MEET OUR AMBASSADORS: CHAD KENYON
Chad Kenyon is an international colorist based out of the Ramirez Tran Salon in Los Angeles, California. Apart from being a talented artist, he’s an inspiring individual with a compelling story to tell. Meet Olaplex Ambassador, Chad Kenyon!
What did you do after beauty school? Did you assist or go straight to the floor?
I have a very unconventional history to being a full-time HairColorist, at least in comparison to my friends and peers that are Colorists in LA & NYC. I started painting Barbie Beauty Salon’s hair with blue eye shadow when I was 4 years old– “Barbie Balayage”. As a child, I was obsessed with COLOR. I was very serious about the color palette of my bedroom (neutrals then, neutrals now with lots of “Dior Gray”.
My Dad would take me hunting at 3:30am in the middle of the winter and I would sit in the forest and rather than look for deer I would observe the different tones of color in the trees, shadows, leaves. I would pay close attention to how colors would change as the sun came out. I would sit all day with layers upon layer of clothing in a tree stand at below-freezing temperatures, just observing the color of the leaves, the tree bark, the color of the snow, how, it went from early-morning black-and-white to full on vibrant color then back to a dimmer more sepia sunset with warm peachy sky tones just before nightfall.
I experimented with my girlfriends’ HairColor in high school coloring their hair with anything I could get my hands on: pharmacy peroxide, Sun-In, you name it. Then in college I would do my friends’ color but always in a very secretive way. I subconsciously attached being a hair colorist with being gay and unbeknownst to me, I suffered from Internalized Homophobia; which I personally think all gays suffer from to varying degrees. I later realized my shame and worked through it to a point where I am a proud gay man and proud HairColorist.
I did my senior year of college in Madrid, Spain where I lived for 16 years. It was there where my passion for coloring hair pushed me to make life changes. I was doing bleach and tones for club kids and really teaching myself what worked and what did not work…A ton of trial and error (thankfully“pre-social Media 😉 I returned to the US in 2008 where my whole life shifted: I got sober from drugs and alcohol, learned to love myself and went straight into hair coloring 100% with no distractions. I fine-tuned my skills, I lost any sense of shame and fear and I really started to absorb, create and deliver. That whole transition led me to the place I am today. It gave me my career, my husband and my physical, emotional and spiritual health.
Living in Los Angeles, I am surrounded by friends and colleagues that became talented colorists by assisting some of the great names in the business. I was always embarrassed to admit that I was self-taught. I am forever grateful to some amazing Balayage artists that helped me to hone my painting skills but I never had that 1-on-1, 2-year apprenticeship that my peers have all had and I my old enemy fear creeped back into my life and I was afraid of sharing that I had not assisted one of the greats. That thankfully changed when I became friends with one of my biggest hair stylist idols; Orlando Pita. During our first conversation and much to my surprise, he openly shared with me that he is indeed a self-taught hair stylists and just like the I saw the beauty in my reality. We all have our own unique path.
Favorite things to do in LA?
Anything with my husband.
Who are your hair icons?
Orlando Pita, my fellow Olaplex Ambassadors hands-down, as well as Johnny Ramirez and Anh Co Tran, Deanna Beavers, Pamela Neal.
What inspired your signature style?
I originally and continually drew heavily from a striking memory of my little sister Monica. When I was 10 and she 8, I was so impressed by her natural sun-kissed hair color at the end of the summer. Her roots were a medium golden blonde but her ends and face frame were on fire with sparkle and glistening gorgeousness. I evolved this sun-kissed image by creating ColorMelt which is a hair color look that looks natural on everyone regardless of the color scheme they desire, and at the same time regardless of their ethnicity, natural hair and skin tone and facial features. So if, for example, you’re Asian and want to be blonde, my ColorMelt technique and esthetic will appear natural and becoming blending textures and tones (Balayage & Complimentary Colors) melting together to create a soft, flattering HyperRealistic HairColor.
Photo Credit: Aja Dang. ColorMelt by Chad Kenyon using Olaplex.
Tell us about the first time you got your hands on hair.
When I was in grade school, mom would have her friends over and they would all rap perms for each other in the kitchen and I of course helped out.
What advice can you give to hairdressers out there?
First, always be teachable, humble and thirsty for more knowledge.
Second, only have expectations of yourself. Having expectations of others is a setup for resentment which causes a toxic mindset. No salon owes you clients. Build your own clientele & be in charge of your career.
Tell us about your a-ha moment.
Dean and Darcy Christal had just sent Olaplex to the salon to try just days before a new client arrived with hair that a) she had been dying blue-black for five years with box color and b) had caught on fire from a candle at a party and someone tried to put the fire out by throwing a cocktail on it.
We cut the melted hair but the hair above that was in bad shape from heat and smoke damage. We hadn’t yet established the exact proportions for what is now the amazing Olaplex Stand-Alone treatment but I did mix Olaplex N°1 with water and I saturated her hair with it. Olaplex saved the day and I knew then that greatness had been created.
How has Olaplex changed your career?
Olaplex has changed my career by creating endless possibilities for me creatively. In addition, Olaplex continuously allows me to help my clients reach their beauty goals that would have been impossible for them before Olaplex; goals that help my clients feel more confident and in charge if their ever-evolving aesthetic.
Favorite look do on clients?