salon secrets

The Colorist: Blond Ambition With Johnny Ramirez

February 1st 2016

What is it about blonde hair that embodies everything that is good and right in the world? Summer, seaside surfer babes and sunny dispositions to name a few stellar associations. Makes sense then that Johnny Ramirez, the superstar Los Angeles-based colorist is always busy with his regulars, including golden girls Jessica Alba and Kirsten Dunst. Ramirez built his cult following by doing “lived-in-color” (a natural technique he honed himself) as well as tricky color corrections, but it’s his way with bleach that literally sent his career skyrocketing (one of his first celebrities was none other than fashion’s favorite ice-blonde Gwyneth Paltrow).

His big break came working as an assistant for famed colorist and stylist Michael Canale, hand-painting highlights that delivered on depth and brightness. Flash-forward a few years to a position as a colorist at Chris McMillan’s (of Jennifer Aniston haircut fame) salon where he perfected his craft and really came into his own. Initial clients included Carey Mulligan, Amber Valetta and Miranda Kerr, who loved Johnny’s near-magical talents for natural looking highlights that drew enough light to the face, illuminating the complexion in the same way that bronzer might.

In shades ranging from arctic to honeyed, blonde has never seemed more approachable and his roster of models, actresses, and musicians prove just how transformative and striking the right skin-tone-to-hair-color balance is. At FAB we think that everyone should go blonde once in their lives, just to see what all the fuss is about. We asked Johnny how to pick your perfect hue and for his tips and tricks to become a total bleach babe – your dream shade awaits.

  • Jessica Alba Photo Credits ©Johnny Ramirez
  • Sophia Blush Photo Credits ©Johnny Ramirez
  • Photo Credits ©Johnny Ramirez
  • Photo Credits ©Johnny Ramirez
  • Photo Credits ©Johnny Ramirez
  • Photo Credits ©Johnny Ramirez
  • Photo Credits ©Johnny Ramirez


What type of women did you have in mind when honing your technique?

Lived in hair is for everyone from young women, to stay-at-home mothers and super-models; it’s a way of wearing hair effortlessly. You can dress it up or wear it down. I base my natural highlights, shades and overall tone on kids color. I consider it beachy California hair.

How often should we be getting our color done?

My hair color should last a woman up to six or seven months, especially if you don’t have grey hair or get frequent haircuts. The more it grows out, the more lived in it looks. With grey’s, you will have to come in and get your roots done. If you get frequent haircuts, you lose the blonde ends that give it the lived in look and will want a sprinkle of fresh highlights.

How do you choose what shade of blonde a client needs?

I always base the color I use on a woman’s skin tone and hair color – it’s my rule of thumb.  Of course depending on seasonal changes, weddings, break-up’s and red carpets, I will get inspired to brighten up the look around the face. I call it “punching it up.”

What’s your best tip for looking after colored hair?

I really don’t have one particular routine. I always offer a free clear gloss or an in-salon deep conditioning treatment like L’Oréal Professionnel Pro Fiber to keep it fresh.