Hair Painting: Couture for the Hair

When we hear “couture” we think high fashion and the hundreds of meticulous hours spent crafting a garment tailored to an individual. Victoria Hunter, renowned colorist and co-owner of Whittemore House Salon in NYC applies the same philosophy of couture to hair color. In my interview with her, she explains the difference between Balayage vs. Hair Painting and why hair painting is the most modern approach to hair color.

LB: Balayage and Hair Painting have become synonymous in the world of color. What is the difference?

V: We have many students attending our hair painting seminars at Whittemore House and during our individual consultations, we uncovered that much of what is taught in the way of Balayage is very much the same. Balayage essentially is free hand painting with the mentality of foil. You move around the head of hair the same way, apply the same technique of foiling, just with a brush. The hair becomes very one-dimensional, like painting by foil. Hair Painting is multi-dimensional, applying different methods, varying placement with a strong emphasis on developing your eye.

LB: How do you shift from Balayage to Hair Painting?

V: For any artist, the art of Hair Painting should be liberating. It is about the way you think about and see the hair. You have to think like an architect and visualize the head of hair in 3-D. Hair Painting challenges you to think about the different layers of the hair and creating dimension throughout. It starts with a mindset, continues with developing your eye and ongoing practice.

LB: What are the benefits of Hair Painting?

V: Hair Painting is the most modern way to approach hair color because you can apply many different methods and is specifically tailored to the person sitting your chair. All of the models and celebrities featured in fashion magazines have their hair painted; not foiled, not balayaged. It’s what’s current. A multi-dimensional approach will produce a final result that is more unusual and memorable.

To learn the modern techniques of Hair Painting click here. WH: Master Your Game is a 2-Day Intensive Workshop led by Victoria Hunter and Larry RaspsantiWH Painted, Rethink Color is a one-day foundational course in hair painting led by the Whittemore House lead colorists.