One of the most highly sought-after colorists in the world, Tracey Cunningham sat down with Savoir Flair to speak about all things hair. With a client list bursting with celebrities, including Lily Aldridge, Kim Kardashian, Emma Stone, and Alessandra Ambrosio, who better to ask about how to look after your color and how to pick the perfect shade? From breaking hair rules to her slight obsession with Cher, read below for our conversation with Cunningham.
What made you want to be a hair colorist?
I’ve always been creative. I’m very intuitive and went from doing great blowouts and segued into color — it just happened. Like in many salons, you either cut or color, and I colored. I love experimenting and educating, and I’m always evolving and learning.
You’ve worked with some of the biggest celebrities in the world. Who has had the dream hair to work with?
Honestly, I truly can’t choose only one. All the girls I work with are, apart from gorgeous, such fun and spirited humans! They all take great care of their hair, minds, and bodies. I love to work with Lily (Aldridge); she’s so effortless and I’ve known her since she was a little girl. That’s the thing, I’ve known most of my clients for many years — they’re all my dream girls!
Who is your ultimate hair icon and why?
Cher! Look at that hair! As we get older and naturally our hair gets less healthy, Cher stands the test of time and her hair radiates beauty. She’s an icon in my eyes for sure.
What’s the craziest request you’ve ever had?
I’ve had SO many, do you have a couple of hours? [Laughs]
If you weren’t a hair colorist, what would you want to be?
A singer on Broadway. I love my musicals. My friends and co-workers and I are always belting out tunes. That, or an educator in some field. That’s what I’m doing now, I’m educating colorists from all over and I am loving it. I love to give back.
What would be your top tip to ladies in the Middle East on how to handle heat, humidity, and that pesky A/C?
Use a good shampoo with no sulfates, and minimal conditioner. And then a good hair serum and lots of Olaplex to keep the hair healthy despite the heat, A/C, and chemical processing.
What piece of advice would you give a lady who wants to totally change her hair color?
Really consider all factors, and don’t do it on a whim. I always tell my clients — go home, look at different pictures, have a good think, and then we’ll talk.
Is there someone you haven’t worked with yet that you’re desperate to?
Where’s the strangest place you’ve ever done someone’s hair?
Dubai! Not that it’s a strange place — I love going there to work on my beautiful ladies — but it’s strange how it’s so far to go to do people’s color. I come to Dubai quite a bit; it’s becoming my home away from home, and I’ve made wonderful friends there.
There are no rules with eye color or hair color combinations. Be brave, talk it over with your colorist, and experiment. Personality has a lot to do with it.
Debunk the biggest hair myth you’ve heard…
When people are very strict about change and making changes, thinking “Oh I’ve got brown eyes, so I can’t possibly be a blonde”. Comments like that. There are no rules with eye color or hair color combinations. Be brave, talk it over with your colorist, and experiment. Personality has a lot to do with it.
What do you predict will be huge in the world of hair next season?
I’m a very natural colorist and I’m anti ‘trends’. I love creating natural, effortless color. My clients normally lead the ‘pack’ in next season looks as they are on the runway and in editorials, so I guess I just go with what’s complementary with the seasons’ collections. However, like I said, I don’t follow trends or go for ‘trendy’ looks. Natural and healthy is my go-to for all seasons’ looks.
Whose locks would you love to give a makeover to?
What’s one hair product you couldn’t live without?
Olaplex. If you aren’t using it, you better start now. It’s revolutionary!
What is your top tip for keeping hair color vibrant and fresh?
A little gloss treatment and always, as aforementioned, using Olaplex in your beauty regime.
What’s the color for hair this season?
Warm, buttery colors — brunettes that are not too dark, or a little depth with creamy blondes. Also, as I am a natural red head, I’ve got to say for a gorgeous winter look, reds rule! [Winks]
Tracey Cunningham visits Dubai for color sessions at Belle Femme. For more information or to book an appointment, call (+971) 4 395 3334 .