Metallic Is the New Frontier in Hair Color

Pink hair? So passé. Lilac? Yawn. Get ready for the newest hair color phenom--metallic locks. Metal everything is having a moment in beauty right no
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Pink hair? So passé. Lilac? Yawn. Get ready for the newest hair color phenom--metallic locks. Metal everything is having a moment in beauty right no
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Pink hair? So passé. Lilac? Yawn. Get ready for the newest hair color phenom--metallic locks.

Metal everything is having a moment in beauty right now. This summer was all about metallic eye makeup, and now nails have taken a shine (haha) to the tone, with nail polish brands offering everything from Olympic medal metals to super shiny chrome shades. So it was only a matter of time before it found its way to hair. And to the ManRepeller, who tweeted recently: "Can I dye my hair metallic? Is that a thing?" the answer is: Yes!

Enter Alex Brownsell, who's the founder of the very cool Bleach salon in London, and who just launched a Bleach flagship in the Dalston neighborhood there. Bleach has made a name for itself in the fashion industry and beyond (they've done the heads of Florence Welch, Sienna Miller and every It-girl in London practically) because of its innovative dip dyes, coloring techniques, and yes, bleaches. We had to find out what the next thing in wacky hair color was going to be, so we called across the pond to chat with Brownsell. Turns out metallic is now her holy grail of hair color.

Metallic hair pops up occasionally on catwalks and editorials, but Brownsell is trying to bring it to the streets. Topshop Unique applied gold leaf to hair for their spring 2012 show (see Charlotte Free top right), and Cynthia Rowley did metallic extensions for her Spring 2011 show (bottom right). And let's not forget tinsel extensions, which is what Beyoncé is sporting top left--that trend luckily died right about the same time that feather extensions did. So how does Brownsell propose getting it off the runway and onto our heads?

Brownsell told us she was inspired by the apocalypse (it's happening!), so she's looking at darker colors and metallic and iridescent hues for fall--seems apoca-ppropriate, no? While she didn't have any pictures to share yet because the look isn't quite perfected, here are some of the salon techniques that will give you that metallic sheen:

Photo: Wella.com

Photo: Wella.com

Go for the Gold: • Shine: If you can't get hair super glossy, the metallic effect won't work. Wella Koleston has products that produce a very shiny effect, and be sure to finish off any style with a shine spray.

• Play with color: If you want a gold look, start with blonde dye then add a bit of brown so it looks "sludgy," Brownsell told us. Then lock it in with a shine treatment.

• Draw it on: If it needs more of a metallic kick, Brownsell and her stylists have used actual markers or spray paint to get a noticeable metallic shine.

• It won't last: Like all the other hair colors that nature never intended, this is a temporary look, and will last a week or so if you take care of it correctly. This means minimal washing and heat styling. Brownsell also gave us a few general hair color tips from the "Bleach Bible:"

• Use a hair scrunchie instead of traditional hair elastics to prevent breakage. Yeah, you read that right. SCRUNCHIE

• Think of your hair like a silk shirt and don't wash it too much! Dry shampoo is your friend.

Bumble and bumble Prep protein spray. Use it.

• If you're getting a weird color done, ask your stylist to mix you up a special conditioner mixed with toner to help maintain the color. This is what they do at Bleach.

• Use a weekly reparative hair mask.

• Don't vigorously towel dry. It causes frizzy split ends.

• If you MUST heat style, use a heat protectant product first.

So will you go for some pure gold or silver locks this fall?