Rainbows Are Turning Heads, While Gray Is the New Blonde

7-year-old Leah Pierce of Valley Grove is sporting all the colors of the rainbow with this specialty coloring process known as underlights.

7-year-old Leah Pierce of Valley Grove is sporting all the colors of the rainbow with this specialty coloring process known as underlights.

Lady Gaga does it. Katy Perry has tested the waters. And now Ohio Valley women and men are taking their hair coloring to fashionable heights much like the stars of stage and screen.

Color — from rainbow underlights to platinum blonde or rich caramel and auburn — has heads turning as stylists work up new hues for their customers.

Gaga has her own ideas of hair color. Her rich blonde base has been seen with rose gold undertones with a hint of copper. However, she recently has been spotted on the latest route of fashion tresses — the new gray lady.

Meanwhile, Perry has opted for the platinum blonde locks that adorned many of the glamorous stars of yesteryear.

In the Ohio Valley, it’s not unusual to find pre-teens, teens and adults adding some whimsy to their hairstyles with various coloring techniques that range from subtle to the colors of the rainbow. Everything from stripes of confetti colors to one bold overall color are walking out of salons.

At Scott College of Cosmetology in Wheeling, instructor Carrie Nobile oversees students as they learn the latest trends in coloring. Many of the students are sporting their own particular look with added color.

Student stylists Brittany Clemons and Andrew Vargo have adopted the latest trend in hair color known as balayage. This is a two-tone coloring method that allows the stylist to blend variants of color, leaving dark pieces on the bottom to create dimension. The word balayage is French in origin, and it means “to sweep.” The stylist will sweep color through small sections of the hair.

Nobile said the technique is very easy to maintain. It allows for color to grow in (or out) naturally as the darker shade fades into the lighter shade of hair.

“It’s a free form application, a type of hand painting,” Nobile explained. “It’s a quicker technique and low maintenance. It extends your natural hair growth while you still have color on the ends.”

The effect can be subtle or extreme, depending on what the client wants, she added.

Nobile also acknowledged the trend in “going gray.” The not-your-grandma’s gray colorings are light and offer a sophisticated look. Many people are going gray before their hair actually begins to gray simply because they like the color, Nobile said.

“Gray is the new blonde,” she added.

Then, of course, the pinks, greens, purples and other colors are finding their way into the salon. While first embraced by the younger set, men and women of all ages are now experimenting with streaks of color. Sometimes a wisp of color is applied all over the hair. Others may prefer the rainbow effect on their roots or even all over their hair. Either way, the effect can be whimsical and beautiful.

For someone who might want to try a new color, there is a shampoo-in color product known as Veral. It is a semi-permanent color that can be washed out if the color doesn’t suit the user.