether at home or at school or wherever, you can bet I was using rainbows (and lots of glitter) to do it. My daughter seems to have picked up the preference, also, so maybe it’s genetic!
If you could dye anyones hair who would it be?
Hmm…you know, I think I already get to dye hair on a lot of great people. I love my clients – they are my friends and my social life! And I am honoured that I have been able to help some of them come out of their shells and go from conforming due to all the social pressure to be a certain way, to being who they really want to be without worrying about what other people might think. And that’s really the type of influence I wanted to have – to help others feel comfortable being who they want to be.
Some of Ursula’s colourful rainbow hair clients…
What do you think is the hottest look or trend at the moment?
Well, I am certainly glad to see that colourful hair in general has become popular over the last few years! Right this second, though, I think that we will see more subtle pastels being mixed with natural colours becoming trendy, as it’s a safe way to ease into more extreme looks, or to just shake up one’s natural look a little, and it’s fairly low maintenance.
What do you think is the most rewarding part of being a colourist?
Like I mentioned before, I really love helping my clients see themselves in a new way, or helping them realise their vision, or even just to have a little fun with their appearance. I also really value the relationships that it’s allowed me to develop over the years, both with the clients that I see in person, and with other people in the colourist community – like yourself Anya!
What are your pet peeves?
Probably my biggest one is when someone that has bleached hair asks to go dark brown or black, and I have a clear conversation about how once it’s dark, THEY’RE COMMITTED – at least for several months – and they say okay, and so we colour it dark, and a month later, they want it bleached again! I’m not a wizard!
Which colours do you think are the most popular?
Pink and blue have always been the most popular requests, so definitely those two. Although lately, pastel versions of those, and also lavender, have become very big. Oh, and silver and grey – I am seeing a lot of those, too.
Who inspires you?
I’ve come across lots of great colourists over the years, including you Anya! But honestly, I am pretty frequently surprised by what I see a lot of amateurs and young kids doing – they can be pretty innovative and can really surprise me with their ideas. I think sometimes when you haven’t been boxed in by any formal training (and this applies to all fields), then you’re maybe a little more likely to experiment and come up with new concepts that others wouldn’t have thought of.
I am also frequently inspired by art and photography. There are often really beautiful colour combinations all around us if we pay attention, and I get a lot of ideas just from looking around – something as simple as a pile of fabric in my sewing area can be enough to get the wheels turning in my head. I’ve been exposed to a lot of great colourists online, particularly in places like Haircrazy.info, which is filled with mostly amateurs of all ages who are tremendously creative, and
One of Ursula’s rainbow hair masterpieces…
Do you have any tips for people who aspire to become a colourist?
Pay attention! Look around you – there is inspiration everywhere.
Also, play with a lot of paint; it’s incredibly helpful to understand colour theory thoroughly, and vivid colours operate within the same colour mixing rules that paint does. I have used my experience as a painter to help me come up with good colour transitioning strategies and unique combinations.
When it comes to bleaches and permanent dyes, understand your chemistry and hair structure. I know that a lot of the creative people drawn to this field don’t love science, but in this particular area, it will help so much if you really understand what’s happening to the hair. It will make you a better colourist and it will also help preserve the integrity of your and your clients’ hair when you are trying to work with extreme colours and dramatic changes. Your clients will thank you for it!
Lastly, make sure you are enjoying what you do. If you love what you’re doing, that will translate into your work, and you will feel intrinsically motivated to always do your best and to keep getting better. Even better, it won’t feel like work – it will feel like fun! You can’t put a price on that.
Follow Ursula Goff online…
Check out more photos of her stunning hair colour work. Plus you can buy Ursula’s handmade tulle rainbow skirts in her Etsy shop.
Just click the links below:
Want to create rainbow hair at home?
Discover Anya’s eBook guide: ‘Any Colour Of The Rainbow – The Ultimate Guide to Alternative Hair Colour‘. This guide covers everything from safe bleaching with ammonia free bleach to creating stunning multi colours with foil. Find out all the best products, how to do pastel colours, how to maintain vibrant colour, create ombre colour like to professionals and so much more…
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