“I was eight years old and I liked all the hair dos on the show Charlie’s Angels. My mom was so pretty and I wanted to try all the current hairstyles on her,” says Tracey Cunningham, owner of the classy salon in Los Angeles and one of the most highly sought after colorists working today. Tracey wasn’t in the hairstyling business from the very beginning. In her 20s, she was working for a PR firm in LA when she was offered a job as Bette Midler’s nanny. “Bette would always have someone come over and blowout her hair,” recalls Tracey. “One night, she had to go to an awards show and didn’t have anyone to blow it out. She asked me to come over and blow out her hair and she liked the way I did it. She thought I should pursue it further as a career path and paid for my beauty school.” After graduating from beauty school, she assisted at Art Luna’s salon as part of her formal training and she considers her and Robert Ramos as her mentors.
While styling a high profile client for the Oscars or the Grammys, it’s not just the hairstylist’s job that can create magic on the red carpet. “When I am coloring clients’ hair, sometimes the designers get involved,” explains Tracey. “They want the colour to look good for the dress. Sometimes, even for a photo shoot, the photographer will come and have a meeting with the stylist about it.” Some of the celebrity tresses that Tracey has worked on include Jennifer Lopez, Drew Barrymore, Gwyneth Paltrow, Kate Beckinsale, Charlize Theron, Jennifer Garner and Cameron Diaz.
What are some easy and healthy tips that she recommends for healthy hair that protects your hair colour? “Olaplex and less shampooing during the week,” lists Tracey. “Heat styling can damage the hair. A really great tip for preserving hair is rinsing your hair in cool or cold water. Hot water opens the hair cuticle and is a lot likely to fade color faster. Cold water closes the cuticle allowing hair to retain its colour for a longer duration of time. A closed hair cuticle also reflects more light allowing the color to look its best.Using a good shampoo and conditioner like Color Extend by Redken also goes a long way.”
When asked about the highlight of her career, Tracey says, “I am so blessed and I have so many highlights in my career, Masha’Allah! The tipping point of my career came after 10 years of it. With a good following, I was happy that I was maintaining my clientele and that I wasn’t going to be the flavour of the month. Now it has been 20 years, and I am happy to say that maintaining my clients all these years feels good. That’s success to me.” Tracey would be pleased to meet you and style your luscious locks if you decide to fix an appointment with her at the Belle Femme Beauty Salon, Dubai.
• Redken Satinwear blow-dry lotion
• Ibiza round brushes.