About the Artist…
Alyssa works at Stylin’ Salon in Norwalk, Connecticut, and in just 5 years she has taken the hair colour world by storm! She has had her creations featured on Behind the Chair and Modern Salon, and is most known for her Lisa Frank and Galaxy inspired hair designs. Today Alyssa shares her story with us…
Here is our Q & A with Alyssa Wiener:
How did you come to be a rainbow hair specialist? When did you first realise you had passion for it?
I went to a private Jewish school from the time I was 3 until I was 13. During 7th and 8th grade was when I really began learning how to express myself, thanks to my sister who’s 8 years older than I am. She was “goth” at the time. I borrowed her punky clothes and I started colouring the tips of my hair black after my Bat Mitzvah. It soon after became my whole head. This turned into me coming home from my first few days of public high school with bright orange hair – thanks to Electric Lava by Manic Panic. In a few short months I went pink, blue, rainbow, you name it. I completely chemically cut my hair from lightening it every other week and met the hairstylist who asked, “have you ever thought about being a cosmetologist?” This was when I was 15 and nothing else made sense after that. I set my goals on beginning cosmetology school right after I graduated high school.
What do you do when you aren’t colouring/creating?
I have a huge anxiety disorder so it’s really important to me to try and keep my personal and work life separated. I have a boyfriend of soon to be 7 years who’s the coolest 4th grade teacher ever; we attend a lot of concerts together, we like to hike, we like to explore! I really enjoy baking. I used to have hopes of opening up my own salon/bakery (although I don’t think health codes would ever let me do so!) I also study a lot of colour theory through other outlets such as interior design, which is another passion of mine thanks to my late grandmother. She had such an eye for colour which is where I think I inherit it from. I practice some makeup as well, although I don’t think that’s something I’d ever do professionally, more of just something fun for myself.
Currently, what’s your favourite rainbow hair trend to try on customers?
I really like to do everything and I’m truly honored so many clients and friends walk around with my art on their head. “I trust you” are my three favorite words. I like the bright and the bold. I enjoy doing colour stories that you don’t necessarily see together often – like orange with pops of blue and purple, for example. I’m not a huge fan of pastels solely because I like to let my creations live for a while without fading immensely after one or two shampoos.
If you could colour anyones hair who would it be?
I would LOVE to do Jeffree Star‘s hair. I’ve loved him for the past 10 years and think he’s such an interesting person. So Jeffree, let me know what’s good.
What do you think is the most rewarding part of being a colourist?
Nothing is better than making people look on the outside what they feel like on the inside. I love being able to bring everyone’s inner beauty out into the open. To see them smile, sometimes even scream, selfie a million times after (and hashtag #LyssDidMyHair) and wear it proudly is honestly the most rewarding feeling.
What are your pet peeves?
When clients come in and think they know more than me or become a backseat driver. You’re in my chair for a reason and that’s my expertise! I don’t go to my tattoo artist and tell him what ink to use, or go to my doctor and tell him what antibiotics I need. Don’t do it to your hairstylist either! I appreciate you’re into your hair the way you are, but trust me, I have it handled.
What are the top 3 things that every woman needs to know before she even thinks about rainbow hair?
1) It is a commitment! It’s high maintenance and not for the faint of heart. Your colour WILL fade if you don’t take care of it properly and you will need to be in the salon at least every 8 weeks.
2) It might take more than one appointment to get where your ideal colour is. If your hair is dark, a light blue might not be possible in one sitting. Be patient! It’ll all be worth it, every step of the way.
3) People will stare. You’re going to be the main character in your own anime show. They’re going to ask weird questions like, “did you do that for Halloween?” or, “is that a wig?” Let them be naive. Enjoy the stares. Kids will think you’re magical.
Who or what inspires you?
I’m lucky to be surrounded by such genuine artists thanks to Instagram and other social media outlets. You, Anya Goy, were one of the first if not the first person I ever saw do rainbow hair. You and Ursula Goff are two artists who I’ve been following since before I even became legally licensed, and have continued to inspire me. Brazilian Bond Builder aka b3 also deserves a ginormous shout out – they have created this family of like-minded creators who are so talented yet so humble. We did the first b3 retreat in Santa Monica this past June, and it was so phenomenal to be surrounded by these great talents just bouncing ideas off of one another. Truly an experience I will never forget.
What do you think is next for you? What would you love to see yourself doing in another 5 years?
I would love to become an independent educator and travel teaching vivid techniques. I love being behind the chair but I’ve always had a passion for education, especially new and upcoming artists in the industry. What better way to see the world than to do it while doing something I have such a passion for?
Do you have any tips for aspiring hair colourists?
Do not be afraid to experiment. There are no mistakes, only discoveries. My favorite techniques have come from me saying, “well what would happen if…”
Also, don’t lose passion. Boredom is a sure shot road to the death of your career. Always stay on top of trends and NEVER STOP LEARNING! I can learn something from someone straight out of school, and someone with 20 years of experience can learn something from me. We are all in this industry for one reason – because we love seeing people feel good about themselves. Don’t close yourself off into a clique and don’t think you’re better than anyone else. The only person you should try to be better than is the person you were yesterday. Don’t lose sight of why you got into hair in the first place – it’s the best canvas. It’s the crown we don’t take off. Have FUN with it!
Follow Alyssa Wiener online…
Check out more photos of her stunning hair colour work! Or book an appointment with Alyssa via the salon. Just click the links below:
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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?
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