These Hair-Color Transformations Will Blow Your Mind

Photo: Courtesy of Cherin Choi.
When it comes to the latest and greatest in hair color, we leave no stone salon unturned. We've reported on everything from niche color trends made for the brave to universally-flattering tones on the verge of becoming huge. But for every enviable, can't-look-away, after-hair-color shot, it's easy to forget what existed before that big appointment. And it's not always pretty.

Last week, we talked a lot about color correction, a term that might send shivers down your spin if you've ever had a botched color job. (Or, let's be honest, if you've ever given yourself a botched color job.) Suffice to say, color correction is expensive, sometimes very time-consuming, and even a bit scary — but what the best colorists can do to transform hair from eeek to oooh is also downright amazing.

Naturally, the most jaw-dropping looks can be found on Instagram — the app that's proven to be the hairstylist's most important portfolio — and the place to show off before-and-after split screens of their most advanced work. To prove that no job is too large, no regrowth too long, no blond too brassy, we've rounded up a few of the most noteworthy transformations coming from L.A.'s top colorists.

Ahead, 25 before-and-afters that will blow your mind — and the must-follow accounts for continued inspiration.

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Photo: Courtesy of KC Carhart.
Colorist To Follow: KC Carhart

Ombré can grow out beautifully — when blended with subtle, face-framing babylights and toner.
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Photo: Courtesy of Florido.
Colorist To Follow: Florido

Justin Bieber's mane man has some serious talent — especially when it comes to convincing everyone that your highlights came from the sun.
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Photo: Courtesy of Cherin Choi.
Colorist To Follow: Cherin Choi

Dark roots get a bad rap, but we love them — especially when paired with cool-toned platinum.
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Photo: Courtesy of Cherin Choi.
Photographic evidence that a pop of pink can totally transform your look.
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Photo: Courtesy of Shai Amiel.
Colorist To Follow: Shai Amiel

Nicknamed the curl doctor, Amiel is known for her less-is-more approach. In this case, all her client needed was a rich gloss to make those golden highlights blend perfectly.
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Again, Amiel warmed up this look with a simple gloss — proof that highlights can find new life quite easily. (And on the cheap.)
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Photo: Courtesy of Heather Cie.
Colorist To Follow: Heather Cie

Cie lightened her client's base and added a round of easy caramel highlights for a total 180.
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Photo: Courtesy of Heather Cie.
When it comes to fixing streaky or brassy color, often your stylist may deepen the base color and then go back in with baby-fine, subtler highlights.
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Photo: Courtesy of Heather Cie.
The secret to many of these looks? Blend and tone. In this case, the client's base was deepened and then softer highlights were painted on over it to created a more natural-looking finish — then it was all treated with toner. Seems simple? Yes, but it is time-consuming.
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Photo: Courtesy of Tabitha Dueñas.
Colorist To Follow: Tabitha Dueñas

PSA: Removing rainbow colors is a challenge best left to the professionals.
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Photo: Courtesy of Tabitha Dueñas.
Don't want to go lighter or darker, but still looking for a change? It's amazing what a slight change in tone can do.
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Photo: Courtesy of Lauren Knoche.
Colorist To Follow: Lauren Knoche

If this platinum-to-raspberry makeover doesn't make you excited for fall, we don't know what will.
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Photo: Courtesy of Cassondra Kaeding.
Colorist To Follow: Cassondra Kaeding

Don't let the order fool you, Kaeding, a master of platinum, took her client from deep-dark to icy-white.
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Photo: Courtesy of
Roots and brassy lengths have nothing on this unicorn-pink creation.
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Photo: Courtesy of Seama Eftekhari.
Colorist To Follow: Seama Eftekhari

As you've likely noticed, many of these transformations can be attributed to clients not wanting to maintain the commitment of their prior look. Nine Zero One's Eftekhari blended and softened this color for an easy grow out.
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Photo: Courtesy of Cory James.
Colorist To Follow: Cory James

Is anything more satisfying than a good platinum before-and-after?
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Photo: Courtesy of Christopher Pierce.
Colorist To Follow: Christopher Pierce

Removing black dye can be a task in itself, but Pierce makes it look easy with this vibrant, red after-shot.
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Photo: Courtesy of Liz Jung.
Colorist To Follow: Liz Jung

Not every dark-to-blond look is platinum; Jung gave her client these subtle, lived-in highlights in a single (very long) sitting.
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Photo: Courtesy of Liz Jung.
Tip: Softly rooted blond is an easier commitment when going lighter for the first time.
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Photo: Courtesy of Liz Jung.
Sometimes colorists will recommend going blonde in steps — which can result in some awkward phases. Unless, of course, you're sitting in Jung's chair. The in-between shot is just as pretty as the after-shot, don't you think?
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Photo: Courtesy of Tauni Dawson.
Colorist To Follow: Tauni Dawson

Roots? No problem. Tone? Piece of cake for this pro.
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Photo: Courtesy of Tauni Dawson.
Perhaps the biggest complaint when going in for a color-correction appointment: stripy highlights. Here, Dawson softened the lines of demarcation and brightened up the face with some framing pieces.
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Photo: Courtesy of
Proof that great color can totally change how healthy your hair looks.
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Photo: Courtesy of Sara Lim.
Colorist To Follow: Sara Lim

We know, we know, we keep talking about tone, but nailing it really is the hallmark of a talented colorist. And this picture is proof.
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Photo: Courtesy of
Colorist To Follow: Nikki Rae

We don't know about you, but we could stare at this gorgeous blue color-melt all day.
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