Beauty Test Drive: The Pink Streaks From Peter Som

One writer rebels against her preppy leanings a few strokes of rosy hair

Wella Velvet Amplifier Misty-Final misty-curl Misty-trim
Peter Som Spring 2012

Photo by Anthea Simms

Multicoloured hair has seen its fair share of popularity in recent months—Kelly Osbourne likes hers purple, while Katy Perry picks from the entire rainbow. Colour is often used to fun and dramatic effect on the runways too, and for spring there wasn’t a hairstyle with more nuance than the pastel extensions at Peter Som. The look—created by celebrity hair colourist and Wella ambassador Aura Friedman using the brand’s Color Touch demi-permanent shades—perfectly complemented the clothing’s prim exuberance. So what better way to get in on the fun than by having Friedman try the look out on me?

A huge fan of Som’s work for its “uptown girl with a rebellious streak” look, as Friedman perfectly described it, I was more prone to try out his neon florals than than to dye my hair pink. In fact, as a girl who’d grown up in the conservative confines of southern New England, any pink colour product—excluding a wash of sheer blush or a rosebud lipstick—seemed ridiculously garish. (And sadly, at present, my only push against this covered-up culture is a diminutive ankle chain that I nervously tend to remove for weekend beach trips to Greenwich, Connecticut.) So when my editor asked me to head over to the Serge Normant salon in downtown Manhattan to meet with Friedman and have her streak my hair with some custom made extensions, I accepted the task. It was about time I indulged in some temporary rebellion—especially since there wouldn’t be a single cable knit or driving moccasin involved.

Friedman, a petite and fiery character who has worked with everyone from Lady Gaga to M.I.A, greeted me with a warm smile and sat me down to chat about her process. Showing me backstage images from Som’s show, she explains that “there is a range of colours in the rose-gold trend—there’s a coral, a couple of peachy tones and then dustier tones.”

For my extensions, Friedman chose a shade from the dusty, cooler end of the spectrum to complement my blue eyes and porcelain skin. Colour decided, Freidman explained that she would dye the roots of the hair pieces to match my natural hair colour before treating the remaining length with the Color Touch process.

The finished extensions emerged a dusty, almost Victorian pink— “It’s much more sophisticated, less obvious and a lot cooler than regular pink”—and were blown straight with a dryer before being clipped to the root of my hair, then trimmed so they just peeked out from the bottom of my naturally brown locks. (Friedman prepped my wet hair with Wella’s Velvet Amplifier, which gives a smooth base to work with, much the same way a makeup primer does for your face.) A finishing blowout, with mousse for volume, did the trick, and my tresses were ready for their public debut.

Looking in the mirror it was perplexing to see my hair gussied up with a colour that was far from natural (or should we say beige?), even though I knew the pink was only temporary. The subway ride home though was where things got interesting. As someone who typically garners glances from the Barbour- and Ralph Lauren-clad crowd, it came as a shock to attract the gazes of an entirely different clan: the tattooed, and even the sort of men who wear their caps backwards. Not even my little seersucker shorts could divert these rebel attentions. Rose-gold proved itself to be a bold look, one that even outshines a deeply instilled preppy façade—Greenwich beachgoers be damned.

FLARE picks: Wella Velvet Amplifier Style Primer, $16. Wella Natural Volume Styling Mousse, $17. Wella Stay Essential Finishing Spray, $17. Wella Brilliance Shampoo and Conditioner for Coloured Hair, $14 each. for salons