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VIDEO: George Papanikolas Demonstrates His Signature Highlights

Maggie Mulhern | February 2, 2018 | 8:17 AM

Famed colorist George Papanikolas, the darling of the glam celeb set, has developed a signature highlighting technique that has clients lining up at either the Andy Lecompte Salon in LA, Rita Hazan in NYC or the Belle Femme Salon in Dubai.

Also lining up were the 3000 salon professionals attending Matrix Destination in Orlando, Florida, in January, 2018. Papanikolas, a Matrix artist, was teaching the details of his highlighting technique and how to make the service work for the client and the professional. It’s this special color design and placement that makes his color look natural and modern.  “This has become my signature look,” says Papanikolas. “It’s classic with a beautiful graduation of color. You can get 8 levels of lift in ONE shot. The end result is so beautiful.”

After years of trial and error, Papanikolas has perfected the technique that involves gentle teasing and a combination of free hand painting and foils. 

MODERN spent some private time with Papanikolas where he demonstrated the specific backcombing that is needed to create the natural melt from the base. In this video you will see Papanikolas in action, but in the meantime, here are some “highlights” from the interview: 

-Go-to formula: lightener: Matrix Light Master with 40 volume developer. “On a brunette may still sit on 30 – 40 minutes.”

-Take horizontal sections for maximum impact. You don’t need a lot. 3 on each side and 4 in the back. “It also makes it low maintenance for the client, but for the colorist, less work, more impact.”

-Backcomb into a fine slice (just 2 big swipes to leave a fine slice).

-Use lots of tension to one inch from base. “This will isolate hair to get maximum lift.”

-Apply lightener in V shapes.

-To rinse, do not wet the teased area. “It will be easier to comb out, but still allow 10 – 15 minutes for this step.”

-Use Matrix Bond Ultim8 (step 2) to add slip when removing teased areas.

Products and tools mentioned:

Cricket Combs

Sheila Stotts Wig Brush

All Matrix products (Papanikolas mentions Matrix Bond ultim8 and Light Master in this interview)

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