The top 10 salons for pastel and rainbow hair colour in Toronto
The top salons for pastel and rainbow hair in Toronto make unusual hair colours a specialty. Somehow, the trend for hyper-unnatural hair colour hasn't yet faded, making the leap into fashion-world legitimacy via famous heads like model Charlotte Free, Nicole Richie, and even Helen Mirren. All of this is much to the joy of people who spent their high school years longingly eyeing the tubs of Manic Panic at Shoppers (including yours truly).
In Toronto, there are tons of places that can add a zip of Crayola colour to your cut, but there's a difference between having some semi-permanent colour kicking around and having the products and skills to create a vivid, long-lasting, multi-dimensional shade. These salons and colourists have a rep for delivering some of the best, boldest colour in town.
Here are my picks for the top salons for pastel and rainbow hair in Toronto.
Don't let the Yorkville location turn you off - this salon has a rep for friendly, down-to-earth staff. They're also masters of a "mother-of-pearl" hair technique, pioneered by haircare brand Davines - check out the subtle rainbow effect on local fashion writer Alyssa Garrison. Pricing for the "flamboyage" technique varies.
Just east of Lansdowne on College, this gallery-turned-salon takes a painterly approach to colour. Recent greatest hits include vibrant-green ombre and subtle greyish-lavender streaks; check out their Instagram for more recent examples. Full colour starts at $65.
Nico and Anthony, the proprietors of this modern, massive Ossington salon, have been doing psychedelic colours on Torontonians since the Electric Circus heyday of the mid-'90s. (Nico himself is known to rock a rainbow of hair colours.) They carry a range of colours and permanence levels - and are willing to research something if they don't have it already. Bleaching and colour starts at $65.
Loft Hair Lounge
At Richmond and Bathurst, Loft (not related to the salon just around the corner on Queen) turns out head after head of attention-grabbing colour: In the past few weeks alone, they've done popsicle-hued ombre, silver with imperceptible pink highlights, and screaming fire-engine red. A single-colour, full-head application starts at $65.
It's been open for almost 20 years, and Coupe Bizzarre has still held onto its reputation for cutting-edge cuts. The West Queen West salon turns out Technicolour dye jobs on the regular (check out this recent Pride-worthy look). Colourist Courtney is their fantasy-shade specialist; they deal mostly in semipermanent dye, starting at $75 if you're looking to do streaks or patches and going up from there.
Distinct Hair Salon
For all its homey atmosphere, this cozy salon tucked into the Village on Maitland turns out some pretty edgy stuff; colourist Kenickie is a local fave for ombre-pink, pastel-purple and Crayola-yellow looks. Colour starts at $115.
The anything-goes vibe of this easygoing salon on Harbord extends to their approach to colour - including rainbow streaks and some unbelievable cotton-candy-like styles. Pops of colour start at $65, with layered double-process shades going up to $100.
Colour Lab 12
This Rosedale salon is dedicated exclusively to colour - including the wacky ones. They won't fix your roots, and they won't strip old colour out of your hair, but they will give you bright green bangs or jazz up your existing colour with a blue ombre. Their ever-changing rotation of fashion colours starts at $60.
Bob + Paige
On the Danforth, Bob + Paige do some out-of-the-box things with colour; some of their creative looks, featuring delicately-placed streaks and panels, have even placed in Goldwell's annual colour competitions. A full head of colour starts at $70, while highlights start at $110.
At this rock-and-roll salon on Roncesvalles, colourist Sarah turns out unicorn-pink streaks, violet ombre and Sailor Neptune-worthy all-over turquoise. "Creative colouring techniques" are $120 and up.
Did I miss your favourite? Add it to the comments.