A Riot Grrrl in the world of high-gloss celebrity styling, she's found a way to make shocking pinks elegant, gray treatments youthful, ombre unexpected, and artificial colors beautifully organic. It's no mean feat to lead a revolution that's putting greens, blues, and bright reds in places where no Manic Panic has been before. Though, as we found out in a quick chat, upturning color conventions came fairly naturally to Friedman (after a ton of hard work, of course). Read on.
Introduction to Color Theory
"When I started, I was shampooing, sweeping, doing the laundry — stuff like that — but it turned out to be a really rewarding job. People would ask for me, divulge their deepest, darkest secrets, and I knew, by working their hair, I was making them feel good (that's what I liked the most). Now, I chose color (as opposed to cutting), because I took tons of art classes all of my life, and the one thing my teacher would always say was ‘great color scheme!’ That always stuck with me.”
“When I first started working at Bumble and bumble, I went to the PR department and I was like, ‘Hey guys, I would love to do anything that you have, like I really want to do editorial,’ just to let them know. After that, my manager told me that I was ‘overly ambitious.' It was pretty mean. So, I just did it all on my own.”
“The most important thing to me is that the color is flattering — even if it’s a crazy, kind-of-punky look. I want it to look luxurious and expensive and beautiful. [What] I like to do is emulate natural hair color, so if I'm doing a rainbow-colored hair, I'll keep the root area darker and the hairline and ends lighter. The whole thought is to emulate nature and real hair color (even if it's not!). I get inspired by sunsets and flowers (I know that's super dorky). I once did hair pieces where I copied the inside of a tulip — peach on the outside, but florescent yellow and hot pink inside. I have an idea for an editorial inspired by birds of prey. They have these unbelievable black-and-white patterns on their wings. It’s so incredible the way these ‘unnatural’ colors and patterns actually do exist in nature.”
“When I originally started my Tumblr and my Instagram, it [was] for inspiration and to share my work. I was always that kid on show-and-tell day that would raise their hand every week and be like, ‘I have something! I have something!’ I didn't care what it was; all I wanted to do was get up in front of class and share. Maybe that’s corny, but I just love sharing. Now, though, it actually really helps my business. I have so many clients that come to me because of Instagram or Tumblr.”
“The most exciting thing about color today is how accepted it is. This past Fashion Week, I colored Elaine Welteroth’s [beauty and health director, Teen Vogue] hair green. That never would have flown five years ago. I even have a client that works in finance, and we've been slowly coloring the tips of her hair blood red. If you do it tastefully, and dress and carry yourself in a certain manner, colors like that can fly almost anywhere these days.”
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Grooming by Andrew Colvin.