What It's Like to Have Rainbow Hair, by Irene Kim

Updated 09/23/16

In case you missed the news, Irene Kim was just named the Global Beauty Contributor for Estée Lauder, and we couldn’t be more thrilled for our monthly contributor—though honestly, we’re not surprised in the slightest. The Korean model and It girl has made a name for herself not just for her buzzy street style outfits but for her bold beauty choices, too—namely, her rainbow-colored, My Little Pony–inspired, constantly changing hair. We asked Kim to give us a little peek behind the curtain to see how the magic happens, and she was more than happy to oblige. Ahead, you’ll find out the secret to her magical strands…

Hi Byrdie readers!

My hair color has now become very much a regular routine. The first time I dyed it was about three years ago, and since then rainbow has become my trademark. I'm so used to it now that I can't really imagine myself without it. I work really closely with my hair guru, Sunwoo Kim at Soonsoo Salon in Seoul, to get the perfect color combo of ombré and gradation. Here is a quick photo diary of how I get my rainbow locks—keep scrolling to see!

Courtesy of Irene Kim

My hair has faded into pastel pink tones, which I don't mind, but tomorrow I have an editorial shoot, so I want my locks to be a bit more vivid. (Sunwoo behind me!)

Courtesy of Irene Kim

In the summer, I like doing a combo of pink and violet tones, because it tends to warm up my skin tone. These are the colors that are going to be added today: pink-pink, bubblegum, cherry pink, deep violet, blue violet, and ash purple.

Courtesy of Irene Kim

Sunwoo starts off by parting my hair down the middle and then sectioning off the parts to retouch.

Courtesy of Irene Kim

Since pink is the dominant color, Sunwoo starts by separating the top layers and applying the color. 

Courtesy of Irene Kim

He then takes smaller sections and adds violet in between to complement the pinks.

Courtesy of Irene Kim

Some ashy blue is added in the bottom layers to complement the violet tones.

Courtesy of Irene Kim

Ten minutes of heat…

Courtesy of Irene Kim

And a 10-minute rooftop coffee break…

Courtesy of Irene Kim

My color recharge is complete! An important tip to remember: Make sure you rinse out the sections separately by color so they don't bleed into each other!

Courtesy of Irene Kim

To keep your hair color vibrant, use a toning, color-saving shampoo, like Davines Minu Shampoo ($25).

Click here to see Kim’s previous column on her favorite Korean beauty products under $10!

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