Optical Illusions in Hair: 2017 Trends

Color placement to create optical illusions, called contouring, is the current trend.  Remember striped hair from the 90s?  That was replaced with more natural-looking blended color, often achieved through artistic techniques like balayage, which is hand-painted hair color.  But now, even these modern color application techniques have been upleveled.  Today, color is all about placement.  Where color is placed is defined by the shape the stylist wants you to see. Mirroring the cultural movement toward bold individuality, brave statements driven by our inner-self, styles now daringly intensify and interpret personal character in shape and texture.  By enhancing dimensions and creating expressive shapes in hair, great stylists become sculptors.  These images, our entries to Wella's 2017 Trend Vision contest, depict Alter EGO's interpretation of current contouring trends.  Color and style by Aspen Johnson, Ashley Shick, and Dana Rosa. Photography by Trevor Underwood. Read on for interviews with the stylists.


Style and color by Aspen Johnson. 


Style and color by Ashley Shick. 


Style and color by Dana Rosa. 


Stylist Aspen Johnson prepping her model for a photo session. 


Dana Rosa and Ashley Shick at our late night photo shoot. 

Aspen Johnson: [to create these styles] "we need models who are up for anything with no boundaries. Viewers should know it took us multiple appointments and 8-10 hours to create these looks and that doesn't include conception.  We aren't just grabbing colors out of tubes.  We mix and dilute to create what you see. I placed the pastel rainbow in diagonal patterns so depending on how the hair lays it will either be bold and graphic or really soft." 

Ashley Shick: "I chose an African American model because their natural texture is not represented enough in the beauty world. I used light colors around her eyes and dark around the side of her face to create a narrowing effect and draw attention to her eyes.  Since the style is really kickass and harsh, I did a color melt on the top from dark to light to soften it up and create movement.  The undercut is progressively lighter as you move toward back to front creating a visual arrow to the eyes."


Dana Rosa: "I was inspired by the colors and movement of Raleigh awakening at sunrise." 

Dear Reader: Follow us on Instagram @alteregoraleigh!  We are always looking for models who will give us artistic freedom to create fabulous.  If that's you, send us a direct message through Instagram or Facebook.

Shawn Briscoe