Celebrity Colorists Share Their Star-Worthy Formulas

Colorists Tracey Cunningham, Sonya Dove, Nikki Lee, Rona O'Connor, George Papanikolas and Marie Robinson give us the scoop on the formulas that can make your client look like a member of the A-list. 

Chrissy Teigen Hair

Chrissy Teigen

Colorist: Tracey Cunningham for Redken

Behind the Color: “Chrissy is the ultimate bronde inspiration,” enthuses Cunningham. “Especially in the summer months, I love her look with a little more of a shadow root to make it feel lived-in and beachy. It also requires less trips to the salon while still looking fresh.”


Highlight: Flash Lift + 30-vol. Pro-oxide Cream Developer Balayage (Ends Only): Flash Lift + 40-vol. Pro-oxide Cream Developer

Gloss #1: Hairline: oz. Shades EQ Gloss 08N + oz. 09NB + 1oz. Shades EQ Processing Solution (Leave on for 10 minutes.) Shadow Root: oz. Shades EQ

Gloss 07N + oz. 07NB + 1oz. Shades EQ Processing Solution (Leave on for 10 minutes.)

Gloss #2 (Global Application): 1oz. Shades EQ Gloss 09G + 1oz. 08C + 2oz. Shades EQ Processing Solution (Quickly apply and rinse.) 

Sophie Turner Hair

Sophie Turner

Colorist: Sonya Dove for Wella Professionals

Behind the Color: Sophie Turner wanted to transition from a champagne blonde to an ice blonde last summer, and the result is Dove’s favorite color look for the actress “because it makes her blue eyes look so vibrant and bright,” she notes.

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Natural color: Strawberry blonde

1. On regrowth, apply the following formula: Koleston Perfect 9/18 + 20-vol. Welloxon Perfect Developer. Highlight with “foiliage” technique using Blondor Soft Blonde Cream and 20-vol. Welloxon Perfect Developer along with Wellaplex Bond Maker No 1. followed by Wellaplex Bond Stabilizer No. 2.

2. Perform a Pure Glossing service with Koleston Perfect 10/1 + 10/8 + 6-vol. Welloxon Perfect Developer + Service Color Post Treatment.

Tip: For in-between tone refreshing and conditioning, use Color Fresh

Penelope Cruz Hair

Penelope Cruz

Colorist: George Papanikolas (@georgepapanikolas) for Matrix

Behind the Color: “Penelope’s hair was previously very dark,” notes Papanikolas. “She wanted high-contrast highlights, but her biggest concern was brassy tones. I made sure to keep the highlights strategic so that they would pop against the dark base, and also needed to be sure to go past any orange while maintaining the integrity of her hair. The gloss blends and gives a soft, sandy finish.”


Base: ColorInsider óoz. 5N + óoz. 5A + 1oz. 20-vol. ColorInsider Developer

Hairline: ColorInsider óoz. 6N + óoz. 6A + 1oz. 20-vol. ColorInsider Developer

Highlights: 1:1 Light Master + 40-vol. Cream Developer

Gloss: Color Sync Sheer Acidic Toner Nude + 10-vol. Cream

RELATED: Professional Colorists Share Their Favorite Blonde Techniques


1. Apply Base color when hair is fully dry.

2. Apply Hairline formula.

3. Apply Highlights formula, delicately focusing around the crown and face frame, with large backcombed slices taken in-between hair. Apply “V” shapes in the backcombed slices. Process to a golden blonde. Use a conditioner to help remove backcombing.

4. Lightly cleanse with Keep Me Vivid Shampoo.

5. Towel-dry hair at the shampoo bowl and apply Gloss formula. Let sit for ! ve minutes.

6. Lock in color with Total Results Keep Me Vivid Color Lamination Spray, rinse, and then style.

Anne Hathaway Hair

Anne Hathaway

Colorist: Marie Robinson

Behind the Color: “Anne is a chameleon in her lm roles, so her looks are always changing,” explains Robinson. “When she gets into a character she generally prefers to change her haircolor or style, and stays away from wigs. Whether it’s for her personal life or her craft, I have loved every look I’ve done for Anne—but this dark golden blonde is one of my favorites.”

1. Make sure the base is dark enough for contrast next to fairer skin tones (like Hathaway’s) to avoid a washed-out look. Here, the depth is a Level 7 neutral brown using Wella Professionals Illumina Color.

2. Add several layers of highlights. Begin the first layer with high-lift color Levels 11 or 12 in foils. This will add the lighter golden glow on the base while avoiding too much contrast.


3. Add the second layer of highlights, paint with hair lightener at the sink, and focus on mid-lengths, ends and around the face.

4. Finish with a Level 9 or 10 honey blonde gloss to blend the colors and bestow shine.

Debra Messing Hair

Debra Messing

Colorist: Rona O'Connor

Behind the Color: “Debra almost always maintains what’s known as her classic red shade—it’s her standard,” says O’Connor. “The color looks so reflective, whether she wears her hair curly or smooth.”


Overall Color Veil: 10ml. Goldwell Colorance ​9KG + 5ml. Goldwell Colorance 8G + 5ml. Goldwell Colorance 8K + 40ml. Goldwell ​Colorance Lotion

Color Boost: Goldwell Pure Pigments 4 drops Yellow + 2 drops Orange + 1 drop Red (Mix immediately, then apply evenly from roots to ends on shampooed, towel-dried hair.)

*Process for 15 minutes. Rinse.

Emma Roberts Hair

Emma Roberts

Colorist: Nikki Lee 

Behind the Color: Lee affectionately calls this rooty blonde shade “sunrise blonde,” as the color reminds her of a sun peeking out from behind a hill.

1. Highlight the entire head using Joico Blonde Life Powder Lightener with 20-vol. LumiShine Developer. (Lift a bit darker than pale yellow.)

2. At the shampoo bowl, take a darker color and smudge the roots so the highlights don’t look stripy. (Used here: Joico LumiShine Demi-Permanent Liquid 6N + 5-vol. LumiShine Developer.) After approximately 5 minutes, run LumiShine Demi-Permanent Liquid 9NV + 10SB with 5-vol. LumiShine Developer through ends.

3. Process for about 10 minutes, rinse, and then seal with Joico Blonde Life Brightening Masque.


[Images: Courtesy of artists; Getty Images]


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