From gemlights and midlights to stained glass hair and shadow tones, there are heaps of innovative hair colour trends out there at the moment. And while they are created by different salons and colourists across the globe, they were probably inspired by one hair colour brand in particular: Pulp Riot.
Founded at Butterfly Loft salon in California by Alexis and David Thurston, Pulp Riot is the fastest growing, most engaged hair product brand on Instagram (you only have to take a glimpse at their grid to see why), and after years of taking the US market by storm, the brand is now available at salons in the UK.
"When we first launched, we were the most well-known salon on social media for creating mermaid hair," Alexis told R29. "Since then, we have come up through the beauty community on Instagram, and I guess that's what makes us different." Authenticity is at the heart of Pulp Riot, which allowed them to crack the popularity code in a market saturated with hair colour brands. In fact, every single product, from the 16 semi-permanent colours to toners and developers, is created and tested by hairstylists in salon first. "There is zero degrees of separation between the people creating the products and people using it," added Alexis. "It's literally born in salon. Not in a lab, not in an office. And that's how we know everything works really well."
Every single product in the line is natural, vegan, gluten- and cruelty-free, a surefire hit with Pulp Riot's mostly millennial fanbase. But David wants you to know that this doesn't mean the products are second-rate. "Five years ago, when you used natural hair colour, you were giving up quality in exchange for less of a carbon footprint. But now, technology and ingredients are good enough and we’re not giving up anything." Instead, Pulp Riot products consist of a quinoa base, which stylists and colourists are touting as the new 'superfood' for coloured or over-processed hair.
"Quinoa delivers protein (great for strengthening and smoothing strands) and much-needed moisture, which is what dyed hair really needs, especially when bleach has taken its toll and caused dryness, fluffiness and breakage," said David. The way the colour fades is important, too. Pinks don't turn salmon and greens don't end up muddy. "We don't really talk about how to make colour last, but how to make it fade well, because essentially, that's what colour will do. Each colour fades into a slightly lighter colour than it already is, which means much less top-ups."
Accessibility is also what sets Pulp Riot apart from other hair colour brands, with the Education tab on their website leading you to step-by-step tutorials and clever tips from colourists at salons across the US. This is especially helpful considering lots of us are ditching in-salon appointments for DIY touch-ups. "Contrary to popular belief, if you're dyeing your hair at home, the best thing to do is apply colour to clean, dry hair," advised Alexis. "Leave the colour on for 40 minutes and then rinse it out."
Another big mistake most people make is shampooing the colour out. "You don’t need to," continued Alexis. "Most colour is conditioner based, and you don’t shampoo out conditioner, right? If you’re shampooing, you’re rubbing all the dye molecules around. So if you want rainbow colour or a colour melt, for example, you’re just messing it all up. Cool water will also make hair colour last much longer. This is for every wash, not just the initial rinse. We have cuticles on our hair and in hot water, they tend to open, which allows the colour to escape. You'll want to use a colour-safe sulphate-free shampoo, too."
And seeing as most hair colour trends are born from Pulp Riot, which looks can we expect to be big for summer 2019? "Neon coral is huge at the moment and I almost feel like Pantone chose it because we’ve pushed that colour so hard," laughed Alexis. "We can also expect to see lots of rainbow baby lights. It’s not rainbow hair as we know it. Instead of crazy colour, it's a cool holographic look that is multi-tonal, wearable and kind of like a mood ring. It’s about strategically placed rainbow colours, but in between said hues it’s all solid colour, such as blonde. Depending on how you move your hair, whether you put it in a braid or a ponytail, it’ll look different every time."