Color Outside the Lines Winners Share Their Inspiration

Our 2017 Color Outside the Lines winners set their creativity free with their beautiful, unique works of art. Just how did our color champions tap into their inspiration to take the top prizes? Read on to discover how they created their winning submissions:

Kim Gordon, Roswell, GA – Best National Grand Prize Winnercolor-outside-the-lines-kim-gordon


“My inspiration came from the colors of Mardi Gras and what each color represents: Purple represents wisdom and dignity; green represents harmony, growth and freshness; and yellow is for sunshine! As you can remember the tragedy behind Hurricane Katrina (August 29, 2005), this was a time where a city full of laughter and fun suffered a huge loss! During the process of recovering what was lost and finding family members, our country was able to come together as one and start the rebuilding process of the city!”

Tina Greene, Irvine, CA – Best New Talent Grand Prize Winnercolor-outside-the-lines-tina-greene


“I was really excited for this technique because I have been wanting to do a graphic placement inspired by Mark Rothko’s artwork for some time. Seeing the mood boards provided for the Color Outside the Lines contest, I immediately thought of Rothko and wanted to create something really special with both as a strong influence. My model Michelle was the perfect canvas, and a definite source of inspiration for me as well. With openness for a complete transformation, I was able to tailor everything around the color. I chose a strong cut, a round graduation, as the foundation for such a graphic placement. With such strong features coming to play, I wanted to balance those out with a softer color choice. Inspired by the more delicate pastel hues in the sunset scene, I was able to bring these graphic dreams to life. I would consider this placement to be a block color placement focused on the fringe.”

Technique and Formula on model with a level 3 with previous lightening at a level 9-10

Prep: I used Synchro Lift with 20 Volume Cream Developer to lift her regrowth to a level 9-10. I did not tone before applying the POP XG® in the following shades: Peachy Keen; equal parts Yellow with Instant Moisture® Conditioner; equal parts Yellow and Orange with Instant Moisture Conditioner; and one part Blue to two parts Instant Moisture Conditioner.

Apply: You need to blow dry and smooth the hair into its natural fall because color placement is dependent on the finished style. Taking the fringe area, from the apex to the front of the ears, clip away for control. Apply Peachy Keen to all but the fringe. Utilizing a visor, apply to the forehead of your model.

Taking 1/8″ sections, color the first two or three sections depending on density (the hairline) and color with Peachy Keen. Cover with another visor. Taking the next 1/8″ section, color from the base to about 1.5″ from the ends with Peachy Keen, then color the remaining ~1.5″ with the Orange mixture. Repeat the previous step until you hit about halfway up the size of the full fringe section.

Begin to add in the Yellow mixture onto the base, working your way up each section until the width of Yellow mixture is about 2-2.5″. Continue to paint on Peachy Keen through the midshaft and the Orange mixture about 1.5″ through the ends in each 1/8″ section. When you get about halfway through the Yellow mixture placement, start adding the Blue mixture in between the Orange mixture and Peachy Keen (the blue should look more like an abstract brush stroke compared to the Orange and Yellow. To achieve this effect, dab the tip of your tint brush onto the hair as opposed to sweeping it on.

You should have a small triangle above the Yellow placement that hasn’t been colored. Continuing to take 1/8″ sections, paint that triangle Peachy Keen, while following through the ends as follows: Yellow, Peachy Keen, Blue and Orange. You will use the previous section as a template to color as you follow through the fringe. The aim is to create distinct differences between all of the colors—you do not want them to be blended. Allow to process for 15-20 minutes.

Finish: Rinse with tepid water, rinsing the fringe first and the rest to follow. Dry and style as you did before coloring.

Maria Agafonova, Russia – Best International Grand Prize Winnercolor-outside-the-lines-maria-agafonova


“I was inspired by the beautiful spectrum of pastel colors I found in a cold Russian sunset above the icy Siberian mountains. The very soft pastels of the sky and very powerful winter mountains are a combination I interpreted on my model’s hair.”

Technique and Formula on model with a natural level 6: Prep: I did a Paul Mitchell Platinum Card technique and used SynchroLift Powder with 20 Volume Cream Developer. I applied 1″ off scalp, allowed hair to process with foils for 20 minutes then applied the same formula (fresh mix) on the roots and all over to process another 30-40 minutes.

Apply: I isolated a triangle-shaped section on the back (starting from 1.5″ down the apex) to create the sunset pastels. Tone with Flash Finish Icy Blue Violet + 5 Volume Developer all over (except triangle) and process 10 minutes.

Divide a big triangular section into 11 small and equal narrow triangles (approximately 1/5 inches in width). Apply the six INK WORKS formulas that follow, as shown in the graphic. Process for 20 minutes with heat (precise ratios are hard to describe, as I created unique formulas based on visual results in the bowl).

cotl graphic

1: White + Purple (starting on both sides)

2: White + Purple + Blue

3: White + Purple + Hot Pink

4: White + Hot Pink

5: White + Hot Pink + Yellow

6: Yellow (right in the middle)

Finish: I ended with Forever Blonde® Shampoo and Conditioner and (my favorite) Awapuhi Wild Ginger® MirrorSmooth® High Gloss Primer as a styling product.

Thinking about what you would do for your chance to win 2018’s Color Outside the Lines? Click here to read more!

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