Freeyourhair/Manic Panic Experimental Color Project 3. Sky Cries Mary and Tape the Rainbow

brettebretteHello Dear Friends. Welcome back to the 3rd project in the Manic Panic/ HTHG Experimental Color Studios. If you are here for the first time, a little background information on the collab:

This little project was in an effort to provide HTHG readers/viewers and Manic Panic fans a little look into some experimental techniques for creating new color patterns and textures in the hair.

7U6A5136The techniques used in this color series borrow inspiration from the fine art world, and involve the creative use of tools such as small paint brushes, stencils, spray bottles, and braids. The purpose of the videos is to share with you our process for experimenting with color, as well as our results…….our hope is that you leave with some inspiration to experiment yourself, and push your own boundaries and beliefs about hair color.

We want you to notice the depth of inspiration for conceptual coloring that is all around you……Use it as your muse to mix and blend your Manic Panic colors into custom shades.

With the Experimental Color Studios, we aim to demonstrate the versatility of using Manic Panic color, and show you that the opportunity for incredible color with this revolutionary line goes so far beyond what meets the eye.

The world of hair and beauty is moving fast, and new techniques scream through the industry at light speed…….It is a wonderful time for us as colorists/stylists to bridge the gap between hair, expression, and art and take the industry in a really exciting direction.

HTHG and Manic Panic are here to help inspire you and push you, encourage you to try new things and share your results so that other people can learn and be inspired. Let’s make this hue revolution explode into technicolor rainbows.

Thank you all for being here, and thanks to Manic Panic for inspiring me and pushing me to experiment since I was a 11 year old baby riot grrrrrl.

For more inspiration, we invite you to follow @howtohairgirl @manicpanicnyc #freeyourhaircolor

7U6A5055Today’s project is very close to my heart, both personally and hair-wise. I had the honor of being given full creative dream on my dear friend Brette’s pre-lightened hair. Every colorist knows, this is like putting a kid in a candy shop and telling them it’s all free.

bfujaThe occasion of this particular hair color job was a reunion show for the 90’s psychadelic prog-rock band Sky Cries Mary, where Brette was singing alongside the original band members which included her dad Joe Skyward, who is fighting prostate cancer……. The show was a benefit for Joe and for raising awareness about men’s preventative health. This show, which sold out at Nuemo’s in Seattle ,  was the first time that the band had played together in 23 years.

Sky Cries Mary was an anomaly in the Seattle music scene in the 90’s, when most music coming from the region was very dark and shadowy. The SCM sound was uplifting, positive, and colorful while still being totally rock. They used bright and trippy oil projections for their backdrops, and sang songs with lyrics that were as psychedelic as the come. In an interview with Roderick, lead singer and songwriter for the band, he was asked why his lyrics are so positive, in the context of a place and industry that is saturated with darkness and negativity. He answered

‘There is enough negativity in the world today and I don’t think writing music about negativity does anybody any good’

7U6A4636This uplifting, colorful positivity was both the inspiration and the backdrop for Brette’s colorful hair scheme…….But before we dive into hair, I have to share a little memory of Brette’s just to give a little more context of the importance of this reunion show (and of her crazy colorful hair.)

I was 7 my first time in San Francisco. I stayed at the studio while Sky Cries Mary recorded Exit to the Axis: A Return to the Inner Experience. I remember the trip like a dream…..Cruising down Market street with my brother Jaxin and the band, eating pizza and watching Planet of the Apes marathons. Dancing my heart out to Blondie in all the bands costumes, and going to the Alameny Swap Meet. I bought a Barbie there, and cut off all her hair and dyed it with beet juice and blackberries and named her Guacamole. Then, we drove to Mexico and camped down the Pacific Coast. It was one of the most formative Summer’s in my life.

This memory, and the return of Sky Cries Mary, called for an insanely dreamy hair color scheme. Also, Brette had a very special dress from Rainbow Kimono to wear that night, and it was important that hair and dress played beautifully together. Needless to say, her hair got taped and rainbowed, and we called the hair creation ‘Heartsong.’

Split the vein, divides the sun.

Hear the rain, watch them run.

This is the moment of the fall.

The big tent tumbles one, tumbles all.

-Circus Church, Written by Roderick for Sky Cries Mary

( Maybe play A Return to the Inner Experience while you do this color on a friend;)

Tape the Rainbow

Here is how her hair unfolded.IMG_8157

The night began with red wine, a plate palette full of Manic Panic colors ( Electric Banana, Cleo Rose, Mermaid, After Midnight, and Pillarbox Red) mixed and blended to custom rainbow shades, and my 5 tubs of Tinge Pastel Color Conditioner.

We were going for dreamy washed out color-fade, with flashes of brightness in the under-layers. tinge

Screen Shot 2015-11-05 at 2.34.19 PMWe began by sectioning off the top of her head, in a rounded rectangle, clipping off the top.

In the underneath section, I applied Turquoise Tinge at her roots, working my way through in small sections, and thoroughly saturating the roots.

Below the root, I applied Silver Tinge throughout her hair. Then Below that, Purple, Pink, then Peach, creating a nice soft melted watercolor rainbow.tape

Next, I made a thin, 3/4 inch deep sub-section along the inside of my top section. Basically, sectioned off a rounded rectangle shaped strip of hair to apply the bright colors too.

I laid the sub-sections on 3 strips of foil, so that they fell in natural fall around the head. I combed them so that they were nice and straight on the foil, then I used scotch tape to both secure the hair to the foil and to create gaps in the color application. I taped at different angles and at different places across the hair, to create organic and un-uniform effects. I then applied my Turquoise Tinge at the roots.MP


Screen Shot 2015-11-05 at 2.35.47 PMThen, It was time to tape the rainbow. I used my magic Manic Panic Mixes to make a rainbow down each taped section of hair, painting the color onto the hair and foil.

I began at the top, with blue, then moved to green, yellow, orange, red, pink, purple. I painted right over the tape, and I overlapped each color just a little bit at each transition.


Towards the end, I added another foil strip below the first ones to extend them to compensate for the length of her hair.

I made sure to apply the color thick and with some muscle, so as to make sure it saturated through the whole strip of hair, without leaving any hair uncolored.finish

Then, I covered each strip with foil, and squished the foils flat against the head to help work the color in and melt it together.

With the existing hair at the top of her head, I repeated the Tinge pattern: Turquoise at the roots, Silver, Purple, Pink, Peach.

She sat for a half hour or so, then rinsed her hair out. My bathtub was a rainbow for days.

7U6A4143 4.47.39 PMBrette’s Heartsong Hair was magic. She rocked it like a color priestess on stage the next night, and is enjoying the insane fade-out process as the color melts and blends and lightens all around her crown.

Viva la Color Revolution. Thanks for being here!

xo, HTHG and Manic Panic




Holiday Hairstyle Adornment Hacks

Here is a sweet little guest post from Cassie Brewer! Thanks Cassie for your contribution and your great hair styling ideas. We so appreciate your Guest Post Offering!

Holiday Hairstyle Adornment Hacks with Cassie Brewer

No matter how amazing your outfit and makeup look, having great hair is a must to complete your stylish appearance. When preparing for Thanksgiving, you might not
have a lot of time at your disposal to spend doing your hair, but these holiday hairstye adornment hacks prove that you can achieve glam hair in a flash.

The Crown Plait

Screen Shot 2015-11-18 at 1.25.22 PMIf you love plaits but want to wear your hair loose, consider a cool compromise. Take a bit of hair from the front of both sides of your face and plait both of them across the back of your head. Pin them in place with bobby pins. Add a hair accessory to the mix, such as a floral pearl or crystal crown if you want more glamour. Pearls are a big trend this season as they’re all about taking a traditional item of jewelry and giving it a modern spin. The effect is stylish and will evoke a sense of elegance.

Screen Shot 2015-11-18 at 1.25.00 PM

The Fabric Twist

Adding fabrics to your hairstyle is an eye-catching trick that can elevate a simple twist to the stylish ranks. All you need to do is pin a strand of fabric, such as pretty lace, behind a strand of hair that you have twisted on one side of your head. As you move the piece of hair and lace around the base of your head, you should continue twisting it. Once you reach your shoulder, tie the hair and fabric over your shoulder. This is a great twist on The Low Ponytail.

To draw even more attention to the lacy ponytail, match its colour to jewelry you’re wearing. For instance, if it’s a copper-coloured fabric, match it to a stack of brass bangles. The mood is effervescent boho chic.

Fun Braided Bun

Screen Shot 2015-11-18 at 1.21.03 PMBuns are so versatile to wear but sometimes it’s easy to let them look a bit drab or dowdy. To prevent that from happening, a braided bun is the perfect solution. Although this might look complicated when you see it on other people, it’s so easy to do. All you need to do is separate your hair into three ponytails, then plait them. Pin them up and around to create that rounded bun effect. Keep it beautifully rounded for a ballerina bun or pin the plaits randomly to create a less structured ’do. Tuck in some flowers for a romantic feel.

Hot hair tip: Before braiding your hair, use an organic texturizing product that will keep your hair in place. A great one to try is Not Your Mother’s Double Take Dry Finish Texture Spray that contains quinoa, aloe leaf juice and keratin to boost your hair’s health while helping it stay in place without becoming dry or stiff.

The Glam Ponytail

Ponytails are always trendy because there are so many fun things you can do with them. A great style for this season is the bejewelled ponytail as seen on fall-winter runway shows such as Prada. How you achieve it is by creating a really high ponytail, then sweeping it to one side of your head. Pin it in place with a jewel-encrusted clip or brooch. Brooches are being used in creative ways this season, so they’re perfect for bringing some bling to your hair. Choose a gorgeous brooch made with natural beads and glass for a bit of sparkle this festive season.

Chic Curls

Soft waves are great for achieving that holiday feeling. They can also be elegant, though. Here’s a quick way to make beachy curls perfect for the evening:

● After curling your hair with a curling tong or rollers, you want to create volume. Do this by teasing your hair all over with the use of a comb. Gently comb over it to create a soft, natural effect.

● Take a piece of hair from the front of your head and pin it back with a bobby pin.

● Lift a piece from underneath the bit you’ve pinned back and move it across to the other side of your head so that you can cover up the bobby pin. This is what makes it look extra chic!

● Whether you sweep your curls up or keep them down, a chic idea is to choose gemstone-encrusted clips to decorate your hair on the top or side. This draws attention to your hairstyle and gives it a stylish touch. Garnet is the birthstone for January, so it’s a fine choice. Its red shade is a winter colour staple this year while bringing in the festive season spirit wherever you go.

Gorgeous hair doesn’t have to take lots of time to create. Add some pretty hair accessories to your hairstyles this season for a dash of glamour and fun.

xo, HTHG and Cassie Brewer!

Talking Vision, Inspiration, Society, and Hair with Brittani Sensabaugh


I found Brittsense a week ago while combing through Losthairdressers, which is one of my favorite Instagram feeds for hair inspiration. I went to her website, and spent the next hour pouring over the photography of Brittani Sensabaugh and her Power of Melanin Project, feeling like I had stumbled upon a golden palace of shimmering, uplifting energy, vision, beauty and strength. I reached out, she graciously agreed to share some photos and some words with HTHG readers.

Stunned, I have no other words but to introduce Brittani Sensabaugh and thank her for sharing her art, her point of view, her mission, and her words with us. Please read on, then check out her work, and share in her potent vision of healing, empowerment and love.

All photos in this feature were taken by Brittani Sensabaugh

Talking Vision, Inspiration, Society, and Hair with Brittani Sensabaugh

Dear Nubian Empress, Every root of your hair tells a different story, Do not be fooled by fools that will tell you otherwise… It grows out like a bush because YOU are a reflection of the SUN.. It dances around because your MELANIN has soul & like Gold it will continue to shine. There’s no way to duplicate it which makes you one of a kind, Remain pure & Continue to Embrace it. Always wear your Crown of History Proudly because no one can erase it – Poem by brittsense

IMG_3809Her Vision/Mission-

I created the “Power Of Melanin” series to show the strength & different levels of beauty that my people embody. My people struggle physically but even more mentally. When you are raised up in broken communities without any resources or a blueprint in society to guide you through your journey, it’s much harder to maneuver & build a foundation. When you are ruled under a system that is meant to destroy you & not build you up, It makes you question your worth. When your identity has been erased and replaced with misguided truths, You feel lost & angry.

A lot of us are out in the world creating a foundation from nothing & that is something I will always give us credit for.

Whether your 9 to 5 is owning a business, creating art, playing sports, getting an education, making music or selling drugs, the common denominator is survival & trying to make sense of situations that make you feel hopeless. We learn from the individuals & environment around us & when that is constantly destroyed you feel defeated & trapped.

Processed with VSCOcam with g3 presetTHE MISSION of this series is to REMIND my people of the Power, beauty, strength, but most importantly the LOVE in the pain we may often feel daily. It’s to show you that no matter HOW MUCH we go through, WE still shine & will always shine in all that we do because MELANIN is Real Power. Our hair, Communication & everyday movement is because of the Melanin within our skin.


I became a documentarian once I realized the Power of Energy. The biggest gift the universe has given me is the ability to FEEL. I feel EVERYTHING & that has allowed me to connect with other souls that want to feel but are scared. I see so many people on this earth that walk around just existing because society has made them feel that being numb is the way to survive.

I started 222forgottencities to bring back awareness, but most importantly the ability to feel throughout every moment in your journey while being on this earth. I wake up everyday crying because there are so many emotions that flow through me constantly & I’m super aware of the energy around me.

Daily I’ve become truly thankful for all of my transitions & Emotions because I learn the balance of discipline, acceptance, patience, & Unconditional Love.

I have realized that whenever you submit your will to someone else’s opinion apart of you dies.


Society has a way to make us feel that in order to obtain a certain level of happiness you have to ‘believe in this, have this much money, know these many types of people, look & act this certain way, love this way, do things in this order’ & most times it leaves us feeling confused, disappointed, dissatisfied, & not worthy because it doesn’t happen the way we expected.

My biggest gift when documenting 222forgottencities is being able to be transparent with everyone I come across & showing each soul I connect with that it’s okay to not know & that we are in the trenches together despite how society makes us feel.

Showing them that they aren’t FORGOTTEN because their a reflection of me through all conditions, & that being numb isn’t surviving but it’s disconnecting them from the unconditional Love they deserve to feel.

I see & learn from them & they see & learn from me which is what makes US so powerful.

I see life in pictures & I freeze frame every moment I see in my head.

It’s almost as if I’m living in a motion picture.  Every since I was younger I’ve been able to feel the pain of the world but most importantly the Love. My camera allows me to balance out both energies.


With all of my documentations my mission is bringing awareness to different aspects that are overlooked in society & Hair is one of them.

Hair has always been a big part of my life since I was a little girl, especially Hair braiding. I used to cry every time I got my hair braided because I was tender headed & super hyper so sitting for long periods of time was challenging for me.

I remember feeling really pretty though afterwards because my sister would braid my hair in funky styles that no one else had at school & everyone always wanted to touch the colorful beads on my braids.

I remember when I got my first perm & I cried even more because I didn’t understand why I had to put something in my hair that burned & made me feel super uncomfortable just to get my hair straight when braids were a style that I had already gotten used to. 

As I got older, when my sister did my hair not only was it beautiful to get all the funky styles but the process behind It was even more amazing.

IMG_9327-2I also realized that sitting down getting my hair braided became a way for me to build with my people.

My sister used to tell me that your hair is Love & you should always take care of it but most importantly embrace it. Once I became an adult I started realizing more how much my people are conditioned to believe that their hair holds no value because of Societies negative perceptions.

For years our hair has been talked about in such a bad light & my mission when documenting is to bring back the value & Importance. I want people to realize the creativity but most importantly the love & building behind hair braiding & the uniqueness of the texture that Black hair has.

My mission is to also bring awareness for all the little empress that don’t Overstand the beauty of their hair because they’re bombarded with Imagery that shows them differently. I wrote that poem for them.

When I’m not wearing my hair Natural, I wear it in protective styles such as Braids & Marley twists. Most of the time my hair is wrapped up in fabric which makes people assume that I’m Muslim, but I wrap my hair to protect my realm from toxin energy.

Visit her website:

Tumblr – Brittsense

Instagram – @Brittsense

Thank you all so much for being here, and for reading and sharing this vision.

xo, HTHG and Brittsense


Interview With Hairstory Colorist and Healer Roxie Darling.

As Hairstylists, it is our duty to help reach into a person and pull out a part of their soul which best represents them and allows them to express themselves, and hair is our medium for this divination. We have an opportunity to heal, to inspire, to help people know themselves better, to and to help people tell their stories. Roxie Darling, of NYC’s Hairstory Studio, knows this better than almost anyone.

RoxieHeadshot4 (1)I feel honored to share a profession and a name with Roxie Darling, as well as many common feelings and ideas surrounding people and their hair, and the Hair Industry. I have been following her work for several years now, and find constant inspiration in her organic and conceptual take of hair coloring. Also, we both wear random kind of tangled up necklaces and colorful vintage slips and have messy wild hair and I take that as a sign of Hair Stylist Sisterhood.

Interview with Colorist Roxie Darling

Roxie, You are known for bold and inspired hair color. Tell me about your process for conceptualizing a color scheme and tailoring it to a particular client.

My concepts for my for my most bold work usually originate from my mind. It comes from a perpetual need in my career to do work that makes me uncomfortable. Once I find something new, that frightens me, I know I’m on the right path. Then I’ll find the right person whose brave enough and open enough to work with me and create something I feel is wholly new. Then I’ll do variations on it, tweak it, propel the idea forward.

When it comes to applying a concept to a client, the most important things to consider are their skin tone, hair texture, and how they feel about maintenance.

5ShootGina(look2-shot4)EDITHow have you seen new color transform a persons life? How do you see hair color as an opportunity to heal?

There’s something very powerful about changing someone’s aesthetic identity. No matter how subtle a change, it effects their perception of themselves, as well as the world’s perception of them. Hair is one of the first things people notice about each other – with our hair we are project an idea of ourselves and stimulate reactions from others.

I have a friend, who was just on the brink of coming out as transgender at the time – male bodied who identified as female. At the time she had this beautiful dark chestnut hair, but craved this processed platinum inspired by the film Hedwig and the Angry Inch. When she saw herself with this beautiful blonde hair she began crying completely unbridled staring in the mirror. This moment acted as a catalyst for her to be who she wanted to be. That moment will stay with me the rest of my life, and when I question what I’m doing with my life to make the world better (which I do often) I come back to that moment: I am helping people get on to the next chapter. Hair can be integral to that.

What is the future of hair coloring/care going to look like?

Screen Shot 2015-11-18 at 12.14.38 PMIt’s all about New Wash. I don’t think anyone really understood shampoo’s underlying problem before New Wash. For the longest time people assumed their hair was one thing: frizzy, no body, unmanageable. That’s not your natural hair, it’s its reaction to detergent. When hair isn’t being mistreated and stripped it goes back to it’s optimal condition. When hair is in that optimal condition, with all it’s integrity I’m liberated as a colorist to push the limits with bleach and color. My color lives longer, and my clients’ hair is so much more resilient.

Shampoo is the cause of almost every single hair problem, New Wash has ended the chaos.

Walk us through your personal hair routine (styling, products etc.)

I wash my hair and scalp with New Wash maybe every 4 days. My skin and hair was always very dry before New Wash, but now it retains moisture and looks much healthier. Sometimes I’ll simply wash from the mid-shaft to the ends so my hair will smell great but I can keep the grit I love near the root.

Then I add a lot of Hair Balm which I call Hair Crack, and spray Undressed before and after my hair dries. For the next few days I run my hands through it, mold it how I like, and keep adding the products which never get crunchy.

Could you describe for us your hair MO in a sentence?

It’s as simple as: I like doing hair color and I’m good at it; when you love something and you’re good at it, that’s probably what you should be doing.

As a stylist, what direction would you like to see the industry move?

Towards simplicity and good intentions.

Shannon Snow 14 03 25 (look 2 shot 2)Appeal to the hair DIYers- what is your favorite trick/bit of advice for at-home styling and care?

Deposit some of your direct dye in your New Wash to keep your color vibrant. Stay away from heat-styling which will fade your hair, and use Hair Balm all the time.

What is the color of your aura?

If I had to say it’s a pinky gold – sometimes more orange, other times more red, and sometimes with a dark purple tone when I’m feeling down.

Tell us your Dream collaboration.

Working with anyone whose open and present.

If you could take 3 products on a hair tour of outer space what would they be?

New Wash, Hair Balm, Undressed.

Speaking to a product minimalist what is your advice for the absolute best all round routine for great hair in 3 products or less?

New Wash + Hair Balm.

Follow Roxie on Instagram here, and click here for the Hairstory blog and archive of stories on hair. If you are in NYC and need some new hair inspo, look for a Hairstory Color Casting Call and get in line for dream hair color from Roxie Darling.

Take Roxie’s suggestion and try the Hairstory Product line? Check it out here if you are a client, and here if you want to work with the line as a stylist, and make sure to tell them How-to Hair Girl sent you.

xo, Roxie and Roxie

Childbirth, and Expecting Mama Braids

7U6A7489 (1)There is not a more sacred time in a woman’s life than right before her first baby is born. This beautiful time, the last month, is filled with unknowns, emotions, and the insanity of your body growing past what feels like it’s own limitations. The anticipation and excitement of an upcoming birth and then life as a parent is an almost unreal, dreamlike place.

7U6A7316I spent last weekend with my 36 week pregnant sister friend Nikki Jacoby and her partner Gabe enjoying the woods, cooking food, playing music, reading up on birth, and relaxing. Both Gabe and I happened to be reading a book called The Birth Partner by Penny Simkins, which was perfect because we get tag-team her  support when the time comes, which is such a incredibly cool honor.

7U6A7296 (1)While in our little cabin in the woods, I shot some photos of Nikki, to document her body at it’s most pregnant extreme so she will never forget how radiant she is.

I gave her special braids, Expecting Mama Braids, because it seemed like the perfect time for her to wear her own golden crown. I thought a lot about how our hair is our crown, and that there are times in life when we need to own our power and wear crown proudly, and to be brave……and this was one of those times.


With that said, this braid is for all of you Expecting Mamas.

What makes these braids different is that we began with a deep, diagonal side part.

7U6A7408I did two dutch braids, the first started along the front hairline, the second started at the apex of the diagonal part, sweeping around in an arc to meet the first one in the back.

Both braids were secured at the ends, deconstructed, and then each end was wrapped around and pinned under the opposite braid to complete the circle.

7U6A7419Does that make sense? I hope so.

Here is a quote from legendary American Midwife Ina May Gaskins

“Remember this, for it is as true and true gets: Your body is not a lemon. You are not a machine. The Creator is not a careless mechanic. Human female bodies have the same potential to give birth well as aardvarks, lions, rhinoceri, elephants, moose, and water buffalo. Even if it has not been your habit throughout your life so far, I recommend that you learn to think positively about your body.”

If you are in the Seattle Area and are pregnant and about to give birth, and you want braids to crown you and help you channel your power, please email me at

May your births be smooth, powerful, mighty, and peaceful, and your hair be shining and royal.7U6A7201

P.S. I got all my Nikki Jacoby Jewelry re-tumbled, and I can’t stop looking at it.

xo, HTHG

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