Confessions Of Beyoncé's Colorist

When Rita Hazan isn't concocting new formulas for her namesake hair-care line or working in her Fifth Avenue salon, she's coloring the manes of a laundry list of celebrity clients. You may not recognize her face, but you know her work — she's the artist behind many iconic Hollywood color changes. Think: J.Lo's golden-brown locks, Mariah Carey's caramel tresses, and Madonna's icy platinum 'do. But there's one head of hair that's catapulted the New York-based colorist to the hair hall of fame: Beyoncé's.

The secret behind Bey's always on-point color? Hazan says it's all about attention to detail. She takes notes on the hair's movement, how it reflects light, and the texture, all before even thinking about reaching for bleach. "My theory on color is that you have to hit the color the first time," she says. Translation: Hazan never uses glosses or toners after she's colored Bey's (or any client's) hair.

Color us intrigued. We tapped Hazan for all of her hair insights. Wondering how her relationship with Beyoncé began? Want to know the secret to maintaining color-treated hair? Check out seven things we learned from our conversation with Hazan, below.

She gave Beyoncé her first set of blond locks.
Honey blond, the hue that's become an iconic part of Beyoncé's signature look, was all thanks to Hazan, the colorist says. Five years ago, when Beyoncé first wanted to lighten her tresses, her hairstylist Kim Kimble recommended Hazan for the job. According to Hazan, Beyoncé's natural hair is thick, long, and medium brown, so she knew she had to be careful to make sure she wouldn't damage her hair. "It's hard to make dark hair blond without it tuning brassy," says Hazan. "That's my specialty: taking dark hair and making it light, all while keeping it healthy. Even if I don't see her for three months, her hair never turns orange, and I think that's that most important part."

If she needs to touch it up, she'll touch it up [herself].

Rita Hazan
Sometimes Bey does her own color.
Although Beyoncé is certainly devoted to her glam squad, she's not afraid to grab some box dye and touch up her color between appointments. "She's good at it because her mom had a salon when she was growing up, so she knows what she's doing," says Hazan. "She'll play with it but she won't do anything crazy. If she needs to touch it up, she'll touch it up [herself]."
Beyoncé sets the trends, she doesn't follow them.
When we hopped on the phone with Hazan, we were itching to know what kinds of reference images Beyoncé brings in to inspire her color. Turns out, she doesn't bring any. "She has to have her own look," Hazan says. The colorist's approach to Beyoncé's color is to always push boundaries. "If you look at anything she's done, she's always ahead of the time, so she's always open to new and different ideas," Hazan says.
Photo: Ezra Shaw/Getty Images.
Slow and steady wins the race.
If you're thinking of going blond, Hazan's best advice it to take it slow. While many people think that they can go from dark brown to platinum blond in one session, that's just not feasible, she says. Instead, make multiple appointments and lighten your locks little by little each time. Her last piece of advice for aspiring color chameleons? "If you relax your hair, go to someone that really knows how to color it — someone that can color relaxed hair specifically," says Hazan.
There's a trick to nailing movement, and lighting is key.
While it may be tempting to arrive at your color appointment wearing a topknot, it's best to show up with your hair as you normally wear it. That way, your colorist has a better idea of how to place your color. "If someone is going to wear their hair curly, you want to make the color a bit more dramatic, whereas if someone is going to wear it straight, you want it to look more subtle," says Hazan. "[The goal is] to get it to look good on both curly and straight hair."

Lighting is another important factor to consider when choosing color. This is particularly important for someone like Beyoncé who is often on stage. "If the lighting is warm, you want to use something that's [cooler], because you have to balance out what the stage looks like and how that's going to read to people," says Hazan. "Hair isn't going to look amazing in every single lighting, but it has to look good in 90% of lighting."

The right products are crucial.
Bleaching and dyeing your hair put a lot of stress on your locks. That's why Hazan created her line of products with ladies like Beyoncé, Madonna, and J.Lo in mind. "All these women blowdry, flat-iron, and curl [their hair] every single day, and color is the number one thing they can't live without," says Hazan. Her products (which include shampoo, conditioner, hair gloss, treatments, and touch-up sprays) are formulated without sulfates, sodium chloride, or parabens, meaning they're gentle enough to use on fragile, color-treated tresses.

Treat your scalp like the rest of your skin.
According to Hazan, if you have color-treated hair, you can get away with washing your hair every three or four days, but Hazan warns against skipping too many days between washing. "I'm a believer in a clean scalp," she says. "I'm not a big fan of dry shampoo, because I feel like that clogs your pores." Your scalp is an extension of your skin, she explains. And like the skin on your face, your scalp should be cleansed and treated with care.