28 Women Who Chose An Unusual Color For Their Hair And Ended Up Looking Badass
There’s this competition called #ONESHOT Hair Awards. It’s global, free to participate in, and 100% transparent. There are two overall categories: Big Shot (for studio-style work) and Hot Shot (for “real hair behind the chair”).
The rules are simple. All you have to do to enter is post a photo or video on Instagram with the appropriate hashtags in the caption during the entry period, add a few tags, and that’s it. What really caught our attention was the Color Transformation award in the Hot Shot category.
Held by Behind The Chair ― the largest community in the world for salon professionals to explore educational possibilities and draw inspiration―the 2019 #ONESHOT Hair Awards was the fifth year of the world’s largest hairdressing competition. It saw nearly 304,000 entries from 26 countries and continued the #ONESHOT tradition of celebrating artistry and commitment to the craft and the pro beauty industry.
“All 617 finalists—and every photo submitted—were celebrated ‘one shot at a time’ … at BTC’s #ONESHOT Hair Awards, broadcast live from the Gaylord National Resort in Washington, D.C.,” the organizers then wrote. “Hosted by BTC’s Mary Rector and Kevin Gable, we awarded 19 #BIGSHOT Awards to session artists, platform artists, and educators for stunning studio work, and 25 #HOTSHOT Awards to hairdressers doing real hair behind the chair.”
Emma Mendez, who has been doing hair for over 12 and has been a licensed hairstylist for the last 5, also entered the competition. “I heard about the #ONESHOT Hair Awards by following Behind The Chair,” she told Bored Panda. “I have been tagging them since 2014 and always asked myself why I wasn’t featured or why wasn’t I ever entered into the awards. Then when I saw my feature on #behindthechair and #oneshothairawards I could not believe it.”
Mendez absolutely loves changing people’s lives and making them feel great about themselves. “I love giving them the ‘yes’ that many other stylists said no to,” she said. “I love creating and making others feel powerful about themselves. The most satisfying feeling is when a client gets up and says [something like] “Oh my God, I can’t believe this is me!’ It’s the most gratifying feeling in the world. I enjoy every bit of my career because it has become a lifestyle for me, not a job.”
During the pandemic, Mendez decided to get the most out of her time. She said to herself this year she is going to push herself and take risks she has never taken before. And she did. “I broke nights and took on models for free so I could create content. And it’s paying off, thank God!”
“I have learned that there are no excuses. If you want something, you must go for it! No matter what it takes, your time shall come.”
Steph Powell, who has been a licensed hairstylist for 2 and a half years, also participated in the contest. “I entered because there’s nothing to lose!” Powell told Bored Panda. “It’s so easy to post a photo of my work, and use the appropriate hashtags, and I’m instantly in the running. You never know what will catch the judges’ eyes, so it’s better to try than not try.”
Powell submitted one of her favorite color transformations she has done so far—a gorgeous, fiery hairstyle that reminds of warm summer evenings and picturesque sunsets.
Like Janna Mandell pointed out, the urge to dye your hair a candy-colored hue can give you a sense of freedom and expression when you’re confined in almost every aspect of your life.
But if you decide to undertake such a challenge, you need to use common color sense. For example, if your hair is a yellowish shade of blond and you want to go blue, you could end up with green hair. Keep your expectations realistic and remember that many of the photos on Instagram, in general, are heavily filtered.
There is, however, a silver lining if things go wrong. Vivid hair color dye is semi-permanent, which means it could sit on your hair anywhere from a few shampoos to a few months, depending on the condition of your hair, how often you wash it, and which brand of dye you use.
Before you begin, throw down some towels and cover all surfaces. Then, get yourself a small mixing bowl, applicator brush, gloves, Vaseline for your hairline and ears, and a good two or three hours.
“For brunettes, dark colors like purple, blue, and magenta show up better than pastels,” Connie McGrath, founder of Veer & Wander Salon and Apothecary in San Francisco, said. “The demarcation line isn’t as visible, so the color looks better when it grows out.”
McGrath prefers pretty pastels on blond hair, especially if you have overgrown highlights and balayage.
“Pastels blend beautifully with overgrown highlights. Apply the color all over and the lighter pieces will grab the color more intensely, giving you dimension.”
If you opt to pre-lighten (bleach), consider the price. And we’re not just talking about dollars. “Lightening can be extremely damaging to the hair,” Nicole Giannini, owner of Siren Beauty Space in the San Francisco Bay Area, said. “Be careful to keep the bleach at least a half-inch from the scalp and avoid bleaching over pre-bleached hair, which can cause major breakage.”
In terms of artistic method, McGrath suggested the following technique: Take random pieces of hair, focusing more around the front, and back-comb the pieces (this diffuses the hard lines and gives you a more balayage-like effect). From there, wrap the coated pieces in foil.
After you have achieved your desired shade, shampoo and take out the color. As a rule of thumb, Giannini recommended lightening hair to the shade of the inside of a banana peel to really make the color you add later pop.
Keep in mind that blondes should apply color to damp hair, while those with darker hair should apply color to dry hair. “Blond hair is more porous than dark hair, so dampening it protects it from taking on too much color,” McGrath said.
Section out the pre-lightened hair and apply color liberally with the brush. Then massage through with gloves to make sure every strand is evenly saturated. “You don’t want a spotty end result,” Giannini added.
McGrath and Giannini both explicitly stressed the importance of using a deep conditioner after you rinse. Giannini also swore by doing an apple cider vinegar rinse (1 part apple cider vinegar to 8 parts water) as your final step after conditioning to close the hair cuticle.
Just keep in mind that vivid color will fade. Warm and hot showers, frequent shampooing, sun, and previous damage can all speed up fading. Make sure to use a shampoo that is sulfate-free and a conditioner and/or styling product with UV blockers to protect your tresses. McGrath also suggested putting some of your leftover color in your conditioner, which will brighten your color every time you use it.
However, if you want to infuse your hair with color but can’t decide on a particular look, you might want to take it easy. “Bold colors need a lot of maintenance in regards to hair treatments and color glaze and so forth,” Emma Mendez added. “I always tell clients if you are not sure of what color you want, you should start slow with something more natural and build up as you feel more comfortable with color. Let’s be sure that color brings joy to the soul.”
Steph Powell added that it would also be a good idea to find a specialist who does the kind of hair you like and set up a consultation. “We are always brimming with ideas and we can help guide you to a color or style that will best fit what you’re interested in, as well as your lifestyle and what you are willing to maintain.”