Friday Feature: Lilly Olmedo, The Red Carpet Wig Colorist
Posted: Mar 24 2017
I am obsessed with hair, Dames! Obviously you all know that. With hair obsessions comes obsessions with other’s work. When I’m in L.A., I work with some seriously talented artists. One of them is the secret behind many celebs’ wigs, and I don’t mean that jokingly, I mean that literally. So many stars rock wigs, you would have no idea! My girl Lilly is responsible for coloring a lot of them. So, I thought I would introduce her to this lovely audience and let you into the world of Lilly Olmedo.
THD: When did you know you wanted to be a hairstylist?
Lilly: I knew I wanted to be a hairdresser at a young age. At our family functions and parties I would walk around with a small suitcase full of hair combs, brushes, hairpins, rollers or any other item I could use in hairstyling. Then I would ask my parents’ guest if I could do their hair as they sipped on their cocktail and engaged in conversation. My mother tells the story of how they would all fall asleep as I played with their hair and would always wake up with some extravagant, wild hairdo.
THD: How long have you been doing hair?
Lilly: I’ve being doing hair professionally for almost 20 years
THD: Do you consider yourself to specialize in service?
Lilly: I don’t believe in specializing in one part of the industry. I personally enjoy doing it all, always putting the integrity of the hair first. I always make sure to engage and consult with the client before any service. I’ve always been a visual learner and see my job and hobby as an art form. I don’t like to proceed in coloring without knowing what the haircut would look like first. The haircut and styling is very important in color placement. I feel it’s important to know the way the hair lays, moves and is worn on a daily basis before applying your color. You need to make sure and also pay attention to the clients face, body, style, and lifestyle — how to bring out the person’s best features and how to help balance one’s beauty by placing either your layers, fringe, or highlights in the right position. This can only come from providing both services to your client.
THD: What is your approach to hair color?
Lilly: If I see someone walking in the streets, I find myself paying attention to the movement in body, hair, expressions and their surroundings. I instantly find a way that would make them shine even more by simply adding a new tone, color, treatment, cut or something as simply changing the part in their hair. I’m inspired by many things. I see color ideas in nature everyday. I often have dreams of coloring; I stay updated through fashion, art and music I try and always stay creative dabbling in many art forms. Inspiration comes from everywhere. I love to travel and always come home feeling even more inspired. With winters inspiring cool tones and the warm tints touching of a summers day or with a natures visit to the mountains its natural earth tones taking an active inspirations to my craft.
THD: Who has the been the biggest inspiration in your career?
Lilly: I’ve been very fortunate to work with many top hairstylist and have always been inspired by all of them. I now work at Goodform Salon with some of the most talented stylists, who, on a daily basis, inspire me. From stylists who have been doing hair for many, many years to up and new comers who are just getting started. It is important to always be open to learn new techniques from other stylists who are just as inspired and excited for our profession.
THD: Who was the first celebrity you worked for and what did that feel like?
Lilly: I was working with Robert Ramos over at Estilo Salon when I met and worked on my first celebrity, Bette Midler. It was such an ah-ha! moment for me for I have always been a huge fan of hers. She is an amazing woman in every way — I absolutely adore her! I’ve had the privilege of working for many celebrities since then like The Kardashians, J-Lo, Katy Perry and many more.
THD: How did you start coloring wigs? Is it a different process than a client in your chair?
Lilly: The wigs are something I do on the side. I am a full time hairdresser at Goodform Salon. The process to coloring wigs is very different than working on a client. The hair is much more delicate and very touchy when it comes to applying color on it. It can very easily turn on you if you’re not careful. What can be done with one color application on a client might take up to two or more on a wig. It’s definitely more time consuming and a delicate process. I am a perfectionist and won’t send it off unless it’s perfect.
THD: Can you let any secrets slip and let our audience know some of the clients you have colored wigs for?
Lilly: I’ve colored wigs and extensions for many celebrities. Unfortunately, I’m not at liberty to say for whom.
THD: Can you share the craziest story of something that happened that could have been awful but ended amazing?
Lilly: I had to color a couple of wigs one late night for a celebrity, which we won’t mention today, when one of them completely turned on me, leaving me with peachy orangey highlights. Needless to say I totally panicked I felt defeated and scared for I had already been working on it for hours and was in its final steps. Not wanting to mess with it anymore until I was sure of what my next step would be, I went home and that night I fell into a deep sleep from exhaustion. I dreamt of myself trying different techniques and solutions to help solve my problem. It was definitely a nightmare at first but, eventually, I found myself formulating the perfect color solutions for the wig catastrophe. I guess that’s were the saying comes from “Follow your dreams, they know the way”. The wig turned out beautiful and everyone was completely happy with the outcome.
THD: Any advice you can share to an up-and-comer that is inspired by your story?
Lilly: My advice to any up-and-comer in this industry would be: work hard and make sure you have the passion for the art of hairdressing. If you don’t, then you’re simply just cutting hair. After all hairdressing is not a job, it’s a craft!
Thank you so much, Lilly, for this inspiring interview. I love hearing the inside of another hairdresser’s mind. For all of you interested in following, sharing, visiting, or making an appointment with Lilly, you can find her at Goodform Salon, Los Angeles. 323-658-8585. IG: @lillys_cut, @goodformsalon
The Hair Dame