Hairbrained Q&A with Lupe Voss

At Hairbrained, our team knows that there’s nothing like the power of positive thinking to get you excited about reaching to achieve your goals. With that in mind, we want to know: “What inspires you?” Whether its time spent in the great outdoors, popular culture, fashion, music, or architecture – we want to hear from you; what drives you to go after your dreams?

This week, the spotlight is on Hairbrained Host and master colorist, Lupe Voss.

Q. You currently work with Aveda as a colorist. But how did you get where you’re at today? Can you tell us about your educational background, plus any influential mentors that you met along the way?


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A. When I finished high school (early), at the age of 17, I signed up for Cosmetology school, at a community college in Riverside, California. I graduated from the program in 1982, and from the moment I hit the floor as a hairdresser, I was hooked. To this day, I want to know everything about everything.

Ironically, when I started out I was horrible with hair color; the results were never what I expected them to be. It was very discouraging. As a result, I started paying attention to the subtleties, what was happening and not happening. Gradually, I started to realize what it takes to come up with a formula.

It was through this process that Hair Color Magic™ was born. The courses we offer focus on formulation. We teach students how to recognize the variables, and how to manipulate them to come up with favorable results.

I gravitated towards Aveda in 1989 when I learned that they forgo animal testing, and I’ve involved in various parts of the company ever since. I started out by teaching members of my salon, which I opened in 1988. At some point, I was asked to submit a video of our trainings, and ultimately, Aveda invited me to be a Purefessional.™ I was given some great opportunities (via hair color art director David Adams) to travel around Asia, Canada and Europe, teaching. Eventually, I ended up at the Aveda Advanced Academy, where I teach now. I’m so grateful for all of the opportunities I’ve been given.     

I’ve been lucky to work with some amazing people, who continue to inspire and mentor me, today: Gerard Scarpaci, Peter Grey, Rudy Miles, Ray Civello, Wendy Prior, Erik Arveseth, and of course, our Hair Color Magic Team.  

One very noteworthy individual is my husband Manuel. He’s constantly encouraging me to grow as an artist, plus he’s responsible for creating all of my images.

Q. Hair color has evolved significantly over the past few years. From the ever popular ombre, to pastel shades, to rich jewel tones; it makes us wonder, where is hair color going from here? Can you share your predictions?

A. First and foremost, I don’t believe that the ombre (in it’s various forms) is going anywhere anytime soon. I also think that hair painting and balayage techniques will last, because you can really customize a clients color this way.

From muted fashion tones to metallic finishes, I predict that toners will play a big role in the world of hair color, as the year goes on. My tip: Try adding 1N to your formulation, for a soft, muted finish.

Q. If you could share just one ‘quick tip’ in regards to hair color, what would it be?

A. Work clean and you’ll always end up with beautiful color. When it comes to an ‘on the scalp’ bleach application, mirror brush depth to outgrowth length. For example, if your guest has ¼ inch of new growth, don’t dip your brush more than ¼ inch into the bowl. Never exceed past the ½ inch mark.

It’s important to remember to keep your brush clean to avoid overlapping, breakage and banding.     

Q. What inspires you, drives you forward and keeps the wind beneath your creative wings?    

A. Every day, I’m inspired … and re-inspired. My student’s questions remind me of where I’ve been, and serve to keep me humble. When I work behind the chair, I always look for opportunities to grow and improve, asking myself, “what can I do next time to make this even more amazing?”

I gain a lot of my color inspiration from nature; I love to see the organic combination of shades, how they work together and why.

About: Hairbrained is a community of hairdressers that share a deep passion and desire to celebrate the craft of hairdressing, online socially.The community was founded by two hairdressers, Randy Taylor, a photographer / hairdresser; and Gerard Scarpaci, a world-class educator/platform artist. Both have love for our industry; its people, and the craft of hairdressing. For more information visit