Rita Hazan has been making stars blonder (and, sometimes, pinker) since the 1990s, when she got a job at Oribe right after beauty school. Since then, she's become a towering figure in the industry, and now counts everyone from Beyoncé to Katy Perry as clients. In our latest installment of Stylist Stories, Hazan talked to Hair Days about how she got started in the business of celebrity transformations, the biggest mistakes people make when they go to the colorist, and how she made Beyoncé “really blonde.”
How did you get started in the business?
I actually went to beauty school right after high school, at 17, and I started working for Oribe right away in 1992. It was really the only thing I knew I wanted to do right away. I went for my dream job, and I got it. I grew there as an artist, as a colorist. And that’s where I worked with a lot of celebrities, then I opened my own place.
Who was the first really big celebrity that you got to color?
Mariah Carey. I can never forget! I was so young that I didn't even know that I should be nervous. I just went to her apartment. Basically, what she wanted was a new image. I guess she was going out on her own and they wanted something younger, more youthful, and a little more edgy. I did honey and golden-blonde highlights just to give her a little bit of lightness around the face. I always like her when her color’s a little lighter.
How was she to work with?
Easy, funny enough! Easy, cool, kind of let me do my own thing. Trusting.
What's the most challenging celebrity hair color you’ve had to do?
One of the most challenging jobs I ever had to do was Katy Perry, when her hair was black and she wanted to make [it] lavender. To get that black out was really hard without damaging her hair. I think that was the most challenging and the most rewarding thing at the same time, because when I did it I was just really proud of myself. It took six or seven hours.
What are some of the most common mistakes people make when they’re asking for hair color?
They use the wrong words to describe what they want. People say they’re afraid of gold, but they’re not really afraid of gold, they’re afraid of orange. Every colorist and every person in the world sees things differently. I always say the best way to get what you want is to bring pictures of what you like and pictures of what you don’t like. It’s visual, it’s clear, it’s simple. The other mistake people make is if they are olive-skinned, they’ll bring a picture of somebody with blonde hair, blue eyes, and pale skin. Stick to people that look the most like you.
Whose hair have you done recently?
Jessica Simpson, Christie Brinkley, Beyoncé. Chrissy Teigen just wanted a change, and one day she was like, Rita, you can do something dramatic? I was like, Okay, come in, I have a couple of ideas, and of course I obsessed about it. She cut her hair and we did a cool version of an ombré. She’s a cool girl. She can carry it. She’s confident.
What did you do to Beyoncé?
We just made her really blonde. She switches it up so much. It’s her hair and then she’ll add hair or subtract hair or whatever. She knows what she wants.
In your whole career, can you choose a favorite that you’ve done?
Creating J.Lo’s look was something I’ll never forget. It was the late 1990s — 1998, something like that. She came to me with dark hair and I lightened it up and gave her these honey highlights and it was the biggest thing in the universe. It just changed her whole look and I remember a sales rep came to me later and wanted to sell me hair color and he said, “I have a color that J.Lo uses to get those honey highlights.” And I started laughing, like, Oh my God, it’s a thing now? I thought, This is insane.
What's the big hair-color trend now or request you're receiving a lot?
The biggest trend for spring is going to be platinum. Everyone wants to go blonder, blonder, blonder. Part of it is fashion and part of it is that it’s been such a long winter that people want to be lighter. Like going lighter will bring the summer faster.
What are some hair trends you’re getting tired of seeing, or you’d like to see change or go away?
The dark to very light ombré, I would like to see that go away. I like the softer ombré, where it blends together and it’s not so dramatic and so harsh.
Have you had any disasters where it turned out not what you expected?
No, thank God. I prepare myself so well for what I’m doing that I actually obsess about it for days. How I'm going to do it, what could go wrong, how should I prevent that, what should I bring. Every kind of scenario goes through my head. Thank God, thank God a million times I’ve never had anything go wrong!
This interview has been edited and condensed.
Most Viewed Stories
Elizabeth Warren Just Said What Most Women Wish They Could to Donald Trump
Blake Lively Reportedly Just Gave Birth, and You’ll Never Guess Who’s Running to the Hospital
I Tried Hillary Clinton’s Diet and Now I Sympathize With Her
Brad Pitt Fights Back Against Angelina Jolie and Her Plot to ‘Destroy’ Him
What It’s Like to Be a Female Reporter Covering Donald Trump
The Mysterious Deaths of Two Sisters in a Luxury Hotel
Prince George Has No Time for Justin Trudeau’s High Fives
Looks Like Kate Middleton Is Enjoying the View in Canada
It’s Time to Stop Writing ‘I Hope You’re Well’ in Emails
Megyn Kelly Roasts Trump’s Campaign Manager for Claiming He Doesn’t Make Sexist Comments
From Our Partners
powered by PubExchange
The Cut’s Latest Beauty FeaturesHere Are the 5 Most Random Anecdotes From Tiffany Trump’s New York Times Profile
She did the photo shoot, though.Sarah Silverman Remains Baffled by ‘Bernie or Bust’ Folks
The comedian appeared on Real Time With Bill Maher to discuss the upcoming election.Like You, Anna Kendrick Is Mourning The Great British Bake Off’s Untimely Demise
Anna Kendrick thinks Mel and Sue are “folk heroes,” and is also a little bit scared of Paul Hollywood.Chris Hemsworth Presents His Glorious Bottom for All the World to See
A new angle.Elizabeth Warren Just Said What Most Women Wish They Could to Donald Trump
She went on a Friday tweetstorm.Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie on Why Being a Feminist and Loving Makeup Aren’t Mutually Exclusive
Contrary to that egg’s recent tweet.Yes, You Should Intervene If You Think a Child Is Being Abused
The safety of the child should come first.Gigi Hadid Is Now Designing Fall Boots
Would you wear the “Gigi”?Of Course These Two Celebrities Are Friends
They ate raw food together at a vegan restaurant.Postwar Elegance Captured by a Groundbreaking Female Photographer
Photographs from the new book Inge Morath: On Style.
“Any man who takes a drunk woman up the stairs in a fraternity house is a damn coward, man.”Samantha Bee, Gloria Steinem, Gayle King, and More Women Told Us How to Deal With Mansplainers
Samantha Bee’s advice: “I clamsplain right back.”These Diamonds Are As Cool As They Are Affordable
Simple studs for multiple holes.3 Brilliant Shows From Paris
Balmain, Rick Owens, and Galliano at Margiela deliver.The Mad-Scientist Designer Making Clothes From a Single Thread
Designer Jeanne Vicerial is pushing the limits of what we consider fashion.What Does Girl-Power Makeup Look Like?
Dior’s first female creative director has a simple interpretation.The Mysterious Deaths of Two Sisters in a Luxury Hotel
Annie and Robin Korkki were found dead in a private Seychelles villa.Gwyneth Paltrow Tortures Her Trainer by Playing Justin Timberlake on Repeat
Tracy Anderson admits she hates training Gwyneth Paltrow.Here’s a Depressing But Helpful Suggestion: Buy Your Winter Stuff Now
Because nothing is worse than trudging through a snow pile in a thin coat and leaky boots.Jessica Biel Sees Your Shower Beer and Raises You a Shower Chicken-Apple Sausage