Sometimes when I’m doing Jennifer Lopez’s hair late at night and I know she’s recording, I’ll put a base colour in her hair while she’s singing. I once applied highlights for Courtney Love while she was in a bath tub… you can’t make this stuff up.
Tracey Cunningham, Olaplex International Ambassador
Few people can count Jennifer Lopez, Ellen and Portia or the Kardashians among their closest friends.
Fewer still possess the passion, tenacity and prowess of Olaplex International Ambassador Tracey Cunningham.
From travelling the world tending to some of the most sought after tresses in the celeb-sphere, to touring with Olaplex as an International Ambassador; this petite dynamo is a star in her own right.
We caught up with the renowned celebrity colourist to chat hero clients, inspiration and the magic of Olaplex.
TJ: What first inspired your passion for hair/colouring?
TC: I was a nanny for Bette Midler’s daughter Sophie and when Bette’s regular hairstylist couldn’t do her hair for some reason, I’d step in and style her. Truth be told I had been colouring and styling my high school friends’ hair and doing my mum’s hair since my early teens. Bette said to me “Tracey you’re too good with your eye for beauty to just be my nanny! I’m sending you to beauty school!” And that was the beginning of my career… just like the movies. As a kid, I always liked doing hair; it was something I always knew that I wanted to do.
TJ: You’ve worked with a number of high profile clients and publications; how were you first introduced to the world of session styling?
TC: It all happened very quickly. One of my dearest friends in LA, who is now suffering from awful ALS, was one of the biggest publicists in Hollywood – everyone was her client. I did her hair, she loved it so she’d refer me to her amazing roster and before long I was pretty much the ‘go to girl’ for colour… I also give a pretty good blowout, so I’d be a go to stylist for those too. One of my first clients was in fact Portia de Rossi – she’s an Australian blonde!
TJ: How have social platforms such as Instagram changed your approach to work/client base?
TC: Social media has brought me so much closer to my peers and fans all over the world… It’s such a great and amazing connector and a terrific educational tool, if used correctly.
TJ: What brings you to Melbourne? Talk us through your involvement at this year’s Hair Expo.
TC: I love Australia so much; you guys have a great hair scene and air is very important to Australians. This is my first time visiting Melbourne! I’ll be promoting the amazing world of OLAPLEX and the launch of our NEW No. 4 Bond Maintenance Shampoo and No. 5 Bond Maintenance conditioner!
TJ: Tell us about the new No. 4 Bond Maintenance Shampoo and No. 5 Bond Maintenance Conditioner… and the ‘3-4-5 system’?
TC: I’m so excited to launch No. 4 and No. 5, the verbena mint scent alone is delicious, and the results it gives to your locks are amazing. There’s nothing better than giving your clients an at home maintenance system. The duo is devised as part of a ‘3-4-5 system,’ a three step Olaplex take home haircare regimen used in collaboration with No.3 Hair Perfector to repair, strengthen and protect the hair, for tangible salon-fresh results. We don’t have these products in the US yet, Australia is getting it first!
TJ: Tell us about your role with Olaplex; what first drew you to the brand?
TC: I fell in love with Olaplex from the first moment I tried it. When I first discovered Olaplex it was a few years ago; I’m given so much product to try and potentially promote. Tubes of Olaplex were put on my salon counter for me to use and try. They came from a very reputable person who I had trusted and admired, so I went home and tried it for a couple of weeks. I tried it in my salon on clients and employees and I was blown away with the results.. I rarely get blown away! Olaplex completely won me over.. it’s really given hairstylists super powers!
TJ: In your opinion, who is the target Olaplex client?
TC: Everyone is an Olaplex target client. No hair discriminations! Every client; every service.
TJ: Where is the strangest place you’ve coloured a client’s hair?
TC: Sometimes when I’m doing Jennifer Lopez’s hair late at night and I know she’s recording (she puts everything she has into it, it’s amazing to watch her work in the studio) I’ll put a base colour in her hair while she’s singing. She has zero time! I once applied highlights for Courtney Love… while she was in a bathtub. You can’t make this stuff up!
TJ: What’s your ultimate hair hack?
TC: I have Olaplex No.3 Hair Perfector in my hair at all times. Pop it in after washing your hair, leave it in a bun and your hair’s good to go.
TJ: What advice do you have for young stylists looking to follow in your footsteps?
TC: Advice I give to everyone in all beauty fields is EDUCATION! That’s the key, you can never stop learning. I certainly don’t!
This article was first published as Stardust in Issue 3/2018 of The Journal.