What's in George Papanikolas' Tool Kit?

George Papanikolas

Celebrity colorist and Matrix Celebrity Stylist George Papanikolas is a favorite among Hollywood stars, having turned out beautiful color for Nicole Richie, Shay Mitchell, Hailey Baldwin, Miranda Kerr, the Kardashians and Madonna. And he’s constantly juggling photo assignments, film projects, music tours, fashion shows and his time between Los Angeles, New York and Dubai.

Lydia Hearst

Lydia Hearst’s rich hue by Papanikolas

His signature “glowlights” technique—a balayage method that creates lit-from-within highlights—is inspired by his sunny Southern California hometown and is a perfected evolution of the ombré and balayage highlighting techniques that he helped popularize. Here’s what Papanikolas relies on to create his color masterpieces every time. 

Kitana de armas

Papanikolas created “nude hair” on Ana De Armas

The Tools

Wahl Styling Comb


A flat styling comb like this is necessary for sectioning.

Framar Balayage Set


These brushes are ideal for freehand balayage work.

  • Cricket Silkomb Seamless Teeth, Pro 50 Fine-Toothed Rattail and Cricket Silkomb Seamless Teeth, Pro 55 Wide-Toothed Rattail 


I use the Pro 50 for backcomb balayage on fine hair and the Pro 55 on coarse hair.

Barbar 3800 Blow Dryer 


It’s super powerful and perfect for styling.

Matrix Black Double Tint Bowl

Toolkit A

This is great for a single process. I always do one shade lighter on the hairline, so this makes it easy.

The Products

Matrix Color Insider 


This permanent ammonia-free color is my go-to.

Matrix Light Master


This makes for super fast lightening up to eight shades.



This permanent color has easy pre-blended color formulations and works to cover resistant grays.

Matrix Color Sync


My demi-semi line. The easy pre-blended formulations produce consistent results. I can’t live without it.

Matrix Bond Ultim8

Kit Ultim

So necessary for bond protection, especially during highlighting services.