on trend

Creative Hair Coloring: How Has Hair Become Its Very Own Fashion Accessory?

September 12th 2017

From graffiti and mermaid hairstyles to stencils and vibrant rainbow dyes, using your hairstyle to express your personality has taken off in recent years, especially for celebrities like Chloe Norgaard, a model who has styled herself with all the colors of the rainbow, and supermodel Cara Delevingne who swapped her platinum hair for a rose gold tint at this year’s Burning Man, a festival where the worlds of art, fashion and even hairstyling come together. FAB took a closer look at these trends that have elevated hairstyling to the lofty heights of fashion.

From Subcultures To New Hair Trends

It’s more and more common these days to come across people at work or out and about with candy pink or vibrant, rainbow-colored hairstyles. Unlike traditional coloring, which mainly focused on covering up grey hairs, this sort of creative coloring is all about showing the world your daring and different personal style. For Janine Ker, a Californian artist turned hairstylist, graffiti hair was the offspring of street art: To me, graffiti hair is all about using stencils and colorful sprays to create patterns or images on hair, that’s where it got its name from too.”

The mermaid hair trend came from another place altogether. Using techniques like tie-dye, mermaid hair focuses on coloring very long hair with a range of vibrant hues. According to Janine, the growth of trends like these can be explained by the recent return to popularity of punk and ’90s grunge fashions. The ’90s is a period that inspires a lot of people, for example the bleached hair looks of stars like Cyndi Lauper and Kurt Cobain.  

From Improvisation To Professional Techniques

Although the influence of different subcultures was an important starting place, improvisation has eventually given way to a more professional approach: The revival of the ’90s grunge/punk scene did originally bring back the trend of colorful hair, but this was soon combined with sophisticated in-salon techniques. Before, looks like these were mainly done at home or by an untrained friend, because it didn’t cost very much!” 

Nowadays, creative coloring has been taken to a whole new level. It’s an in-salon service, carried out by trained professionals who use a range of different techniques, like balayage highlighting and tie-dye to achieve impressive and subtle color variations. According to Janine, every look depends on the placement and depth of coloring performed. To get the very best look for yourself, the most important factor is your stylist’s know-how: The hands and the eye are what create these effects, so ultimately your stylist’s skill and experience is more important than any individual product or technique.”

Getting The Right Advice From Your Professional

Stylists’ knowledge and expertise also involves being able to give the best possible advice to their clients. Designing these looks begins with a client requesting them. Often with something like mermaid hair, they have a specific look in mind – and maybe inspiration photos too – so we have to use our training to assess how their specific hair can get where they want it, based on its texture, density, condition, length etc.” 

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For a graffiti hair look however, Janine says that everything is much more simple: Hair graffiti can be done on pretty much anyone, so then it becomes about making the art fit perfectly with the person and the hair style they wish to wear, because you have to choose a location for the stencil. You have to make sure it really conveys who they are, taking into account if they prefer beachy bohemian looks for example, or something more punk or geometric.”

Now Your Hair Can Say As Much About Who You Are As Your Clothes Do’

Shaking up your style with multicolored hair still isn’t a quick and easy decision for everyone just yet however, given that most societies tend to judge people based on their appearance. Although everyone should feel free to try out colorful hair if they want to, Janine recommends being absolutely sure before you take the plunge.


Above all, you have to believe in the color you’ve chosen, and rock it, because that confidence will overpower any critics.” Janine is also quick to compare creative, colorful hairstyling to a work of art:I love the freedom of expression and the idea of hair as a fashion accessory. Now your hair can say as much about who you are as your clothes do.”

So are you getting ready for a mermaid, rainbow or graffiti hairstyle? If you ever feel like taking the plunge, keep in mind that the colors Janine Ker is most often asked for are pink and grey, so why not start there!