Even though dyeing hair dates back to 1500 BC when Egyptians used henna to camouflage gray hair, many colorful hair trends such as rainbow hair and pastel shades have just become popular in recent years. We should probably be thankful to Kylie Jenner when, in 2014, she set herself apart from natural-looking hair techniques and embraced now-iconic teal blue tips. And, of course, it instantly caught many fashionistas’ attention. Taking advantage of this wave, the hairstylist Ursula Goff has drawn attention by using unusual inspirations to create mesmerizing hair looks for her clients. Scroll down for Bored Panda’s interview with the artist!
The Kansas-based hairstylist creates seriously stunning hair looks which are inspired by classic art paintings, food (that’s right—one of her colorful hair looks was inspired by pasta,) glitter, galaxy pictures, and many more, but one of her favorite themes for inspiration is nature. She uses pictures of anything that you can find in nature—from volcanoes, starry nights, pearls, oceans, butterflies, and even flames—as a reference for a color scheme for her new hair designs. “I approach hair color pretty much like I approach painting—I can be inspired by almost anything and I’m always asking myself how I’d execute certain looks or concepts,” says Ursula to Bored Panda.
When asked how long it takes to make one hair design, she says: “It depends on the design. Some of the hair paintings/illustrations I’ve done are painted on hair extensions and clipped into the hair, and those can take from 30 minutes to several hours to complete. A full hair color concept on a client, however, almost always takes a minimum of six hours due to the multiple processes involved.” Ursula admits that her career started a long time ago; however, she only started making hair designs a few years ago. “I’d say I’ve been working from a variety of inspirations, both my own and my clients’, for the bulk of my 18-year career. It didn’t occur to me to begin sharing the inspiration as a visual aid, however, till about 4 years ago.”
“I have an entire album on my phone filled with thousands of photos I save to share with clients and to use as a reference, but clients also bring in their own photos or verbally discuss concepts they’d like to do. We may look for a reference photo before I start working just make sure we are on the same page, or, if they are more flexible and trusting, I may just work from the concept mentally and find an appropriate image to match it to later. I come up with a lot of ideas on my own, but collaborating with many of my clients also leads me to do work that I normally wouldn’t think of or maybe even wouldn’t want to do, and it can force me out of my comfort zone and give me completely new ideas to work from. The result is that I am constantly challenged and I am even pleasantly surprised sometimes.”
“It depends on what the client wants and what the client has. Most clients are regulars with old faded color, and I don’t like to strip all that out every time because it’s so hard on the hair. So if they are asking for something specific, it may not be immediately possible and may take a few appointments to get there, utilizing color mixing and/or neutralizing through color theory. So some hair color you see on my social media is actually transitional. Other times, they come in with their old color and they ask me what their options are at that moment, so we will talk about that and can sometimes settle things that way. Or they may come in and say something like, 'I don’t care what we do so long as there’s a lot of green'. So then I might say, green like... a beetle? And then show them the bunches of photos I have saved on my phone of iridescent green beetles, and we might work out a way to try to convey that concept through hair color. It’s all pretty fluid and often takes a bit of flexibility on my part—I have to be prepared for anything when a client comes in because almost all of them want something new at every appointment,” she says when asked how she picks the colors for her new designs.
“Art kind of runs in my family; I have some older siblings who taught me a couple of things growing up. I also just drew ALL THE TIME from about the time I entered kindergarten. So I worked out a lot of stuff on my own. I attended two-quarters of art school as a fashion major but dropped out. Then I transferred to the University of Texas to major in psychology but I dropped out AGAIN. I came crawling back home and was waitressing when I decided to go to cosmetology school at the local community college on a whim because they offered me a full academic scholarship. (I did ultimately go back to school in 2010 to successfully complete my degree in psychology).
I started teaching private art lessons and doing commissioned artwork at 14, and even taught art for a year in an elementary school, but didn’t have as much time for it once I got busy with my career. Doing hair actually feeds my creativity pretty well. But I missed doing art after a while, so that’s why I started doing design/illustration/painting reproductions on hair a few years ago. Now I only work part-time in the salon for health reasons, so it’s freed up a lot of time for me. As a result, I’ve been experimenting with new types of art and am making an effort to sell more of it as well, since I haven’t set out to sell any artwork in over a decade.”
Ursula has more than 150k followers on her Instagram account, so she regularly posts pictures of her new hair designs together with pictures that inspired them. I should admit that going through those amazing pictures on her Instagram account, I thought that I should just call my hairstylist and make an appointment to dye my hair vibrant colors!