Meet the king of Ombre… Celebrity Hairstylist, George Papanikolas

January 19
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I know the Ombre trend came out a few years ago, but Ombre hair has never been much hotter than now – obviously only if done right. Personally, George Papanikolas and Tracey Cunningham are probably the only two names who really got it absolutely right. I speak to man behind Khloe Kardashian, Mila Kunis and Kim Kardashian’s (to name a few) manes on how he got into the industry, his thoughts on Middle Eastern hair, hair color and his BIG plans for Dubai.

Make sure to book in at Belle Femme Salon for his next visit as they get booked FAST.


-How did you get into the hair industry?


I had an interesting route into the hair industry.  My mother originally saw my passion for hair, and suggested that I go to Cosmetology School when I was 15.  There was a program at my high school where you would leave school early to take classes, and by the time you graduated you would have your license.  I didn’t listen to her because I had bigger plans for my future.  I attended Business School at the University of Souther California, and had a corporate job for about 5 years before I went for my real passion.  I had a chance to be around some very famous hairdressers, and got a chance to see them have enormous success, traveling with celebrities, having fabulous lives all while doing something they loved.  That’s when I decided to go to Beauty School, and although it has taken a lot of work, it was something that has been really easy and natural for me.


-You have worked with the most important names in Hollywood. What has been your most memorable experience?


My most memorable experience has to be traveling with Britney Spears as her personal hair dresser for the Circus tour.  It was an incredible experience being involved with such a big name star, and getting to travel the world.


-Having worked on women in the region both in Dubai at Belle Femme and in LA, what is the common hair mistake you see recurring?


With hair color the biggest mistake I see is that people try to do very drastic changes from their natural color.  Hair color and highlights should enhance your natural color.  That means, the most flattering tones will be close to your natural color.  The universal rule is your base color should be within 2 shades of your natural, and your highlights within 4 shades lighter than your natural.  Any time you try and break those rules and try and go even lighter, you end up with brassy orange results and damaged hair.


-What should we be doing to maintain great hair color?


Color safe shampoo, and regular conditioning treatments are crucial.  Any time you color and highlight your hair you are compromising the cuticle, so it’s very important to keep it healthy and moisturized.


-You recently turned Kim Kardashian into a blonde. What tip do you give women who are planning on going for a drastic color change?


Do it in stages so that you don’t damage your hair.  If you plan on doing a drastic change like Kim’s, you need to start with healthy, almost virgin hair.  If you hair is damaged to start, a drastic change will make it worse.   If you have a lot of artificial dark hair color on your hair, then I don’t recommend doing a drastic change like that unless you are ok with lots of red and copper tones.


-There’s been talk that you are partnering up with Belle Femme for an exciting salon opening in Dubai. Do share more…


Belle Femme as well as the Middle Eastern community has been big fans of mine and Jen Atkin’s work.  We see major opportunities in Dubai, and have had a very positive experience as guest artists to Belle Femme in Dubai, and are currently in talks with a possible partnership.  More details are to come later!