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May 18, 2015

FLASHBACK: BTC’s Superstar Celebrity Colorist Panel

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At COLOR, Cut & Style 2014, BTC introduced something groundbreaking! Even though COLOR is already the largest stage in the world of hair and has the best roster of live educators around, BTC Founder and Creative Director Mary Rector-Gable felt as though something was missing. So she made a few phone calls to some of her hair besties, seeking their advice when she had an “A-ha!” moment—what if her hair besties were onstage giving advice to other stylists? And thus, the Celebrity Colorist Panel was born! Mary tapped celebrity colorists Justin Anderson (Jennifer Aniston, Miley Cyrus), Tracey Cunningham (Kim Kardashian, Shakira), Guy Tang (Michelle Phan, Carrie Ann Inaba), Kim Vo (Britney Spears, Kate Hudson) and Rick Wellman (Tina Fey, Lindsay Lohan) to take the stage during Day 1 of COLOR to offer their best Hollywood insight. The inaugural Celebrity Colorist Panel was a raging success—more than 2,400 stylists attended! To get you excited for COLOR, Cut & Style 2015 and the Celebrity Colorist Panel, here are some of the highlights from last year!


Mary: What would you say was the celebrity turning point for you—the color that put you on the map as a major celebrity colorist?


Tracey: I would have to say for me it was Lily Aldridge’s ombré. Lily’s actually a family friend—that’s how she came to me. She had a modeling job that required dark hair, but her hair was too dark. So I lightened it just a little bit, but kept her rich, dark base, and that’s how her ombré evolved. Now everyone wants Lily’s ombré—like, everyone!



Guy: I did (beauty blogger) Michelle Phan’s hair for the debut of her makeup line. It was a color correction on Asian hair—the hair was orange and black. Plus she has lots of curly hair. People think Asian hair is always straight. That’s a stereotype. I hate stereotypes, don’t you? You can be feminine with short hair, you can be smart with blonde hair. Anyway, it took seven hours to correct her hair. I was up until 5 a.m. I was exhausted. I was seeing things. She made a video and got more than two million views. People started calling. It was a little scary!



Rick: Petra Nemcová—the model who was in the tsunami in Thailand in 2004—was a top model in New York and she was my color client. One year, she was signed for three huge campaigns—for Pantene, Rampage and Ann Taylor. She was shooting constantly all year long—sometimes every week—and they all wanted her to be a different color. Rampage wanted her bleach blonde, Ann Taylor wanted her brown and Pantene wanted honey blonde like Gisele. So every time she had a shoot, I had to change her color. I started using my Biolights cotton pads—they’re gentle and I can achieve light reflection and strand-by-strand variation without foil. I kept her hair intact by being careful and by always thinking ahead—about what I would have to do in the next week or month. We became friends and I became known as the guy for haircolor and hair campaigns. I started getting lots of referrals     



Mary: Is working with celebrities really as glamorous as it seems? Flying to Dubai, doing color on yachts, music tours?


Kim: My clients think I jump on a helicopter just to see them! But in reality, between traveling to see clients and my salons, I work seven days a week. We might go to Berlin or Boston, but all we actually see is the inside of the hotel most of the time!


Mary: So, Justin, remember, you promised you are going to give it to us! We want to know….what is Jen Aniston’s actual formula?


Justin: Honestly, I use bleach and 10-volume! It’s really all about the placement of the highlights. I place back-to-back slices around the face. Then I apply a mixture of L’Oréal Professionnel Richesse ½ 6N + ½ 8.3 between the foils and pull it on and off quickly at the bowl. I rough dry, then I’ll pick up the pieces that really must pop on camera and I’ll re-highlight those pieces. Celebrity stylist Chris McMillan tells me exactly how he plans to style the hair, so that helps. Then I might gloss with Paul Mitchell PM Shines, then I’ll go back one more time and paint a few more delicate, baby highlights. Yeah, I’m a perfectionist. By then she’s usually pretty tired, so I have three assistants and we all blow-dry hair at once.



Mary: What would your advice be to someone who wants to be a celebrity colorist or stylist?


Guy: I’m from Oklahoma originally! I would say, remember there are celebrities everywhere—local bands, local models, local television news people, YouTube stars. Find clients who make you feel important wherever you are.


Tracey: Anybody can work with celebrities. They are just like anybody else. But you definitely need to have patience! You need to realize that you are not the star, they are. We’re in a service business, so we’re here to serve. Most of all, you have to be available at all times and be willing to work with their schedules. You also need to be respectful and be a good colorist. Keep your color skills sharp; stay educated.



Rick: Whatever technique you’re doing, do it well. Celebrities want to think you’re doing a custom technique just for them. Actually, that’s true of most clients!


Kim: You have to create your point of difference from other salons. And learn everything. Foil, plastic, balayage, ombré—it’s important to learn them all, then put your own spin on them. And never forget that healthy, shiny, gorgeous hair will always be in style!


Excited to take part in our second Celebrity Colorist Panel? Get your tickets to COLOR, Cut & Style 2015 in New Orleans, September 26-29! Celebrity colorists to be announced soon!