If, like us, you’re going googly-eyed for the immaculate look of pastel hair (especially against pale, ethereal skin), you have Aura Friedman to thank. Always on the cusp of cool, the colorist first rainbow-dyed the locks of New York’s it girls about five years ago, something that she arrived at from observing art and doing a lot of editorial fashion work.
We’re all well aware of how beauty trends can start in the pages of magazines. But in this case, Aura went back and flipped through vintage Playboys from the sixties. In the style of the times, the photo editors desaturated the images of their female muses. Their hair also happened to be in a soft shade, deliberately washed out to desaturate the pigments, as was the custom in those days.
Aura modernizes this by doing the same thing with candy colors, mixed down to bubblegum pink, lavender, baby blue and seafoam. Read on to find out more about her artful inspirations.
TL: The pastel hair trend is at an all time high now, but do you remember when you first started coloring customers? locks in these tones?
Aura: I did a story for Nylon with a baby blue wig around 2008. My friend Jules, a jewelry designer, and I collaborated on a collection for Colette?hand painted hair tasseled earrings called Hairrings. Colette wanted custom colors?platinum with pink tips. I had always favored pastel colors for hair color because of how soft and flattering they look on almost all skin tones.
For spring 2012, I colored pieces for the Peter Som show, which helped bring the trend on stronger. And for 2013 I colored pieces in multi-pastel colors, which was inspired by French impressionists? paintings.
TL: Where did you get your initial inspiration for this palette?
A: I was inspired by this palette from vintage sixties Playboy. It’s the combination of the way color was done in the past and the matte finish of photography in those days.
TL: The sea foam or bluish green hues are associated a lot with the ‘seapunk? trend, mermaids and all that. Do you think that was partly responsible for making pastel hair trend?
A: Seapunk is a music, fashion and social media trend. It does include fun hair color such as sea foam green and teal, bluish green hues.
TL: What products do you use to color the hair in this way?
A: I mix colors and dilute them to make pastel tones with direct dyes. Pravanna has recently come out with a line of pastels and Manic Panic just made a pastelizer?to add to all the colors to dilute.
Temporary color works best on lightened hair and fades within four weeks. I make my clients a custom conditioner with the color in it to refresh their pastel tones.
TL: Do you think this is in danger of becoming passé?
A: I think this could always look beautiful, it just needs to look appropriate on the person wearing it, and needs to be done well.
TL: We?ve noticed an update?the use of silver-grey, whether as highlights or the full head of hair. Do you think this works or not? What do you see as the next microtrend?
Silver tones work well on olive skin toned platinums and Asian girls. I first did the grey hair on Malu Byrne for Vogue.com. I think the next pastel trend is the neon pastels and dusty muted pastels.
TL: How would you describe the girls who are rocking this look?
They are girls who are owning their uniqueness and enjoying the attention gained from it. However they are more refined than your teen punk rocker. Her age can range from college to thirty-something, generally working in fashion, advertising, music or the beauty cosmetic industry.
TL: What other references continue to inspire you when it comes to hair color?
Jayne Mansfield, Givenchy, Painters Richard Wathen, John Currin and Mark Ryden, Mucha (Czech Art Nouveau painter), Nineties, Odile Gilbert ? top woman in the hair styling world, I admire her!
Christina Ricci in the film Buffalo ?66, Nature’s magical wonders, Drew Barrymore in the nineties, Flamingos…I am also influenced by South Beach Art Deco that I grew up surrounded by.
Steffi by Shamila for Nylon Mexico // Charlotte Free // Icebergs in Greenland // Christophe Piallat, Enfolded D3 from Illuminal Range // Amber Valletta by Paolo Roversi for Glamour France (September 1994) // Pastel Colored Hair //Eucalyptus Leaves // Roos Gomperts? Foam & Glass in Thisispaper Magazine // Zone Magazine No. 4 // David Maisel’s Terminal Mirage // Baby Blue Gray Hair // David Renaud’s Mont Everest // Silver Hair and Earring Detail //Katja Windau’s Schauma (2011) // Ligature Magazine