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Last updated: November 21, 2017

Live Fast And Dye Your Hair

As Manic Panic celebrates 40 years, BTC celebrates their impact on the industry

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Most hairdressers remember the moment they bought their first Manic Panic haircolor. Every angsty, rebellious, hair-obsessed teen had to have it—the punky colors told the world that they were edgy, nonconforming and above all, super cool. Well, it seems Manic Panic’s badass founders, Tish & Snooky, were onto something—because fast-forward 40 years and Manic Panic has become a household name in hair, fashion and celebrity. And yeah, it’s still just as cool.


Tish and Snooky celebrate 40 years in front of a replica of the original Manic Panic store!


This summer marked their 40th year in business, and they celebrated the only way they know how—with a massive “Manniversary” party in New York City while rocking out to music from every decade that their haircolor has been gracing heads. (While sipping on signature Tish and Snooky cocktails, of course!)


“Never Be Poor”
It started out simple. Tish and Snooky grew up in the Bronx, with a single mom who always told them to figure it out, to improvise, to never take no for an answer and finally, to “never be poor.” So they went out and did just that. They started as back-up singers for Blondie, they led the punk movement by opening the country’s first punk boutique (naming it Manic Panic) on St. Mark’s Place in NYC in 1977, and they’ve changed the industry ever since—making unconventional haircolor cool and saying it’s OK to be different.


The original Manic Panic store!


Wear Black, But Color Your Hair
“The only thing in our world that had any color was hair and makeup because we were always dressed in black,” Tish told Founder and Creative Director Mary Rector-Gable during an onstage interview at BTC “On Tour” in LA. And much like their haircolor and fashion sense, the sisters were ahead of their time in in their ideologies, too. “Nobody should feel bad about the way they look. It’s your hair, your body, it’s your life. Live it and enjoy it,” Snooky added. This is the message they, and their brand, have always represented, and it’s a message that’s made waves in our industry.


Manic Panic Founders Tish and Snooky chat onstage with Founder and Creative Director Mary Rector-Gable for an hour-long interview during BTC “On Tour” in LA.


What exactly do we mean by that? We mean the entire fashion color trend, we mean the mermaid hair seen on Instagram, we mean the fun, always-changing pastels worn by celebs. Tish and Snooky were at the forefront of it all. And now, with their recent launch of Manic Panic Professional Color, the original punk rock haircolor is perfected for pro use.


“I’m in awe of you both—because of what you lived and where you’ve been,” Mary told Tish and Snooky both onstage. “Manic Panic is not just a company where you said, ‘let’s go make this line or that.’ Instead, you’ve been authentically living this for 40 years, and I feel really confident in saying that you created this moment of fashion haircolor—you started it.”


Going Mainstream…Sort Of
And it’s true—once self-proclaimed outcasts and anarchists—the sisters and their company have now become part of the “mainstream.” Their haircolor has punked up the heads of everyone from Cyndi Lauper to Rihanna, Miley Cyrus to Cher and Lady Gaga to Jared Leto. Even high fashion has jumped on the unconventional color trend—their color has been spotted on the runways of designers, like Louis Vuitton, Zac Posen, Rodarte, Oscar de la Renta and Hood by Air.


Then and now—the times may have changed, but Tish and Snooky haven’t.


“We may have popularized it and we may have made it safe, but it’s what we love. We don’t just sell Manic Panic—we live it,” the sisters said. And even though they’re more “accepted” and “honored” in the beauty world today, they still plan to live their authentic life just as they always have, and they are excited and hopeful to see what the next 40 years will bring. And one thing’s for sure—we are too.


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