Katy Perry (& her hair) do Coachella

Nina Kairouz, the colorist behind Katy Perry’s new “slime green” hair, gives us the lowdown on getting that perfect shade (spoiler: it involves some serious elbow grease)

Katy Perry (& her hair) do Coachella
Festival style is all well and good. But we’ve only just passed the first weekend (that would be Coachella, duh) of many, many festivals to come and we’re already kind of maxed out on denim cut-offs and flower garlands (to say nothing of appropriating bindis). So can we just address for a second an equally prescient aspect of festival style? That of course being: hair. In reality, festival hair might look like a three-day-without-shampoo, oil-slick braid, but bear with us as we expand our options here, because while wondering around the ShopBazaar pop-up at The Parker Palm Springs this weekend, we bumped into Katy Perry.

First of all, yes, really, and can we just say? Festival hair has never looked so, well, bold. Even more impressive? Perry’s green-tinged locks (she called the color “slime green” on Instagram—her words, not ours, guys!) actually looked fresh, and (we can’t believe we’re actually saying this about green hair) also kind of, well, aspirational. And while Perry’s baby CHANEL backpack didn’t hurt matters either, we figured we’d better get in touch with the woman responsible for Perry’s sudden color change, stat. We mean, we think it’s about time we upped the risk quotient when it comes to our festival game, right? So, courtesy of Nina Kairouz of Chris McMillan Salon in Beverly Hills, we got the lowdown on the potential hazards of getting a neon dye-job, as well as the what’s-what of care before and during the actual festival. Let’s just consider Katy Perry our green-haired guinea pig. And just because Coachella Week 2 is just a few days away… guys, we’re suddenly feeling much braver.

On why festival hair is better than ever this year…

“I have to say, this year festival hair finally got its sexy back. It feels (almost) effortless this year because it really is effortless! This year felt close to authentic and a lot more of modern. There are two very different ends to the spectrum, but both equally delicious: the beachy-boho meets punk-rock. Leave the feathers at home please and thank you!”

On why brightly-colored hair is killing it right now…

“I am loving the colored hair trend this year and I especially love the risk takers because these colors are not easy! They are not easy to get, they are not easy on the hair, they are not easy to maintain and they are not easy to pull off. But when it's done right on a person that can embody the energy that the color will bring to their look, it's magic and it’s inspiring. I feel like it’s [part of the] zeitgeist because this is not a new trend, but it’s just come together in an inspired way.

On the (somewhat treacherous) process to achieve that perfect hue…

“All colored hair is difficult. Period. Because it requires bleaching the hair sometimes to its breaking point, literally. Think of it like painting a wall in your apartment (or million dollar home)—if I want the wall to be pink and the wall is orange I can't just put pink on top and expect it to be the true color. I have to paint that wall white then put my desired color on top. Same with hair. It requires the colorist to bleach the hair sometimes multiple times to provide a canvas that will allow the creative color to come alive. I am sure many colorists will agree with me when I say this process is time consuming, sometimes very scary and so rewarding when accomplished. (And when you’re done, you go for giant martini...or five.)”

On her secret tips for caring for colored hair during festival season (read: sun, sweat, sand)…

“Secrets, secrets, secrets! Yes, there are some good ones! Sun, pool, sweat... Everything Coachella can be so drying on the hair, especially bleached hair that is now [dyed] a fun color. I tell clients to think of shampoo like a facial cleanser: it is meant to clean the hair follicles in your scalp. You don't have to spend big money on the shampoos, but spend on treatments to leave-in. They are like an amazing facial moisturizer for your head. Be weary of too much protein, but go crazy with moisture treatments that hydrate and restore the natural oils and lipids in the hair. My absolute favorites are the Shu Uemura Moisture Velvet conditioner and treatment—your hair will thank you. And for a leave-in, the Shu Uemura Essence Absolue Oil-in-Cream [is great]. It can be heavy. so a little goes a long way... but you can also let in bake in by the sun. Processed hair needs a lot of TLC because any and every chemical process can be stressful on the hair and damage is inevitable. It takes effort (even though Coachella made it look like so easy).

On how to get that made-for-you-but-not-really-because-it’s-pastel shade…

“Color saturation [depends on a few factors], and when all are working together you will have the best results. Your hair needs to be in good standing. Knowing that getting colored hair requires a damaging process, take breaks in between the lightening process to let your hair breathe and heal. You will get there. Sometimes patience is the biggest requirement, so invest in treatments at the salon and at home. Lift your hair to the appropriate lightness and color. Just remember: it's like painting a wall—if the contributing pigment is off, you will not get the truest results. Before putting your target color on your hair, do a protein treatment to plug up any holes in your cuticle and ensure that the color pigment has something to attach to. Put a cap on your hair and let it process with the heat from your scalp, helping it saturate. And remember: it will fade, it’s guaranteed. Colored shampoos are great. You can even make a special conditioner with the color you used for at-home upkeep. Moisturizing conditioner plus your fun color! Keeping your hair healthy will get you the best saturation of color. And see a professional to start you on this process. I mean, it's your hair... it matters!”

On her hair idols…

“I love watching my boss and mentor, Chris McMillan, work his magic. I've watched him really transform people: I mean, the Miley cut that was inspired! I also love the beachy-surfer hair babes like Gisele—is there any other!? That look to me is as close to imitating nature as possible and nature's version is perfect! Isn't that the goal to mimic nature or to contradict her? Beachy boho or punk rock. I love both. But my most admired festival style? There is no other that comes even close. Katy Perry. Period.”

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