It’s 2018 and there are plenty of ways to experiment with crazy hair colors without making a permanent change. There is, most obviously, Manic Panic, and also the new temporary dyes that don’t require brunettes to pre-bleach, as well as the multitude of “hair paints” launched by brands like L’Oréal and Garnier at the beginning of the year. Then there’s hair chalk, which hit the market in a big way around 2013. But while hair chalk but be the quickest and cheapest option, it hasn’t always been the best. It’s messy, it dries out your hands, and it usually takes the same amount of effort as cleaning your bathtub as it does to get enough pigment on your hair to show up. Which is why when hair colorist Lena Ott shared with me her temporary hair dye hack backstage at Sies Marjan’s fall 2018 show — that’s like hair chalk but way less messy and easier to use — I got super excited.
Her secret? Artist’s pastels. “I’m not using hair chalks because I find the color range of the [PanPastelsis] more exciting and they apply a little faster,” she said backstage. But it’s not just the product she used that’s so genius, it’s also her application process, using paintbrushes to lay down the pastels and a comb to run it through the hair. “I add a layer, then comb it through, add another layer, and comb it through, and do that again and again and then eventually it just stays there,” she said. “The comb knocks a little of the pigment out so it looks more believable again and it looks soft, like natural hair, rather than the texture of a spray or chalk.”
Three models received this painterly treatment, in shades of pink, violet, and blue, to coordinate with the clothes they were wearing for the show. “We’re doing many different hairstyles for the show, but the point of each look is to exaggerate the overall silhouette,” said hairstylist Duffy. “When you look at what we’ve done to the hair, whether it’s overall color or highlights at the roots, or whether we’re building a bigger shape on top or giving [the hair] a rougher texture, the point is to exaggerate the accentuate the overall silhouette — we’ve looked at each person and done what is best for them and their outfit.”
Now, before you freak out about this not-made-for-your-hair hair dye trick, Ott — who owns the Suite Caroline salon in New York City and works with every major model in the business (Doutzen Kroes, Karlie Kloss, Anja Rubik) and actresses like Christina Ricci and Olivia Wilde — wouldn’t go ruining model’s precious and (very) fragile hair. “I tested it on the set of a photoshoot recently on coarse, platinum-blonde hair and I was nervous at that time, but sure enough it came out with one shampoo — even the most vibrant of shades.”
Get more news from backstage beauty at New York Fashion Week:
- Alexander Wang Brings Back The Banana Clip at His Fall 2018 Show
- Gigi Hadid Just Wore a Hot Pink Bob at NYFW
Watch what hair color trends looked like over the past 100 years: