Want all this in your inbox?
Get the Refinery29 Newsletter
You're in for a treat...
Thanks for signing up!
Please upgrade your browser for the best Refinery29 experience. Read more.
A librarian and social worker for most of her life, 63-year-old Carol Kushner describes herself as very conservative. So, how did she end up in a salon chair, about to dye her hair a color totally out of her comfort zone? Because her son thought it would be cool. She was hesitant, sure, but with the encouragement of her family, she was willing to take on the beauty dare.
In the past, Kushner had only played with highlights and a lighter shade of brown, so she decided to ease her way in with one of the more subdued shades on the rainbow spectrum: violet. "I thought purple would be the most accepted," she said. "I'm a social worker and I'm in people's homes, so I thought any bright color would be weird."
The Color Breakdown
Purple was also a great choice for Kushner, since she was starting from a dark base. "The saturation of the colors isn’t that far off from being a brunette," Darling explained. "They absorb the same amount of light and it's really good with her skin tone."
The plan of attack? Hand-painted highlights that would grow out nicely with her natural texture.
When Kushner first arrived on makeover day, she was a bundle of jitters. "Oh my god, are you kidding me?! Of course I'm nervous!" she exclaimed.
But once she realized she was in expert hands and could picture the final result, she got on board. About seven hours later, it was time for the reveal. "I really, really like it," she said, smiling ear-to-ear. "To see the color, you really have to be in the sun or a fluorescent light, so it's really perfect."
After a week with the new hue, she says the reactions have been universally positive, save for one naysayer. "I have this one friend who's like, 'Oh I can't believe you did that, I'd never do that,'" Carol says. "She's an idiot. So, I think I have to drop her [Laughs]."
Though she admits she'll probably let the violet grow out, she's not against playing with color in the future. "I do think as you get older, you get stuck in a rut. Doing something like this really energizes you," she says. "I left Hairstory feeling like a million bucks and I'm still feeling that way. It made me want to put on a dress and high heels every day, instead of going back to my white shirt and black pants. I really did feel like it was a great lift."
Marco De Vincenzo Metallic Stripe Blazer, $1,795, available at Intermix.
61-year-old Gerry Visco is impossible to miss. She's the director of academic administration and finance for the classics department at Columbia University and credits "three gin and tonics a day" as her best-kept beauty secret. She name-drops Patti Smith, Lou Reed, and Andy Warhol in casual conversation like they're members of her family and her stories of New York in the '70s and '80s will have you wondering whether you're truly living or merely existing. (The New York Times doesn't profile just anyone, after all.)
Unsurprisingly, Visco's no stranger to daring hair. She's quick to remind us that she was one of the first people in New York City to have fuchsia hair back in the day. "They did an article about crazy-colored hair in the Soho Weekly News in the late '70s and the minute I saw it, I [knew] I had to have that color!" she says. "It was so unusual back then — people would scream at me on the streets. People found that color very upsetting, for some reason."
These days, people are much more accepting (even in the professor's lounge at Columbia), so she decided to go back to her pink hair days — with a twist.
The Color Breakdown
Inspired by the colorful dress Visco arrived in for her consultation, Roxie went with a magenta-sunset color scheme. Her goal: to loosely channel the energy of a blooming flower.
"I wanted the colors to run, because I didn’t want it to look too contrived," she said. "I wanted it so that you couldn’t see where each color started and ended."