There’s no doubt that pink has been having a moment in fashion and beauty. From runways to red carpets, it’s influenced not only fashion and makeup but also hair.
So when Pantone released its Color of the Year for 2023, it wasn’t a surprise that Viva Magenta, described as “a shade rooted in nature descending from the red family and expressive of a new signal of strength,” is the shade for this year.
“It’s very feminine, and over the years we’ve been trying to empower women and people to express themselves, so this is a great way to do that,” says Nicole Khosh, owner of Hair by Nicole in West Vancouver and an artistic educator for Matrix. “It’s very flattering on a wide range of skin tones.”
Since Viva Magenta isn’t a traditional pink shade—it’s a neutral tone with red undertones—it can be a lot more versatile and inclusive for people of all ages, genders and lifestyles.
However, a common mistake that hairstylists and colourists often make is to only recommend fashion shades to a certain group of clientele that they believe will be truly open to trying it.
“It all comes down to the consultation process,” says Khosh. “Sometimes, you might be surprised by what can happen when you suggest something new to a client and how many people are open to the idea of a fashion shade. It could be someone younger or an elderly woman or even a man. It’s just hair; it grows back, and we can always change it. I would suggest it to anyone and be prepared to share some fun ideas.”
While it can be easy to suggest this to younger clientele—especially Gen Z, who are typically more open to bolder looks and often heavily influenced by trends on social media—it’s important to not overlook older clients who might want a pop of something fresh and new. “I can easily see it as an accessory on older women, especially with white hair,” says Staelle Coulombe, a Quebec- based colourist and an educator for Joico. “Think about those who decided to stop colouring their hair [and embraced their grey hair during the pandemic]. It’s time to get them back on the hair colour wagon!”
LIFT AT LEAST ONE LEVEL HIGHER THAN YOUR TONE LEVEL. FOR EXAMPLE, FOR TONING TO A LEVEL SEVEN, LIFT TO A LEVEL EIGHT FOR A TRUE DEPOSIT OF COLOUR
Magenta in the Making
To achieve the perfect Viva Magenta tones, both Khosh and Coulombe recommend combining a few different shades to replicate the red undertones and pink hues in the colour. Then it all comes down to placement.
“I’m thinking highlights, a money piece, colour blocking and face framing,” says Coulombe. “We all have a lot of brunettes in the salon, so I would suggest adding a few pieces of magenta around the face or in the fringe.”
“If they have a darker base, I love doing a halo technique—taking an inch from your perimeter and colouring that while leaving everything else natural,” adds Khosh. “Having a piece that’s coloured in the front is still really in right now.”
While a halo technique can still be used with this shade for blonde clientele, Khosh says that the results will be more dramatic. “For blondes, I would rather go for hand-painting as you would for an open-air balayage,” she says. “By taking random pieces and panelling and hand-painting with open- air processing, it ends up looking like a soft pink look. It blends in with the rest of the blonde and looks like feathers in the hair but pops a bit more when the hair is curled.”
REGARDLESS OF THE PLACEMENT, MAINTENANCE IS KEY AND SHOULD BE DISCUSSED DURING THE CONSULTATION PRIOR TO THE COLOUR SERVICE.
For blondes, both Coulombe and Khosh warn against overprocessing. “A shade like this will stay longer if it’s applied on a warmer base than on level 10 overprocessed and damaged hair,” says Coulombe. “It’s richer and deeper on levels four to seven.”
“I know it can be a concern when you take out the foils and it’s at a level seven that’s orangey or yellow, but sometimes those underlying pigments can actually help you in the colouring process,” adds Khosh. “You need those pigments to hold colour as an anchor because if you apply a deeper pink on a bright level 10, it can change the whole tone and be brighter—or even neon—and not what the client wanted. It also fades quicker.”
Regardless of the client’s base colour, it’s important to determine the colour’s saturation and placement during the consultation.
“More and more people are playing with their hair now and aren’t as concerned about changing their hair colour anymore. They want to have more fun now.” — Nicole Khosh, Owner of Hair by Nicole, West Vancouver
“If someone wants to be a bit bolder, I would create some panels on the top of the hair and leave some depth underneath so it really pops when the hair is styled since the vibrant colours against the dark underneath make it pop,” says Khosh. “For something more subtle, using the backcombing technique that people use for balayage never fails and creates a softer look compared to applying the colour directly onto the sections.”
“With any shade, you can go a little more vibrant and a little more muted, so it depends on someone’s lifestyle, career and personality,” she adds. “Just remind your clients that it doesn’t have to be an all-over colour; it can be little peekaboos, panels or pops, so when they style their hair, that’s when people will notice it.”
PHOTO: HAIR: ANDREW SMITH, ANDREW SMITH SALONS, U.K., MAKEUP: LOUISE LEREGO, WARDROBE STYLING: MAGDALENA JACOBS, PHOTO: RICHARD MILES, STYLING: ROCHELLE RENWICK, PHOTO: ANDREW O’TOOLE HAIR: PAULINE MCCABE, ROCK PAPER SCISSORS, AUSTRALIA, MAKEUP: HENDRA WIDJAJA, WARDROBE
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