Expert Advice

Editor's Note: Color Cast

Lauren Salapatek | May 2, 2016 | 10:01 AM
Chrystofer Benson and Alison Alhamed on stage at ColorFest 2016. (photo credit: Babak)
Photo By Babak

IN EVERY ISSUE OF MODERN, on our social pages and websites, we make a concerted effort to balance the range of styles and colors we feature—bobs and bangs, but also mohawks and undercuts. Gray coverage and balayage, but also pastels and fashion shades.

More often than not, what our audience reacts most strongly to, what our industry’s top colorists and educators are sharing,’s most viral content and top searches focus on bold, creative coloring.

So for this color issue, when we asked top color manufacturers and artists to share their favorite formulas, it was no surprise when the majority of submissions featured colors that would have once been considered avant garde or “alternative.”

“Someone recently asked me to project where the industry will be in 50 years,” says Chrystofer Benson, a Matrix artist, salon owner and educator who has won top color awards for nearly every major industry competition. “I know color will be at the forefront. We aren’t going back to the era of blondes, brunettes and reds. Even on my conservative clients, they’re not just asking for ‘brown’ anymore—they’re asking for a ‘rich’ brown, ‘cinnamon’ or ‘chestnut.’ The description has changed because the way they’re seeing color has changed. Technology in all forms is pushing us to where our eyes see more color, in higher definition, than we’ve ever seen before.”

And these shades create money-making opportunities for colorists, too.

“Creative colors provide stylists with a huge salon ticket,” says Irene Seferian, Pravana’s director of marketing, referring to not just the double process required but also the maintenance of fashion shades. “Plus, clients who embrace these shades tend to want to change colors frequently, whether it be to fit their mood, get ready for an event or replicate a color they saw on an influencer.”

So while we may be heavier on creative color than your standard issue of MODERN, let it inspire you as you formulate.

Creating customized, fashion shades—taking a double-process blonde to a mother-of-pearl inspiration, for example—not only gives clients the depth and customization they’re looking for, but also color they can’t replicate at home.

“Creative color can as subtle or bold as needed,” Seferian says, sharing how clear and black additives can pastel or darken shades, giving colorists infinite possibilities.

“Reds paired with gold or copper make the red scream with intensity,” Benson says. “Color bounces off other color, and knowing the principles of color creates a level of sophistication in your formulation. You want your client to wear the color, not the color wear the client.”

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