Winner of Pravana's 2016 "Show Us Your Vivids" contest and member of its Collective, Neal Malek (@nealmhair) is a master of vibrant color and more. Read why we can't stop admiring his gorgeous work.
Salon: Rock Gorgeous Hair, Orlando, Florida
Specialty: Vivid color transformations, watercolor hair, black-light hair
Most viral post: I had the opportunity to color a horse’s hair. I was doing a rainbow roots on a friend of mine, and we started talking about how we should color one of her pet’s hair so that they could match, which lead us to calling her sister and asking if we could color her horse. Before we knew it, we were on our way to South Florida. I got to meet up with Chance, a 19-year-old horse. We filmed the entire process, and by the end of the day, Chance the Horse was now Chance the Unicorn. I used all cruelty-free and vegan hair color. The post was quickly spread around social media, resulting in more than 200,000 views on the video post, as well as thousands of likes on the corresponding picture.
Favorite apps: Facetune 2 because I can utilize it in the same way as I would Photoshop, allowing me to use great techniques such as changing unwanted backgrounds, fix skin blemishes, and brighten and reduce shadows and highlights. IWatermark+ is essential so that my work doesn’t get reposted without credit.
Favorite hashtags: #PravanaCollective #ModernSalon #OrlandoHair
I follow: @guy_tang @bescene @kayla_boyer @rossmichaelssalon @tinaaowens
Pro tips: Lighting is crucial. I try to take most of my pictures in natural lighting, and if it’s in the evening, I’ll ask a client to come back during the day time in order to get the best picture possible, and they are always more than willing. When my clients see I’m going the extra mile, they know that I’m taking pride in their hair. A clean background is also very important. I love coming up with a witty caption, but I also try to educate my followers with each post. Consistency is another big factor for having successful social media.
Hidden beauty talent: I can make a lace front wig from start to finish.
Hidden talent: My biggest hidden talent is that I’m a rapper, and I won $1,000 at a talent competition a few years ago for my rapping.
How social media changed my life: Social media changed my life because it took my career from doing hair behind the chair, to having a marketing business and becoming my own public figure. This allows me to be a role model to others as well as an inspiration.
The first time I was featured on MODERN’s Insta: I was doing a balayage on a client that had never had her hair colored. Her hair had turned out beautiful and I noticed a comment a few days later by Maggie from Modern Salon that asked me to share my formula and the how-to. I was ecstatic and very humbled that such a fabulous magazine was showcasing my work. I coordinating with her and they wrote up an article and it showed me that this was definitely the route I was wanting to take, and it gave me the confidence I needed to become a successful coloring artist. I showed my client, and she was almost in tears and was so proud to wear her hair.
See the full 2018 MODERN SALON 100 here!