As a designer, I am all too familiar with Pantone. To those who are not aware, Pantone's color matching system is the standard for color printing across the world. Pantone is also hugely influential in the beauty world. Marsala was named 2015's Color of the Year, and a wave of oxblood and dark red nail colors rolled through department stores and retailers across the world. The year before that, Radiant Orchid gave birth to a whole new world of pastel purple hair and vibrant lilac lipsticks that were punchy yet pretty. You get the very colorful picture I am trying to paint here. Pantone is important.
In selecting 2016's hues, Pantone chose two colors, Rose Quartz and Serenity, to reflect "a gender blur as it relates to fashion." They also felt the two colors were symbolic of the ongoing trend in millennial culture of breaking down social constructs related to gender. Think girls dyeing their armpit hair pink, and guys making contouring tutorials on Instagram. Recently, Milk Makeup released a gender fluid cosmetics line, designers have sent men down the runway in skirts, and countless celebs have publicly identified as pansexual. Ten years ago, this would have unleashed a tremendous amount of media backlash, and could have even ended careers for some. I could not think of a better way to celebrate how far we have come than by dyeing my hair these two colors.
I went to Takamichi Hair, a salon known for their artful and modern attitude towards not just hair, but style and culture in general. Takamichi Saeki, the owner of the salon, has a strong artistic background (he owned a gallery before opening the salon) that is seen throughout his employ as well. The space is gender neutral and airy. Walking into the salon, you would be unable to tell if it was a men's or woman's salon (it's both). Furthermore, any salon that is good enough for Jenna Lyons (quite the gender-bender herself), is definitely good enough for me. If ever there was a place to make the transition from blonde to pink-blue, surely this was it.
Technically speaking, of all the colors to dye hair, Rose Quartz and Serenity are among the hardest. There can be almost no yellow pigment in the hair, or the blue base of these two shades will read as dull and ashy. This means bleach. Lots of bleach. I went to Sara Booth at Takamichi, who has been coloring my friends and taking them platinum for years, so I knew I was in great hands. She layered two types of highlights—balayage and traditional foil—on top of each other to create a broken root and bleach the hair almost white, without creating too much contrast between the light pieces and my natural color.
Nine hours, four glasses of wine, and two sushi rolls later, my hair was light enough for the pastel color. Sara blended different shades of pink, lilac, blue, and purple on my head to create dimension and visual interest, so the look was current and chic.
I could not be more pleased with the results. The end result is more nuanced and sophisticated than the Manic Panic pinks of my past (although I have been using their Creamtone shades to maintain the color), and feels incredibly now. Pro-tip: when Pantone tells you a color is cool, it is very, very cool. I now have the millennial, gender-blurred color of my dreams.
Takamichi Hair is located at 263 Bowery in NYC. Visit takamichihair.com for more info.
This post originally appeared on mimichatter.com: Pantone's 2016 Color of the Year Is Pink and Blue, and Now My Hair Is Too; Elysia Berman
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