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Last updated: December 04, 2017

3 Award-Winning Color Formulas Perfect For Spring

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The winners of Paul Mitchell’s second annual haircolor competition, Color Outside the Lines, have been announced! Kim Gordon of Roswell, Ga. took home the grand prize. Best New Talent went to Tina Greene of Irvine, Calif. and Best International Grand Prize went to Maria Agafonova of Russia. They will now head to Sardinia, Italy in June to attend John Paul Mitchell Systems’ Global Gathering! Take a look at the winning looks below, and check out the winners’ color formulas and how-tos!


Best National Grand Prize Winner
Kim Gordon
Roswell, Ga.



Kim used a color melting technique to blend three, distinct colors, randomly pulling pieces throughout to add dimension.


Starting level: 5




Paul Mitchell Color Formulas
Formula A: SynchroLift + 10-volume Cream Developer


Formula B: SynchroLift + 20-volume Cream Developer


Formula C: POP XG Purple + POP XG Diluter


Formula D: 3 parts POP XG Yellow + 1 part POP XG Teal + 1 part POP XG Green


Formula E: 2 parts Super Charged Moisturizer + 1 part POP XG Yellow


1. Kim applied Formula A 1/8 inch from the scalp down to the line of demarcation. Once processed to about 75 percent of the desired level, she applied Formula B to the base and pulled through to the ends.


2. Next, she applied Formula C to the base, over the entire head.


3. Starting in the nape, she applied Formula D in horizontal, ¼-inch bricklay sections, blending it into the base color and extending it out into the midshaft (about 3½ to 4 inches out). “Make sure while applying to stroke upward and downward to blend the colors seamlessly,” she notes.


4. Kim blended Formula E (the final color) into the ends, making sure to stroke upward and downward to blend into Formula D.


Best New Talent Grand Prize Winner
Tina Greene
Irvine, Calif.



Inspired by abstract expressionism painter Mark Rothko’s artwork, Tina created a graphic, block color look paired with a strong, round graduated cut. “With openness for a complete transformation, I was able to tailor everything around the color,” says Tina. “I wanted to balance her strong features with a softer color choice and bring to life the more graphic elements of the delicate pastels hues in a sunset scene.”


Natural level: 3; starting level: 9/10 (previously lightened)




Paul Mitchell Color Formulas
Formula A: Synchro Lift + 20-volume developer


Formula B: POP XG Peachy Keen


Formula C: equal parts POP XG Yellow + POP XG Orange + Instant Moisture Daily Treatment


Formula D: equal parts POP XG Yellow + Instant Moisture Daily Treatment


Formula E: POP XG 1 part Blue + 2 parts Instant Moisture Daily Treatment


1. Tina started by lifting her model’s regrowth to a Level 9/10 using Formula A. She then blow-dried the hair smooth.


2. Next, she clipped away the fringe area, from the apex to the front of the ears and placed a visor on her model’s forehead.


3. She then applied Formula A in 1/8-inch sections to the hairline and covered with another visor.


4. Taking the next 1/8-inch section, she colored from the base to about 1½ inches from the ends with Formula B and colored the remaining 1½ inch with Formula C. She repeated this step until she reached halfway up the full fringe section.


5. Apply Formula E to the base, working your way up each section until the width of Formula E is 2 to 2½ inches. Tina continued to paint Formula B through the midshaft and Formula C about 1½ inches through the ends in each 1/8-inch section.


6. When she reached about halfway through the placement of Formula D, she stated adding Formula E in between Formulas B and C. “The blue was supposed to look more like a brush stroke compared to the orange and yellow,” says Tina. “By dabbing the tip of your tint brush onto the hair as opposed to sweeping it on, that will help emulate that effect.”


7. At this point, Tina had a small triangle above the Formula D placement that hadn’t been colored. She continued to take 1/8-inch sections, painting that triangle with Formula B, while following though the ends as follows: Formula D, B, E and C. She used the previous section as a template to color as she followed through the fringe. “The aim was to create distinct differences between all of the colors—you do not want them to be blended,” Tina notes.


8. She processed for 15 to 20 minutes, then rinsed with tepid water, rinsing the fringe first. 


Best International Grand Prize Winner
Maria Agafonova




Maria, who lives in Russia, was inspired by the spectrum of pastel colors of the cold Russian sunset above the Siberian mountains. “I interpreted the soft pastels of the sky and the powerful winter mountains in my model’s hair,” says Maria.


Natural level: 6




Paul Mitchell Color Formulas
Formula A: SynchroLift Powder + 20-volume developer


Formula B: Flash Finish Icy Blue Violet + 5-volume developer


Formula C: INKworks Semi-Permanent Hair Color (see below)


1. Maria started with a Paul Mitchell Platinum Card technique (a global foil application leaving no hair out) using Formula A. She applied the lightener one inch off scalp and processed for 20 minutes, then applied the same formula on the roots and all over and processed for another 30 to 40 minutes.


2. Next, she isolated a triangle-shaped section in the back (starting about 1½ inches down the apex) for her sunset pastels. Leaving the triangle section out, she toned all over with Formula B and processed for 10 minutes.


3. Maria divided the triangular section into 11 smaller and equal-sized triangles (approximately 1/5 inch each). She then applied six INKworks formulas, as pictured in the diagram below. She processed for 20 minutes with heat.


1: White + Purple (starting on both sides)
2: White + Purple + Blue
3: White + Purple + Hot Pink
4: White + Hot Pink
5: White + Hot Pink + Yellow
6: Yellow


4. Maria shampooed and conditioned using Forever Blonde Shampoo and Conditioner and finished with Awapuhi Wild Ginger MirrorSmooth High Gloss Primer as a styling product.