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Lesson in Lineage: Color Chameleon How To

Maggie Mulhern | July 2, 2013 | 8:34 AM

Lesson in Lineage: Color Chameleon How To

Hair: Gustav Mendoza

Photography: Roberto Ligresti

Make-up: Teresa M. Brown

Fashion styling: Carlton Jones

Lesson in Lineage: Color Chameleon How ToGustav Mendoza has hairdressing in his blood. For more than 100 years, the Mendoza family has been in the beauty business. His father, Richard, was responsible for creating the iconic slanted sideburn worn by William Shatner on Star Trek (“He created the slant to try to distract from the toupee Shatner wore,” Mendoza says of his father.)

Now, Mendoza is loving his platform as a Soma Hair Technology spokesperson. “Soma is a perfect demi color,” he says. “It’s ammonia free and MEA free. For an owner, it couldn’t be better…a smaller line with fewer shades, all designed to be mixed and matched, allowing the colorist to be an artist and more creative. There are 19 intermixable shades needing less inventory.”

For this photoshoot, Mendoza used a combination of Soma Hair Technology color and Wahl clippers to create two fi nishes to showcase how clipper cuts aren’t just designed for short hair—you can use clippers on all lengths for both men and women.

People frequently ask Mendoza why he cuts hair using a clipper instead of shears. “I want to make the job easier, faster and better,” he says. “You can take larger sections and complete the look quickly allowing you to do more hair in a shorter period of time. I also think it’s more fun!”



The model does not have a lot of hair, which Mendoza saw as an opportunity. By using a multiple layering color technique, he adds illusion of depth to make the hair look fuller. “Because this model has some existing color I will be able to use my ‘Chameleon Color’ technique, allowing an iridescent coloration from layering shades,” he says. “When we take her existing faded color and base, and combine it with additional shades, it will make for an exciting fi nish. When you look from side to side, it changes color slightly.”

Mendoza alternated strawberry blonde and medium copper blonde in foils over the existing highlights. After application, he blended the remainder of each color and placed that new shade between the foils, at the base of the foils and on the rest of the hair. “It’s a great way to blend and not waste color. I call it color recycling.”

A challenge for many clipper artists is always around the ear. “It is important to make sure to use the corner of the clipper to create arcs and curves, versus using the whole blade which will cut too high and leave lines.”

For this finish, Mendoza created a gentle slanted sideburn in a way to honor his father’s impact on the set of Star Trek.


Lesson in Lineage: Color Chameleon How ToSTEPS

1. Begin the foil placement in the previously color-treated area. Pull fi ne diagonal slices out from along the parietal and place on foil. Alternate two shades: Soma Color 8RO strawberry blonde and 7C medium copper blonde, both blended with 10-volume developer.

2. Alternate up over the top of the head, continuing in ½-inch sections, and keeping ½-inch off scalp. Place foil on top of foil for a clean fi nish.

3. Blend the remaining color in the bowls to create a new shade.

4. Using a comb to assist in saturation and blending, apply this new shade to the remaining hair, in between foils and at the base of each foil.

5. Process for 35 minutes at room temperature, rinse and condition the hair, according the manufacturer’s instructions. Shampooing will open the cuticle, so rinse only. The color is pH-regulated, and the conditioner is 3.5 so it closes the cuticle to a neutral 5.

6. Before cutting, section the hair in a “Chevron” shape as shown, from temple to just below the occipital. The Chevron parting will leave a softer, more feminine fi nish, leaving a fuller crown and length toward the front and back.

7. Cut from long to short. Use a 4.5 guard and blend up from the nape to the occipital.

8. Bend ear forward and cut up behind the ear.

9. Return to the nape, angle a number 2 guard at 90° to clean up and blend the nape.

10. Go to the front of the ear and create the desired line, for a woman, anything other than square. In this case, create a soft slant forward.

11. Blend the back and front of the ear by connecting over the top. Defi ne the line at the nape, cutting a gentle V shape.

12. At the front, take 1-inch horizontal sections and direct to the side. Elevate slightly and cut to the desired length. Repeat on the other side.

13. Then take both sides and pull straight up, over the top of the head. Cut to connect.

14. To texturize, direct over to the side and “brush cut” by running the clipper, without the guard, over the ends of the hair sticking out of the comb. Mendoza always uses a contrasting comb color from the hair’s color to make it easier to see.




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