Sep 17, 2015

Q&A with Chad Kenyon: Formula Tips, Direct Dyes with No.2, Etc


Name: Chad Kenyon
Specialty: Hair Colorist & Balayage Artist
Salon: Benjamin Salon (West Hollywood) Melville Pipino Salon (NYC)
Location: Los Angeles & New York City. Additionally, I visit my clients every 90 days in Mexico City, Monterrey Mexico & Panama

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When did you first start doing hair? LITERALLY when I was 5 years old. I used to kidnap my sister’s Barbie Beauty Salon and I used the blue eye shadow to paint Barbie’s hair.  I loved Barbie’s blonde hair but, even then, I knew it needed some dimension…something special. I also used my moms make up brushes instead of the Barbie makeup brushes because I didn’t like the way the synthetic eyeshadow pad painted on Barbie’s hair. It’s amusing for me how I behave the same today with my balayage clients. I change up the balayage brush to match the product I’m using and/or to be perfectly compatible with my client’s hair texture.

What/who are your hair inspirations? I pay close attention to girls who are confident in themselves. These are the girls and women who exude style and share their confidence and flare with the world in a very “sophisticated coquette” fashion.  I also, was originally inspired by my sister Monica’s hair when we were little. We LIVED in the swimming pool and Monica’s hair was a natural medium blonde but by July her face frame and tips were bright glistening blonde just perfectly toasted from the sun. Those memories of my sister’s summer sun kissed hair inspire me now on a daily basis.

In contrast, I look to the culinary world and nature for formula inspiration. My clients hear me talk about things like “pralines & creme balayage”, “blonde ala vanilla milkshake with golden sprinkles”, or “toffee blonde”.  Those descriptions come from my core–my inner color nerd and I’m proud of it!

How long have you been using Olaplex? Dean sent some to the salon about a year and a half ago. I immediately got my hands on it and started playing (aka CREATING 😉 and reported back to him. Obsession from the start!

How does Olaplex help you step out of your comfort zone when approaching a color correction?  Before Olaplex, I would have had to politely turn some new clients away due to highly compromised hair. This patented chemistry now allows me to do stand alone treatments and PREPARE the hair by restructuring it.

What is your favorite go-to color formula? REDKEN Color Gels 10NA & 20 volume developer.  I use this for nearly all my base breaks (smudges) as well as for softening eyebrow color. You want to watch this as it’s FAST so be ready to rinse to avoid unwanted warmth. I stick to a level 10 regardless of the level I want to achieve because I know that with 10NA I won’t darken any of my balayage.

What are some of your favorite Olaplex transformations?

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Do you have your own personal tip when using Olaplex? I now perform Olaplex Stand Alone treatments on ALL of my new clients at the consultation. Why start off any other way? …think about that.

Anything tips you have with Olaplex beyond the label? I do mini treatments with Olaplex No.2 after I rinse each section or subsection of balayage.

For my direct color girls (on platinum blonde …I’m loving Joico right now) I do the first step of the Stand Alone treatment (No.1 + H20) on the towel-dried blonde hair  & then I mix the No.2 in with the “DIRECT DYE” & apply everywhere OR I balayage it in depending on the texture I want the color to have.

What advice do you have for hairstylists trying to make a name for themselves on social media?

1) Let your personality come through on Social Media. Potential clients are looking for skill as well as someone who gets their “vibe” so convey your vibe as well as your work.
2) Ask permission before posting a before photo…clients come to you to look and feel better so they may not want to expose their “before” shots.  I am not a fan of doing before and after…but they’re fun from time to time.
3) Be consistent.
4) Use an Instagram account that is 98% work and 2% personal. Exposing tiny well-selected glimpses into  your personal life can tell your perspective clientele who you are as a person.
5) Give credit where credit is due. Share the spotlight with your colleagues by tagging them. The Cyber Universe will repay you for being nice to others.

How did you grow your social media following? Being active on Social Media is an inherent part of my business. I’m not ashamed to say I say that I approach Social Media with the same dedication and joy as I do my color and balayage. Yes, I have a degree in Communications/PR so that explains part of it BUT a clear understanding of our current beauty-business landscape, should make it clear why Social Media plays such a big role in my business.The hair colorist that expects her/his salon to supply them with clients is setting herself/himself up for failure and resentment. Whether we’re salon employees or freelance, WE are personally responsible for keeping OUR chair full. Yes, Social Media requires consistency but that is exactly what allows us to build on-line relationships; which may turn into client/colorist relationships (income) OR colorist/colorist relationships (knowledge) OR colorist/press relationships (visibility).

We’re lucky to have you as an Olaplex Ambassador for the spanish language markets! What are your goals as ambassador? 

I am having so much fun taking “Mission Olaplex” to the Spanish-language world. I’ve always felt at-one with Spanish-speaking cultures, both the Iberian and Latino. I lived in Madrid, Spain for 16 years and that’s where I started doing a ton of bleach and tones on club kids in the 90s. Now I get to travel, doing what I love with Olaplex! #OlaplexSiempre

My objectives as Olaplex Ambassador are to nurture our rapidly growing global community by sharing experience and tools and facilitating the exchange of ideas and observations within our community. Eva Holz and I just started a hot new Spanish speaking Olaplex Users group on Facebook. It’s called Olaplex Usuarios en español, link below!

It is essential that all of this be done by always coming from a place of love and artistry. Never from fear, superiority or ego-based self-righteousness. As evolving artists and “caretakers” to our color clients, we need to always be H-O-W Honest, Open and Willing (aka Present, Teachable, Fearless).


Follow Chad on InstagramTwitterFacebook, and YouTube @COLORbyChadKenyon!

Chad’s English and Spanish videos can be watched on the Official Olaplex App available for iPhone and Android.  You can also find him on the Official Olaplex Users group on Facebook for Olaplex support in Spanish here.

Watch our entire Olaplex Education video with Chad, here!

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