In 2017, food-inspired hair dye was all the rage. But Kansas-based hair colorist Ursula Goff has found her groove creating looks inspired by nature and art — and her work is so impressive.
A quick scroll down Goff’s Instagram page reveals a grid of bold and pastel colors that she uses to mimic sunflowers, rainbows, minerals, crystals, and even art masterpieces. The hair professional told INSIDER that she finds inspiration nearly everywhere, and also credits her clients for giving her a lot of creative freedom with their hair and offering up their own inspiration. She said that this “allows for a lot of opportunities to do unique or experimental work.”
In addition to sharing her expertise on her website with tutorials that you can pay to watch online, Goff shows off her hair color creations on Instagram, where she has amassed 101,000 followers with her mesmerizing looks. Take a peek at some of our favorites below.
“My clients give me a lot of creative control,” she says. “I see things all the time that I’d love to do, so I set [inspiration pictures] aside until I have a good opportunity to utilize them.” Goff says she was surprised at how popular her posts have become given the unusual color schemes, but positioning the inspo photo right next to her clients’ after picture helps people appreciate them.
“With the hot springs hair, [my client] told me she definitely wanted gold this time with maybe some blues or purples,” Goff explains. “So, I dug up probably about 15 inspiration photos to work from and we collaborated until we found a concept she really loved. We were thrilled with how striking the outcome was.”
For Goff, almost anything with eye-catching color can trigger an idea for her, including fabric and clothing, food, paintings, insects, or dreams she’s had, and then, she executes the idea.
From feathers, to sparkly rocks, to galaxies, to rainbows, she has a hair dye to reflect almost any color in nature.
“This [rainbow] look developed from an idea I got while flying home from a trip — as I watched the sunset over the clouds from my window seat, I began formulating an idea that consisted of smoky-colored clouds combined with brighter sunset shades. I actually took photos and sent them to [my client] as soon as my plane landed.”
For more of Ursula’s mesmerizing hairstyles, click here.
“Colors and patterns are what pique my interest, especially unusual color combos or patterns you wouldn’t normally think to put on hair,” says Goff. “If I see something that is very visually pleasant, I automatically start working out how I could do it on hair. Sometimes the translation is very literal, like with the hair paintings I’ve done, but other times it’s more conceptual and not completely obvious what the inspiration is.”
So where does she get her ideas? “I save photos that catch my eye, in addition to taking my own photos as inspiration, too. Sometimes my clients [will] send me images that get me thinking and looking around for ideas. I also lay in bed at night mentally going through different placements and patterns and visually imagining what different effects might look like,” says the colorist. “[But] then sometimes I just wing it and come up with a concept on the spot or even while I’m in the middle of working. It’s a pretty flexible and organic process for me most of the time.”
To create such abstract colors, Goff typically uses dyes from a wide variety of brands, like Rusk, Pravana, and Manic Panic, but the stylist notes a not-yet-released Matrix color collection as a favorite at the moment. “I’ve been able to play around with some new stuff that Matrix will be releasing soon and I’m pretty excited about it…the saturation is fantastic, so I’ll definitely be experimenting more with [them].”
Goff’s key to achieving most of her recent work is understanding the art of layering different shapes of colors into the hair. “This gives a variety of effects; done one way, it can look very digital and pixelated, but done other ways, can look very abstract and expressionist.” For colorists looking to create more intricate looks like her poppy flower-inspired hair color, she recommends simply painting the dye onto the hair just as you would paint on a canvas. “I use paintbrushes for details, and understanding color formulation is especially important. They can sometimes take a bit of planning if [the client] has a lot of lighter tones,” says the colorist.