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