How This Colorist Created The Stunning Hair Dye Version of The Aurora Australis

Curated by Claudia Shannon / Research Scientist / ishonest

There's a reason witnessing the Aurora Australis is on so many people's bucket lists. Otherwise known as the southern lights, the colorful display is widely considered one of Earth's most beautiful sights. But obviously, many of us might not have the ability to trek all the way down to the southernmost tip of Australia to see it any time soon. Thankfully, colorist Kristina Cheeseman can take that melting pot of green and blue shades and turn it into a hair color that's every bit as alluring.

Cheeseman tells ishonest that this client wanted a look inspired by one of her favorite World of Warcraft characters, resulting in this unique mix of colors. "We broke this process into two separate appointments," she explains. "[At] her first appointment, I lightened [then] gave her a shadow root and a deep conditioner; the second appointment was a few days later when I applied the finished result and took photos." The two combined appointments took around 12 hours.

If you've ever had a brightly colored dye job, you know just how quickly its pigments can wash out. That said, this complex mixing of hair colors looks awfully hard to maintain. But Cheeseman says her goal for this look was to give her client something that will fade well over time. To do that, she used a coloring technique called magnetic melt so the black, dark blue, green, neon yellow, and white dyes blended seamlessly into one another. "I lay hair [sections] on top of each other and use the last section of hair I colored as my guide," she says.

If you're looking at Cheeseman's work and already scrambling to find your hairstylist's contact in your phone, heed her advice. In order to achieve such vibrant colors, Cheeseman says the hair needs to be lifted all the way to a light blonde shade, which might not be a reality for certain clients. "Depending on your hair-color history, this might not be doable [or] this might take several color service appointments," she says. "Be open with your stylist about your budget and your maintenance."

You might, however, be able to agree on a similar look with your stylist that's more in-tune with your hair-care and financial needs. If you wind up with a similarly bright green, blue, or yellow hue, pay extra mind to the way you wash your hair and the product you use to do so.

"I recommend a color-safe shampoo and conditioner, [and] I also recommend a co- wash to use most of the time," Cheeseman advises. "Limit your washings and make sure to use cooler water. I like to make sure that when my clients wash their hair, they are focusing more on washing their scalp and less about washing their actual hair."

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Now, see what it's like to bleach your hair for the first time:

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