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Last updated: January 05, 2018

Kinetic Painting Technique

An Inside Look At The Eclipse

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  • Formula A:

    Manic Panic Professional Solar Yellow™ + Manic Panic Professional Pussycat Pink™ (2:1)

  • Formula B:

    Manic Panic Professional Serpentine Green™ + Solar Yellow (2:1)

  • Formula C:

    Manic Panic Professional Red Velvet™

  • Formula D:

    Manic Panic Professional Velvet Violet™

  • Formula E:

    Solar Yellow

A total solar eclipse is when the sun, moon and earth are all perfectly aligned, and usually, the event takes place over water or unpopulated land. However, this year was different. This year, the eclipse took place over North America, during #thebtcshow, while Manic Panic Professional was onstage. 


Taking advantage of this rare and very cool phenomenon, Manic Panic Founders Tish and Snooky asked Global Artistic Director Alix Maya to create something that celebrated the occasion. 


Up for any artistic challenge, Alix jumped on NASA’s website for research and inspiration. Then, using her kinetic painting technique, she managed to create a piece far beyond any typical creative color. “It moves,” says Alix. “Kinetic painting isn’t just about laying color on top of the head, it’s about taking a head of hair and creating a painting with it—multiple paintings, that move and have breath.”



Here is a look at her inspiration, the process, the formula and a few tips on kinetic painting and unconventional color. 



A post shared by Alix Maya (@alix_maya) on


Kinetic Painting Technique

  1. Mix colors/formulas in the bowl or on the hair (with Manic Panic Professional, this step can be done either way).
  2. Starting from the nape of the neck, take thin individual slices of hair across the head horizontally.
  3. Then, one layer at a time, paint the desired image/design from the bottom up to create the overall picture.
  4. Paper or meche does not need to be used to separate the layers of paint, except to give stability to the hair or to protect the client’s face and ears.
  5. Any movement in the hair will reveal an ever-changing design.


After visiting NASA’s website, Alix found a picture of an eclipse emitting shades of red, violet, green and orange, so she used those colors and exaggerated them to create her color.




Kinetic Painting Tips

Sketching It Out

  • When creating a piece of work such as the eclipse, Alix suggests sketching it out before painting it on the hair.
  • Use the sketch as a guide. Even if it means a longer process, it will help you to keep track of where you are and where you want the color to go.


Alix says she couldn’t have done this color without Manic Panic Professional, “This paint is different. The fact that there is an opaque paint and a translucent paint that is still vibrant, it’s crazy. This paint is doing stuff that I’ve never seen direct dye do—it’s like magic.”


Perfecting The Color Placement

  • Be mindful of where you place the color. As the hair moves, pops of colors between layers will show up and create highly contrasted areas in the final piece.
  • For this look, Alix used colors that mimicked the eclipse, however here is what she suggests when working with fashion colors on clients: Create a juxtaposing color pattern. Always make sure there is something that is bouncing off of something else.
  • “So for example, if I’m creating something that is mostly pink, like a rose shade, a peach shade and a bright pink shade, I’ll then throw in a yellow shade so there is always a dark and a light color combo going on,” she said. 

Alix used Solar Yellow™ + Pussycat Pink™ (2:1), Serpentine Green™ + Solar Yellow (2:1), Red Velvet™, Velvet Violet™ and Solar Yellow.


Prelightening For Success

  • You don’t need to reach an even, pale blonde on the whole head for creative color. Alix prefers to work on a multi-tonal, dimensional base.
  • For the eclipse, the wig was a Level 4/5. So she decolorized her working section first and then lifted it using Manic Panic Lightener.
  • The lightest areas were a Level 9, while some spots drifted back to a Level 4/5/6.


A look at how Alix prelightened and sectioned the hair before adding the color.
The kinetic painting technique requires working one layer at a time and painting the desired image/design from the bottom up to create the overall picture. 
That color! 😍



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