Color Alert: Opal

Displaying nearly every color of the spectrum, opals are one of the most spectacular gemstones, and they’ve inspired a new hair color trend, which adds subtle, iridescent flashes of color to the hair. Ideally, you should start with very light hair and then add the iridescent rainbow colors. “The trick is pre-lightening,” says Jason Backe, co-owner of Ted Gibson salon in New York City. If a client is hesitant to go too light, you can work with her natural complexion. Backe claims this look can work for anyone, but it’s a matter of adjusting the tones to suit individual needs. He recommends using a cool, tranquil shade of blue if a client has very pink skin. Then you can bring in more pinks for clients who have olive or darker complexions. According to Backe, anyone who understands color theory will be able to come up with the right formula using the brand they’re comfortable using. His go-to product is L’Oréal Professionnel’s Dia Light, an acid-based hair color. He compares it to lip gloss, which creates a more shimmery finish than lipstick. While even three years ago most clients would never have considered using non-traditional hair color, they now see these rainbow shades as part of the fashion mainstream. None of this would have happened so quickly without social media spreading the word like wildfire. “Social media has a huge impact on trending,” says Backe,  who suggests posting the work you do in the salon on social media platforms. “It’s one thing to see a celebrity rocking opal, but seeing an image of a non-celebrity online helps to make the trend accessible.”