August 21 2014

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Bleach London Dip-Dyes Its Way Across The Pond


While New York showgoers may still be mourning the loss of the taco bar at Milk Studios a few seasons back, the West Side venue has a new collaboration up its sleeve for Spring. Bleach, British hair colorist Alex Brownsell and her partner Samantha Teasdale’s hip London hair haunt, will open its TIGI-sponsored pop-up on the first floor beginning today. After moving their homespun operation out of Brownsell’s flat and into a space in Dalston a year ago, the salon’s special brand of lightening, then tie-dyeing, ombré-streaking, and dip-dyeing locks has become a hit with U.K. cool kids like Alison Mosshart, Florence Welch, Pixie Geldof, and Alice Dellal. Now, Bleach has its eyes set on Manhattan. “We’ve really only come because people asked us to. We get so much attention here,” says Brownsell, who is also on the hunt for a permanent location.

Along with the custom-blended “stains,” as she refers to her preferred mix of nonpermanent high-pigment dyes and vegetable dyes that impart that coveted “worn-in texture,” visitors to Bleach at Milk will also benefit from Brownsell’s know-how, which has a wunderkind quality to it. “I didn’t train at a salon forever. All of my techniques are kind of from the kitchen, so I use my hands a lot.” She’s also very ready to suggest colors that complement individual complexions—and those that don’t. “If someone has a cool skin tone, you can’t put a bright orange with it because they’ll look green.”

While you may be tempted to just follow the lead of Kate Bosworth and the like and embrace the dip-dye trend that just won’t die, there are some new, as-yet-unproliferated ways to get your color on, too. “We’ve been doing a lot of pastel highlights, so painting people’s regular highlights with pastels—and colored fringes. I think people are getting a little more daring about putting the color at the tops of their head instead of just on the tips,” Brownsell says. The range of options is limitless, really, which is why Brownsell and Teasdale enlisted photographer Matt Irwin to shoot a ‘zine of sorts showcasing what exactly they’re capable of. “We’ve done two now,” Brownsell explains of the super-saturated, “not a cheesy hair magazine” shown above that debuted at Bleach’s Topshop pop-up-turned-permanent installation in Oxford Circus earlier this year. “The London one was a lot of cool girls we know. For New York we actually did the casting on Facebook,” which resulted in a mix of stylish scenesters, including singer Sky Ferreira and DJ Chelsea Leyland. Whatever you do, just don’t pick pink. “We did a lot of that in the beginning. At the moment people are doing mint green.”

Photo: Matt Irwin / Bleach