Conversations in Colour: Alex Collins

by charlottegw / last updated September 21, 2020

Alex Collins kao educator

The education development trainer for Kao shares their love of interior design and has some genius tips for those starting out as colourists.

What do you love most about being a colourist?
I love how getting a client’s colour spot on makes them feel. You can see their self confidence grow as you’re blow-drying and they see their colour for the first time.

Where do you go for colour inspiration?
I tend to look outside of the hair industry for inspiration. I really love how interior designers use colour palettes and different textures. A lot of my inspiration comes from retailer and designer @abigailahern. The way she talks about what you can create using colour is amazing and it can be applied to hair or the home.

What are your favourite colouring techniques right now?
I love freehand and over direction! Freehand truly opens the mind of the colourist. To be able to look at a client’s features and amplify or soften them with a stroke of a brush
is incredible. I’ve been using the cutting technique of over direction to naturalise regrowth areas or vivid colour melts. Traditionally this technique allows you to control the distribution of weight when cutting, but I believe you can control the distribution of colour saturation in the same way.

Alex Collins moodpboard

What’s the biggest challenge facing colourists right now?
Clients wanting to convert to a colour that is low maintenance. It’s not great for the till, but there is a lot of skill and knowledge needed from the colourist to create this. Sadly demand wanes as the client wants their colour to look more and more ‘natural’.

Are there any colour trends you’re pleased to see out of fashion?
Blonde on top and black underneath. The application is a nightmare and when the client washes their hair at home the dark pigments have a muddy effect on the lightened areas.

Are there any trends or techniques you’d like to see come back into fashion?
Warm shades! A few years ago, clients started to gravitate towards reds and coppers. It didn’t last long but it was fun educating clients on the red and copper spectrum and how it would work with their skin tone. Plus, when you lighten hair it will always release warmth, so I think it’s time to work with it ladies!

What’s been your most memorable colour consultation?
Once a client brought me a Dulux paint chart to show me what colour she wanted. I remember it to this day – she wanted the shade White Wheat.

What colour creation makes you most proud?
I once did a demonstration on shine lines. They’re often done on fringes, but I wanted to show the group that with the right palette and placement (hello, interior design talk!) it could be done anywhere. I put a shine through the mid-section of a
bob using Elumen colour from Goldwell and I love the results (Pictured above).

What advice would you give to a trainee colourist?
Your foils will slip, you will get bleeds, you will run into unexpected problems and you will feel like you can’t do it. But then one day you will have a column full of clients who trust you more than their closest friends and will follow you anywhere. Be hungry for progression, say yes to any opportunity that comes your way – even when it sounds scary. Also, honesty is the best policy. If something scares you, tell the right people in your working environment and work on it together. Finally remember, the world is full of colour and you have the paint brush!

This article appears in the October print issue of Hairdressers Journal.

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