Whats uP: RED Carpet Style

27 02 2012

For stylists and colorists, Oscar Night is the Superbowl of events. Every year we watch anxiously, a glass of wine clenched in one hand and our cell in the other, waiting to text our friends with the funniest comment of the night. We can’t wait to jump all over the train wrecks and Ooh and Ahh those who thought outside the box and NAILED it.

What really stood out to me this year (and warmed my heart just a little bit) was the fact that so many stars gave credit and thanks to their stylists. In a world of product placement and how many millions of dollars are wrapped around one’s neck, it’s nice to have a shout out to those of us behind the scenes. And for me, the hard work was most evident in the ravishing redheads that graced the carpet.

As a colorist, I often hear from my clients “I’d love to go red, BUT…I don’t know if I can pull it off with my coloring.”  After watching the Oscars last night, I want to tell them “YES, you can.” I saw four glorious women, all so incredibly different each owning their copper color.

On the lightest end of the spectrum was best supporting actress nominee, Jessica Chastain, radiant in a pale copper. This can be easily attained for any blonde simply by applying a demi-permanent, high shine glaze. I love WellaColor Touch for a natural, long-lasting red.

Jessica Chastain

Emma Stone and best supporting actress nominee, Berenice Bejofall into the rich Celtic copper hues. These shades tend to work better on skin tones with pink undertones and are easy to achieve with minimal lightning and a medium copper glaze.

Berenice Bejo

Emma Stone

The home run of the night for me, however, was the wonderful Viola Davis, who wowed me with her natural style and complementary auburn hue. For women with darker or more olive complexions, I’d go a bit less orange and more auburn like Viola. You can add lighter pieces to the ends, but I’d keep the root a deeper red.

Viola Davis

For those just dipping their toes into the red sea, I’d suggest a few well-placed highlights around the face in auburn or copper shades or else a demi-permanent glaze that will wash out in 4-6 weeks. Your colorist will work with you to determine the best palette for your inner celebrity.


What’s uP: What to Give Your Stylist for Christmas

19 12 2009

I’m not going to lie, I love this time of year! December in the salon is always bustling with holiday spirit. The holiday also means gift giving and I’ve been very lucky to be on the receiving end of many beautiful, generous and well thought out gifts from my clients and I truly appreciate them all. So I hope what I’m about to say doesn’t come across as sentimental fluff.

Yesterday I had a brand new client come in for highlights. When I asked her how she heard about Edris Salon (and me), she told me that she stopped someone on the street and asked her where she got her hair done. The person on the street gave this woman one of my business cards and the woman called the next day to make an appointment. As a colorist, I was touched by this story and I’m so thankful that the woman on the street had my card on her and shared it with a total stranger. So you see, while the holiday gifts are incredibly appreciated, the best gift that you as a client can give your stylist is a referral.

I’ve actually had people say to me, “I don’t want too many people to find out about you because then I won’t be able to get an appointment.” I can assure you, this is not the case. As a matter of fact, the opposite will happen.  I will go out of my way to fit in good clients who return often and send their nearest and dearest and I know that most stylists feel the same way.

So remember, referrals are the gifts that keep on giving all year long. Next time you’re in your favorite stylist’s chair, take a few business cards and pass them along to friends.  You’ll be surprised how touched your stylist will be by this simple gesture.

Wise uP: How to Have a Successful Color Experience

11 09 2009


While highlighting a very good client (aka “C”) the other day, I realized that September marked the 5th year that she had been seeing me for color. When C first sat in my chair back in 2004, she was sporting Olsen twin-sized dark sunglasses and hair tucked up into a baseball cap; never a good sign as to what’s to come. As it turned out, some so-called Senior Colorist at a reputable uptown salon had colored her strawberry blonde hair a refreshing shade of electric tangerine. We spent the entire afternoon correcting the madness and five years later, C is one of my best clients.

As we discussed our anniversary, the conversation turned to what makes a stylist-client relationship successful and what, as a client, you can do to ensure an outstanding color experience, every time. Here are a few pointers to set you on the road to hair color bliss.


DO have a thorough consultation. I don’t care if I’ve seen someone once or 100 times, I never have a half assed consultation with a client. Be clear about your ideas and if you don’t know how to express what you want, grab a magazine because sometimes visuals express what words cannot. Also, 99% of salons offer complimentary consultations. I strongly advise taking advantage of this.

DON’T bring in black and white pictures. A client once brought me a black and white picture of Gwyneth Paltrow and said, “Well, you know what her hair looks like.” Actually, I don’t. Please, for the love of God, don’t ever bring a colorist a black and white photo.

DO voice your opinion. With the exception of a few divas out there, most colorists want to work WITH you to find the perfect shade. Tell us what you like and don’t like and all the little things that only you know about your hair (it turns red/gets mousy/etc.).

DON’T ever be talked into anything you’re unsure of by a colorist. They are not wearing the hair, you are.  I will never force anything on a client and if a colorist ever tries to do this to you, RUN.


DO tell your colorist all your color and chemical processing history. Even if it’s just a demi-permanent rinse you did two months ago, it could affect your final result. Never lie to a colorist! It will save you money, time and aggravation in the long run (and most of the time, we know that you’re not being truthful).

DON’T come in after a bad breakup expecting to do major color changes to get back at your ex. I’ve actually sent people to the wig store on 14th street after they’ve come to me with crazy post-breakup ideas. Sorry girls, but I don’t want your manic on my conscience and believe me, it’s not going to “show him” anything by dying your lovely blonde hair auburn. Get a wig.

DO have realistic expectations. Hate to tell you ladies, but Giselle has a full team of hair and makeup people who make her look like that. Don’t bring your jet-black hair into my chair with a picture of Giselle and expect to look like that after one session. It’s never going to happen.

DON’T wear turtlenecks, white blouses or pearls in the color chair. And if you do, please take them off before you put the color robe on. I hate ruining people’s things.


DO allow ample time for corrective color or major changes. Depending on how jacked up your hair is, a proper corrective color can take anywhere from 2-6 hours.

DON’T rush your colorist. I can’t believe the amount of people that get into my chair and tell me they have to be out in a half hour. Please, please, PLEASE allow yourself the full time to process and relax. A single process color should take one hour and 15 minutes start to finish.  A highlight should take approximately two hours. Color should never be rushed.

DON’T be rude to or apprehensive of the color assistants. They are not beauty school students; they are licensed cosmetology apprentices. Trust me, I would never allow some untrained idiot to put a glaze on your hair. If I have my assistant apply color to your head, it is ONLY after I’ve fully trained them and have let them put color on my own head. Assistants are our right arm and should be treated as such.


DO listen to your colorist about proper color aftercare. A color safe shampoo and conditioner are imperative to long lasting color. Case in point: many shampoos are designed for removing hair products and oil from the hair. If you use these shampoos on color treated hair, it will strip the pigment right out of your locks like it strips that pomade. Ask your colorist for recommendations or always make sure it says, “safe for color treated hair” on the bottle.

DON’T shampoo for 48-72 hours after a color process. It usually takes that long for color to neutralize and you don’t want to alter your color so soon after a service. If you must go to the gym, rinsing is okay but shampooing is not.

I look forward to another five years with my client, C, and I wish you all long and lovely relationships with your favorite colorist!

Change it uP: I Love Extreme Makeovers

15 08 2009

There are two things a client can say that will make me absolutely swoon as a colorist: 1.) “Do whatever you want” and 2.) “I want to make a drastic change.”

I was born with dark brown hair and I’ve accepted the fact that unless I wear a wig, I will probably never change beyond the dark brown-black-aubergine family. I’m boring, but I know what does and does not work for me. And while I love doing beautiful, organic color and subtle highlights on others, it’s the color that turns a person into someone else that truly keeps me on my toes. Drastic changes, although thrilling, can be a little intimidating for a colorist, but when they work, they really work. I did both the before and after color on Sophy. 

Sophy: Highlighted Blonde to Firey Red

Sophy is an awesome girl: a tall, blonde dancer who is fully tattooed and completely fearless. One afternoon she sent me an email asking what I thought about her going red. At first I thought maybe a strawberry blonde or a light copper, but no, she wanted to go balls to the wall, cherry bomb red. Sophy booked an appointment for the next day and a few hours later, she walked out the door as a drop dead gorgeous redhead.

Sophy Version 1.0:

Blonde and Straight

Sexy and Straight

Sweet and Curly

Sweet and Curly

Sophy Version 2.0:



 For those out there who are considering a major change, I beg you: Do not attempt to do it at home! Please seek the assistance of a professional. Trust me, I’ve seen enough green hair, hot pink roots and chemical haircuts to KNOW that at home makeovers are not the way to go. A consultation costs nothing and can save a lot of heartache later.

And for anyone who would be willing to completely change it up for this blog, email me at: alysonph@gmail.com