She’s one of the hair world’s hottest commodities… with thousands of insta-followers, client transformations and a thriving career to show for it. A sought-after colourist in her own right, JOICO Guest Artist and Australian Ambassador: Carolyn Gahan knows a thing or two about colouring – chops she put to picture-perfect test over the course of this year’s lockdown. Here, the bubbly Canadian shares her favourite #iso transformations, key advice for colour clients, and why she partners with colour leaders, JOICO.

TJ: Tell us; what’s new in the world of Carolyn Gahan? How have you been keeping creatively inspired during the current pandemic?

CG: I must say; I’ve been enjoying the simple life with all of this down time! I’ve managed to keep on trucking outside of the salon in my little home studio. Whether it’s trying new tools or products – I’ve really come to love cutting and colouring mannequin hair.

Between experimenting on Jane (my dolly head) and the abundance of online education I’ve taken on; it’s kept a fire burning in my belly. I’m excited to get back into travelling and educating with JOICO!

TJ: Can you talk us through some of the epic hair looks you’ve been creating? And the JOICO ranges used to make these possible?

CG: If I can’t find somebody brave enough… I often colour wigs or mannequin heads. As of late, my favourite look would have to be holographic hair; I’ve been experimenting with different placement techniques and mixing my own pastel shades to create soft hints of colour.

For all of my creative colour work, my go-to range is JOICO’s Color Intensity range. With a spectrum of intermixable shades, colour can be tailored to suit just about any look or result; looks can be as loud and vibrant – or soft and delicate – as you desire.


For something more graphic, I wanted to try a bold zebra print on a shaved head. First, I pre-coloured the hair using JOICO Intensity Yellow. I next created black stripes (in a back and forth motion) using a small paint brush while trying to maintain a steady hand.

For other techniques (such as the woodgrain effect), I used a pre-made stencil to paint on JOICO Blonde Life Lightener (so as not to coat remaining hair). After this processed, I then overlaid a rainbow melt using JOICO intensity – creating a crimp-like effect.

TJ: What inspired your decision to align with JOICO as a Guest Artist and Australian Ambassador? In your opinion, what makes JOICO superior to its market competitors?

CG: Even prior to aligning with JOICO, I always found myself picking up extra JOICO supplies and sneaking them into the salon for use on my clients. At the time, I was leaving a big salon and about to go out on my own. It seemed only natural to join forces with JOICO and here we are (two years later) still creating magic!

JOICO is ahead of the game in so many ways, but what stands out the most is their education. It’s amazing to see the impact that JOICO has had on our industry. Whether you use their products or not, they are always on hand to support and motivate. It’s amazing to see the impact that JOICO has had on our industry. Whether you use their products or not, they are always on hand to support and motivate.

TJ: How does the brand support you as a hairdresser and colourist?

CG: The JOICO team provide me with support and inspiration across multiple mediums. First and foremost, we have regular conversations on the status of my business and what type of support I require. Being a JOICO Australian Ambassador – within the trade and consumer media sectors – has been a massive honour.

It has allowed me to connect with a number of global contacts and opportunities. JOICO has also assisted me with entering industry awards and building my own personal profile.

TJ: What advice do you give clients looking to make a drastic colour change?

CG: For clients looking to make a drastic colour change, the main component to consider is their lifestyle. The further you veer from your natural colour, the more maintenance it will require. Another major factor to consider is the cost. Generally, a massive colour change can take anywhere from 4-10 hours, and that often accompanies a hefty price tag.

Clients visit the salon seeking professional guidance and it’s important to have a thorough consultation about time, maintenance and budget. Aesthetic considerations include skin tone, eye colour and clothing choice – all the way through to jewellery.


TJ: How do creative colour services differ from traditional colour services – and how do you advise your clients on the process?

CG: Generally creative colour services require a two-step process. First is the pre-lightening stage (to create a blank canvas) before the creative colouring application. Depending on the length of the hair and desired look,this can take anywhere from 4-6 hours. For these types of jobs, I charge per hour without any clients in between.

The last thing that you want to feel is rushed or stressed during this long creative application. I tell my clients to bring snacks and get comfortable, because it’s a loooong ride!

TJ: How important is prescribing the right retail for colour maintenance?

CG: At-home after care is a must – especially for clients who have undergone a drastic colour change or creative colour service. For maintenance, I love the JOICO Defy Damage range because it maintains 90% colour vibrancy – and reduces breakage by up to 50%. One of the most important products in the range is the Defy Damage Protective Shield.

You only need two pumps and your hair will thank you! It’s so crucial to educate my clients on these products; I can’t offer them the colour they’re after unless their hair is in optimal condition. I always say, ‘treat your hair like a silk shirt and it will love you forever’!

Follow: @carolynjayun // @joicoaustralianz // @joicointensity