How to Pull Off Rainbow Hair and Still Look Like an Adult

When that ’80s signature, rainbow-colored hair made a comeback, it was wilder than ever. Layers of crazy pink transitioning to purple, blue and green now pepper Instagram feeds and pop up in everyday life — and not just at the Mermaid Parade.

But what about rainbow hair lite? Something prettier, more wearable, designed for the woman who secretly adored the whimsy of that Starbucks Unicorn Frappuccino but can’t rationalize a mermaid-hued mane at her 9-to-5?

The colorist Rachel Bodt of the Cutler salon suggests a “beautiful, lush and sophisticated” alternative: seashell hair, as in the gentle iridescence of a shell’s interior. “This hair is for someone who wants color that’s interesting, but the really funky colors won’t work,” Ms. Bodt said. Here’s how she did it.

Bleach and Tone

Pastels show up best on pale blond hair. To get there, your colorist will do what’s called a double process. Bleaching removes the natural pigment from the hair, then toning returns color to your strands to create the right shade of blond.

A double process can look good on all skin colors, from dark to fair. “It’s like red hair that way,” Ms. Bodt said. “You just have to find the right tone.” Her rule of thumb: Match the blond tone to your skin’s undertones. Golden undertones look best with creamy shades; cool skin tones look good when paired with platinum white hair.

Very curly hair tends to be dryer and more delicate because of its spiral structure. It might not be able to handle a complete bleach job. “You should have your colorist do a test patch,” Ms. Bodt said. “If the hair loses its elasticity or breaks, you won’t be able to bleach it.” Women with textured hair or those who simply don’t want to do a double process can highlight some pieces, or curls, a light blond.

Layer in Color

Ms. Bodt used Redken Shades EQ, a demi-permanent gloss — “meaning it has both ammonia and dye so it deposits the color inside the hair shaft,” she said. It’s not as durable as regular permanent color, lasting a few weeks at best. “The colors are also dusty, which helps the overall look be more muted,” she said. “And since I’m using real hair color, not Manic Panic, which is just pigment, the colors are more natural rather than cartoonish.”

Ms. Bodt painted rose onto the roots and pulled the color through to the ends of pieces scattered throughout the hair. “The key to this look is leaving a lot of the blond visible,” she said. “That way the pastels don’t hide or distract from the beautiful blond. It’s a complement.”

After rinsing the rose gloss, Ms. Bodt added diulted rose and violet glosses all over. The effect of this step is more transparent, leaving a light tint to the hair. This “ties everything together, so it’s not just pink roots and then suddenly blond hair,” she said. She finished the look by painting on ribbons of violet throughout.

“If you really want to go for it, you can do a semi-permanent rose or violet all over the hair,” Ms. Bodt said. “If your hair is highlighted, the dusty pastel shade will pick up more the palest blond hair, but your whole head will have a beautiful dusty pastel cast.”

In very curly hair, the roots aren’t always visible. So Ms. Bodt takes a more customized approach. “You have to look at how the curls fall around the face and paint those that are most flattering — perhaps around the cheekbones or at the ends of some curls,” she said.

Style With Texture

Leave the hair textured, Ms. Bodt advises. Don’t use a flat iron or blow-dry it pin straight. Since the color is woven throughout, it will be hidden if the hair has no movement and volume.

“Seashell hair is actually the perfect summer color,” Ms. Bodt said, since we’re all straightening and blow-drying less anyway. “And you don’t have to maintain it. The color just washes out, so you can do it once or twice and then let your blond base color come through. It’s like jewelry for the hair — sparkle without commitment.”

Where All Bodies Are Exquisite


It’s 2009, and I’m in Philadelphia to deliver a talk at a conference. During a long break, I decide to visit the Mutter Museum. I teach anatomy, and the Mutter houses a collection of so-called medical curiosities. I examine the wall of skulls, the cases full of skeletons, and go downstairs, where preserved specimens wait for inspection.

And there I am confronted with a large case full of specimen jars. Each jar contains a late-term fetus, and all of the fetuses have the same disability: Their spinal column failed to fuse all the way around their spinal cord, leaving holes (called lesions) in their spine. Some extrude a bulging sac containing a section of the cord. These balloons make the fetuses appear as if they’re about to explode. This condition is called spina bifida.

I stand in front of these tiny humans and try not to pass out. I have never seen what I looked like on the day I was born.

But this is essentially what my mother saw soon after I was born. I’m awe-struck that she didn’t flinch, didn’t institutionalize me, but kept me, fought for me, taught me how to fight. Still, I feel shock at the pure strangeness of my body, an old, old shame, and finally, sorrow. Not for myself; I feel it for my preserved kin, because their bodies were stopped in time. Historical artifacts marking a moment when medicine had nothing to offer.

Every human body is a marker in time. I was born in 1958, just as surgeons found a way to close the spina bifida lesion. At that time, the fatality rate hovered around 90 percent. It was medical practice to wait until a child reached 2 years old before doing any surgical intervention. A child that lived that long was considered strong enough to survive. But very few did. I was lucky to have had a surgeon who was trained in the newest techniques and had not bought in to the sink-or-swim bioethics. He performed the surgery immediately after my birth.

By the time I was 5, my surgeon, Dr. Lester Martin, had operated on me several dozen times. This is not unusual for children with my form of spina bifida (called myelomeningocele). It was unusual that I could walk, and did not have hydrocephalus (spinal fluid on the brain), which is standard for the condition. I did, however, have organ damage, an asymmetrical body, mobility problems and a limp. It was the beginning of a life among a chorus of strangers, all singing, What’s wrong with you? What’s wrong with you?

I coped by hiding myself inside a baggy wardrobe and a ferocious insistence that I was normal. I clung to the illusion that I was passing. I walked around without my glasses on (my myopia is impressive. So is that fact I was never run over) so that I’d never see my reflection in shop windows.

But nothing changes a disabled person’s sense of self like another disabled person. I am a painter, and in 1995, I was invited to join a group of artists, writers and performers who were building disability culture. Their work was daring, edgy, funny and dark; it rejected old tropes that defined us as pathetic, frightening and worthless. They insisted that disability was an opportunity for creativity and resistance.

Losing Their Clothes, Finding Themselves

Stephanie Thomas stared down the video camera, steeled to shed her clothes and share her deepest insecurities with a roomful of strangers.

Her audience at Zen House on the Lower East Side of Manhattan had arrived late last month for an open call to participate in a YouTube project called “What’s Underneath.” It was organized by Elisa Goodkind and Lily Mandelbaum, the mother and daughter who are the fashion impresarios behind a multimedia venture encompassing StyleLikeU, a popular website, and its offshoots on YouTube — and most recently, a book. Its message is explicit in its title, “True Style Is What’s Underneath: The Self-Acceptance Revolution.”

Self-appointed style-world evangelists, Ms. Goodkind, 59, and Ms. Mandelbaum, 27, gently prodded their subjects to talk about the emotional struggles and idiosyncrasies that underpinned their fashion sense. They aimed, Ms. Mandelbaum said, “to encourage people to value the things that make them different, even the things that they might hate about themselves — they’re what make you unrepeatable.”

Ms. Thomas, who is 47 and works at Trader Joe’s, seemed to have gotten the memo.

Ms. Goodkind asked Ms. Thomas when she last cried, and urged her to peel off her leggings. She obliged. Reduced to her brassiere and rose-tinted panties, she recalled that a recent visit to her former home in Baton Rouge, La., brought her to tears. “I was missing the sense of community,” she said. “You don’t find that much here.”

What was her favorite body part?

“My boobs are my favorite and least favorite,” she said, unabashed. Sure, her sizable breasts often drew unwanted stares. “But I love them, because they’re mine.”

Deft at pushing emotional levers, Ms. Goodkind, a former fashion stylist, and Ms. Mandelbaum, a documentary filmmaker, pressed on, encouraging visitors, some of whom had responded to online invitations — others who had simply wandered in from the street — to step to the makeshift stage, strip off their clothes and, with them, psychic inhibitions. The filmmakers’ ultimate goal is to showcase diversity in its myriad forms: racial and ethnic backgrounds, gender or sexual orientation, age and size. That last was of particular relevance to Ms. Mandelbaum, who struggled with her weight as a teenager.

“My mother was less accepting of my body at the time,” she recalled, adding quickly that Ms. Goodkind began changing her tune when the two began their project nearly a decade ago.

Essential Items for Men Who Love Fashion

Working as a stylist when I was younger allowed me to meet all different types of men who made fashion a priority in their life. It was always clear who took care of their appearance and put more thought into their clothes and who just threw on the first thing they saw and walked out the door. I obviously needed to give more guidance to the later but still had to work pretty hard to get the ones who had their own look to step outside of their comfort zone. After years of working in the industry I started to realize even though every man had his own styles, there were a few things they all had in common. Here are the essential items you should own if you are a man who loves fashion.

A Well Fitted Button-Down Shirt

It does not really matter if you dress up on the regular or have a casual atmosphere at work that allows you to wear jeans and sneakers daily. Every man should own a well fitted button-down shirt. Not just a button-down shirt but one that fits you properly. It is very common for men to buy a shirt that does not fit them properly because it feels more comfortable. Make sure the arms and torso are both long enough but not excessively. Some of the highest quality shirts for the lowest prices are at Charles Tyrwhitt.

Versatile Casual Sneakers

Today’s generation of sneaker freaks has really changed the perception of sneakers in general. What used to be solely for athletic wear, can now be worn in fancy restaurants, to the nightclub, and even to formal events and weddings. Brands like Vans, Supreme, and Nike are just a few of the names you see on some of these higher end casual sneakers. The reverse has also happened, where higher end luxury brands like Louis Vuitton and Yves Saint Laurent are now making sneakers as well. Get yourself a pair that is versatile and can be dressed up or dressed down depending on your outfit.

One Good Suit

Even if you only wear it once every few years, a good suit can go a long way. The occasions for which it is necessary are usually the ones that you need to make a really good impression, so having it on hand will be a lifesaver. If you do not own a nice tailored suit you might be stuck wearing something that fits poorly and makes you look unprofessional. There are plenty of different retailers, just make sure you know your size before you go, otherwise they can measure you at the tailor if you buy one that needs adjustments.

A Pair of Black Jeans

Lastly, every man should own a pair of black jeans to complete their wardrobe. Black jeans are another item that can be dressed up or dressed down to wear no matter what type of look you are going for. There are plenty of retailors selling a variety of styles so I am sure you will be able to find something you like if you look around.

A Beauty Product’s Ads Exclude the Black Women Who Use It

Last week, the hair-care line SheaMoisture faced a powerful customer backlash. The offense was a series of online video clips that highlighted the versatility of the brand’s shampoos, conditioners and styling aids.

One clip features women discussing how much they struggle with their hair. Some of the women are white; the only non-white woman prominently featured in the clip is very light-skinned with loosely textured curly hair. The ad encourages women to reject “hair hate” and “embrace hair love in every form.”

When the video was released on social media, SheaMoisture’s black customers revolted. Social media users with huge followings, many of whom have provided years of free advertising for the brand, criticized it as marginalizing their loyal black buyers in an effort to attract white women.

Understanding SheaMoisture’s target market is critical to understanding this backlash. The brand has long been marketed to black women with “natural hair” — hair that is not chemically straightened. For black women, the choice to “be natural” is simultaneously private and extremely political. It shouldn’t matter what black women do with their hair, but racism means that it matters a great deal. Deeply ingrained bias against black women’s natural, unstraightened hair has tangible effects on women’s lives. Lighter-skinned black women and black women with straighter hair are more likely to marry than other black women. Black women with natural hair have been subject to discrimination at work and in the military.

When black women bought SheaMoisture products, they were rejecting powerful stereotypes about black women’s hair as inherently unattractive. Unwittingly or not, SheaMoisture was part of a political project for black women, helping us resist harmful biases about our natural hair that circumscribe our choices and well-being.

One Model, 41 Beauty Looks

In the past month, the American model Cara Taylor walked 41 runways across the four fashion capitals — each with a different hair-and-makeup look. “This time, there was more of an emphasis on natural beauty,” she noted, instead of the “no-makeup” look that actually requires gobs of products. “At some shows, they put on a tiny bit of foundation, and that’s all.” Backstage, she learned that to keep lips moisturized, “you should use lip conditioner and not Chapstick, because Chapstick is mostly a protector,” she shared, a tip worth keeping in mind year-round. Here, Taylor’s season of beauty looks, in pictures.

Working to Disarm Women’s Anti-Aging Demon

A couple of years ago I had a light bulb moment. So many women color their hair to cover the gray. Many resent the effort and expense, and it’s a major way in which we make ourselves invisible as older women. When a group is invisible, so are the issues that affect it. Suppose the world saw how many we are, and how beautiful, I mused. Suppose we morphed together, in solidarity: the Year of Letting Our Hair Go Gray! It would be transformative!

I posted the idea on my This Chair Rocks Facebook page. I got a ton of blowback. I deserved it. “You go first,” was one notable comment, so I did, bleaching my whole head. (I keep part of it white, partly as an age-solidarity dye job and partly because I figure no one believes the brown is real.) Mainly I learned an important lesson: Who was I to be telling women how they should look or what they should do? To each her own. We each have to age in our own way on whatever terms work for us.

One thing we can all agree on, though? Aging is harder for women. We bear the brunt of the equation of beauty with youth and youth with power — the double-whammy of ageism and sexism. How do we cope? We splurge on anti-aging products. We fudge or lie about our age. We diet, we exercise, we get plumped and lifted and tucked.

These can be very effective strategies, and I completely understand why so many of us engage in them. No judgment, I swear. But trying to pass for younger is like a gay person trying to pass for straight or a person of color for white. These behaviors are rooted in shame over something that shouldn’t be shameful. And they give a pass to the underlying discrimination that makes them necessary.ession with the way women look is less about beauty than about obedience to a punishing external standard — and power. When women compete to “stay young,” we collude in our own disempowerment. When we rank other women by age, we reinforce ageism, sexism, lookism and patriarchy. What else we can we all agree on? This is one bad bargain. It sets us up to fail. It pits us against one another. It’s why the poorest of the poor, around the world, are old women of color.

We’re Living in the Golden Age of Contouring

With light and shadow, it’s possible not just to accentuate your features — but to reshape them.

Makeup lovers are a flighty species, enthralled by millennial pink one day and grungy black-plum the next. Look more closely, though, and two tidy camps emerge: One consists of peacocks who treat their faces as Technicolor canvases; the other of faux naturalists. But they are united in one respect — both share an obsession with the architecture of the face.

Contouring — using darker shades of concealer or foundation to create dimension and a more defined facial structure — had long been employed by makeup artists, but five years ago, the technique went mainstream, and was soon followed by the rise of the complementary practices of strobing (applying light, often shimmery shades on the higher planes of the face) and baking (applying a thick coat of powder on the cheeks to set makeup and neutralize harsh angles). This isn’t so much the season as it is the era of face architecture. On the runway, it was most recently found at the summer couture shows — at Dior, there was no makeup at all but for the slightest hints of highlighter, while at Margiela, the models wore multiple layers of highlighter, their skin glistening with an otherworldly sheen.

Achieving this sort of chiaroscuro can seem an artful and even artistic pursuit, one that transcends mere vanity. But the real reason contouring has become the essential makeup language for our age is that the process was born for the screen, and what is our current era but one lived through, and on, the screen? Think of Marlene Dietrich, an early beneficiary of contouring as a tuxedo-clad cabaret singer in the 1930 film “Morocco,” her cheekbones announcing themselves beneath the tilted brim of her top hat. Without high definition or color, Hollywood’s early makeup artists didn’t need to worry whether their work might appear clownish offscreen. Even so, Max Factor sold a version of the look to the masses with his full coverage Pan-Cake line and contouring tutorials. (Today’s equivalents include brands like Becca, known for its highlighters, and Anastasia Beverly Hills, whose contour palettes are best sellers at Sephora.)

Contouring fell out of fashion in favor of a more self-consciously “natural” look, but in the ’80s and ’90s, the trend was revived by drag queens, who used professional stage makeup brands like Ben Nye, Kryolan and Mehron to both soften masculine features (strong jaws, pronounced brow bones), and create feminine ones through copious strobing, which can have a plumping effect. Elements of drag culture have since trickled down into the broader culture: Along with false lashes’ popularity and the sequined packaging of star makeup artist Pat McGrath’s line of coveted pigments, the most significant development is how profoundly we’ve succumbed to the promise of transformation. No longer do you have to do the hard work of accepting the face you’ve been given — now you can just reshape it. On her website, the British makeup artist and cosmetics company founder Charlotte Tilbury offers a video tutorial on just that. She recommends applying a pale line of concealer down the center of the face and then patting sculpting powder along either side, describing the effect as “a little bit like virtual surgery.”

Of course, the ability to become someone other than oneself has always been both makeup’s appeal and its threat. Witnessing Asian women use contouring to whittle down their noses, for example, inevitably leads to questions about what was wrong with their noses in the first place. The aim, crushingly, can be to look white. Or not: In June, Kim Kardashian West promoted her new Crème Contour and Highlight Kit with pictures of herself looking especially contoured and extremely tan. Accusations of blackface ensued. Among other things, the case was a reminder that with architecture comes architectural integrity — however skilled the renovator, the bones of the structure must be respected.

Multidimensional Lip Looks Inspired by Our Favorite Metals

Fact: Multidimensional lips are in. With muted neutrals and natural nudes taking a back seat to disco-worthy glitter and megawatt metallics, we’re game to put just about any color or finish on our lips—the bolder, the better.

Here’s another fact: Jouer Cosmetics just released a limited edition collection, and if you’re into mesmerizing metallic lips, it should be right up your alley. Along with highlighters and an eye shadow palette, the Skinny Dip Collection includes warm, luminous shades of the brand’s cult-favorite Long-Wear Lip Crème and Lip Topper. Lip Toppers are especially useful when whipping up unique lip looks—they layer easily over other colors, adding a hint of shimmer and a comfortable, glossy finish.

Considering our love for a good molten-metallic lip, we had to take these shades for a test drive. Keep reading to see how we designed three multidimensional lip looks, inspired by our favorite metals.

You’ll need:

  • Long-Wear Lip Crème in Pamplemousse (warm gold with a metallic finish)
  • Lip Topper in St. Tropez, (limited edition peachy pink with a shimmer finish)
  • Lip Topper in Skinny Dip, (sheer golden nude with a shimmer finish)
  • Lip Topper in Tanlines, (metallic bronze with a shimmer finish)


Choosing the Right Glow Palette

Highlighters, luminizers, and illuminators: it seems like every day another glow-giving palette arrives on the scene, claiming to lend our skin the most flattering and radiant glow yet. And while all the choices are exciting, the seemingly endless options can lead to confusion (and very light wallets). How do you pick the best highlighter palette for you?

To make sense of it all, we decided to round up some of the Beautylish community’s fan favorites. Whether you’re seeking a super-subtle, natural sheen or you want to outshine a disco ball, here are the best glow palettes for every taste and style.

For a barely-there glow

Maybe you’re just dipping your toes into the whole highlighting thing, or maybe you just prefer a glow so subtle, your skin could have made it. For those who want an understated glow, look no further than Kevyn Aucoin’s The Neo-Highlighter, a highlighter palette that’s actually all three shades of the brand’s cult-classic The Celestial Powder blended into an ombré design. These powders are so finely milled, the shimmer particles are almost imperceptible—they melt into the skin for a soft, sheer sheen that mimics the look of flattering light hitting your cheekbones.

For a dewy, youthful glow

If Charlotte Tilbury isn’t the first brand to come to your mind when you think of a dewy, natural look, hear us out. Her cult-beloved Filmstar Bronze Glow truly delivers when it comes to recreating the soft, youthful radiance of freshly moisturized skin. The palette’s highlighter powder has a supremely silky texture that seems to blur imperfections—sort of like a soft-focus filter that brings out the best in dull or dry skin. It also comes with a natural-looking bronzer powder for sculpting, shading, and adding red carpet-ready dimension.

For a shimmery glow

BECCA has been a trailblazer in the world of highlighters, and it’s not hard to understand why. The brand’s Shimmering Skin Perfectors, available in cream, powder, and liquid formulas, have been defining the highlighting trend for years. We especially love the powder version for its buildable shimmer, leaving skin noticeably luminous without any chunky glitter. The Afterglow Palette combines three of our favorite Shimmering Skin Perfector Pressed shades (plus two mineral blushes) into one handy palette so that you can quickly customize a shimmering strobe effect.

For a bronzed glow

We get it—sometimes you want to glow like you just came back from a weekend getaway at your own private island. For those who want sun-kissed radiance, we give you a glow kit inspired by the golden beaches of Brazil. These four luminous powders come in warm-toned hues—think amber, taupe, and sandy champagne—that add a back-from-the-beach luminosity to a wide range of skin tones. Layer the shades to create the perfect lustrous warmth with a hint of tan.

For a dramatic glow

If you find yourself mesmerized by an Instagram beauty guru’s look-at-me-now glow, know that there’s probably a Natasha Denona product behind it. The makeup artist’s Sculpt Glow Palette includes two of the highlighters that launched her brand to internet fame—Face Glow Cream Shimmer and All Over Glow Face Body Shimmer in Powder—plus a matte cream highlighter that makes building a megawatt highlight as easy as layering. This is an especially great glow kit for those who like to switch between creams and powders for intense shimmer payoff.

For a holographic glow

Holographic, rainbow-inspired highlighters are cropping up more and more these days, and we’re not mad about it. The Aurora Glow Kit from Anastasia Beverly Hills brings together six iridescent powder highlighters, all infused with special reflective pigments that shift as you move. The result is an ethereal, otherworldly luminescence that can be built up or sheered down depending on your desired intensity. Mix and match the shades to create a custom unicorn highlight for any mood.