Colour Notes with Gunel Kelly
This month we quizzed Gunel Kelly, salon owner and hairstylist from Harness & Mane, on her colour inspirations.
What do you love most about being a colourist?
I love the freedom and creativity. Good colour can bring out the best features of a haircut, I love turning something bland into something edgy and beautiful. I see colour as a magic wand to a person’s look.
Where do you go for your colour inspiration?
I see inspiration everywhere, in food, nature, seasons, alternative fashion magazines, fashion events and in particular, alternative clubbing. You see a lot of well put together outfits and colour schemes which gives me inspiration when applying to my creations.
What are your favourite colouring techniques?
I’m a bit of a backcombed highlight addict right now. It gives you great brightness and ages well for the client with that ‘lived-in’ diffused root look. It can work well for bright blondes or for those clients with light vivids that require a super light base but don’t want to be tied to my chair every six weeks for bleach regrowth.
What colour trends are you pleased to see out of fashion?
Untoned bleached highlights. I’m pleased to see a lot more stylists are toning their blondes into prettier colours.
Are there any colouring trends you’d like to bring back?
I’d like dip dye to come back, done nicely it’s such a striking technique. I don’t think it was around for long enough before ombre took over, followed soon after by balayage.
What are the challenges facing colourists right now?
Due to the pandemic, clients are going for the bare minimum to achieve their looks and cutting out on extra services like Olaplex and other deep bonding and restructuring treatments. As a stylist I know how important these in-between services are and it saddens me that it is a luxury service some can’t afford. So, my challenge as a stylist is not to give a free treatment to every client I like.
What’s been your most memorable colour consultation?
I’ve had plenty of eccentric clients through my chair, but my most memorable consultation was my 4-year old son asking me to cut his hair long and colour it black so he can look like Captain Hook.
What colour creation makes you most proud?
I’m most proud of my wig exhibition – ‘LA DOLCE VITA – Tales of Rebellious Wigs’. I coloured seven wigs into different colour schemes to represent different personas. It inspired a lot of future colour work for the whole team in the salon.
What do you enjoy most about your job?
Nothing excites me more than when ‘that’ client comes in and asks for a complete change. While it’s exciting to dye virgin hair into a rainbow, it also takes patience, expertise and lots of perseverance. I love the trust they have in me. Generally, I love giving clients something they can enjoy for many months like classical highlighting, transformations and timeless balayages.
What advice would you give to a trainee colourist?
When I was a young stylist, I shied away from styles that I found challenging or wasn’t confident in. Through experience I discovered the best approach is to dive in, find out who is the best in these areas and learn from them. Then you need to practice, just believe in yourself and go for it!
You can see the full article in the June issue of HJ.
Don’t forget to catch up with our Colour Notes with Jake Nugent. And stay tuned for more Colour Notes.