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If you’ve noticed hair has been getting a lot more colorful in the past few years, you’re not alone. Pink, purple, blue or orange hair is no longer just for rebellious teens and rock stars.
Hair dye brand Good Dye Young has been riding this wave of popularity, and helping to drive it. Launched by Paramore lead singer Hayley Williams and her longtime hairstylist Brian O’Connor in 2016, the brand has been making its way into the biggest national retailers as it experiences double-digit growth. In addition to being stocked at Target and Walmart, it will launch in-store at Ulta Beauty on May 8.
Williams and O’Connor join this week’s Glossy Beauty Podcast to talk about the new launch and all things hair dye. They also discuss the history of the brand and Williams’ iconic Riot orange color, the way they’re working to break down stigmas about colorful hair, their creative hair inspirations and their salon in Nashville that they opened last year.
Below are a few highlights.
On the Ulta Beauty expansion:
Williams: “The fact that [Ulta’s] accessible and that they’re in all these different places that so many different types of people in so many different cities across the country can get to, it’s really, really special for us as business owners, because it feels like, ‘Man, we did something right.’ We’ve gotten to this place where we do have retail partners, and this is a really big deal, and especially for them to believe in the brand enough to basically to open at all the stores on day one.”
The history of the famous Riot orange:
O’Connor: “The very first product that we worked on for Good Dye Young was Riot. And that was because, for so long, I would get so many fans of Hayley’s, of the band [asking] what I used on her.
I held off on telling anyone what my formula was or what I was in or mixing. And so when we started to work on Good Dye Young, when she came to me and said, ‘Hey, I really want to create a hair dye line, but I can’t do this without you,’ I was like, ‘Look, this has to be Riot.’
I feel like without that color, there would have been no Good Dye Young to begin with, because that’s what started our relationship. It was great press. That’s how everyone opened every interview about the band: Hayley was the ‘fiery-haired, flame-haired singer.’”
On the mainstreaming of vivid hair color:
Wiliams: “[Bold hair color] used to be so frowned upon, and there are definitely situations or circumstances where it still is. And Brian and I really want to battle that stigma. With Good Dye Young, we want to make a statement with our business — not only give people products, but also to show that this is a lifestyle for people. … And it’s also a matter of personal freedom to express.
It’s much more a fashion accessory than it’s ever been. It’s much more accepted in wider circles. You can open any fashion magazine now and see Marc Jacobs ads or even runway shows where there’s always at least one model with a fashion color or a vivid color or a streak or a strand, or accessories in their hair, which we’re also promoting. There’s just a little bit more room for fun and play.
But man, I’ll tell you this: You would never, ever feel the excitement around hair dye that you feel in the real world when you’re in some freakin’ investment firm’s office. There are dudes that still do not understand the value of this. And for a long time, Brian and I have tried to show that, not only have we already proven those people wrong, but [the business] is only growing and getting stronger. … It’s something that we personally believe in and that we know is so important to young people and to all people. It used to be very punk and niche, and kind of badass. And I think it’s whatever you want it to be now. It can literally suit whatever personality you are. I love that about hair style, but mostly hair color. It’s just another way to be yourself.”
On the opening of Fruits Hair Salon in Nashville:
O’Connor: “It’s a really important [for] education, hiring people, and being able to learn and grow off of each other as stylists and professionals, but also creating really cool, fun, hair looks and a safe space for everybody. Because at the end of the day, Fruits really isn’t just about great, really fun hair or beautiful hair, crazy hair. It’s also about feeling like everybody is welcome.
It’s a safe space for anyone who doesn’t identify as norm. I think that’s really important because as a gay man who has spent 20 years growing up in the South, but came from Michigan, it was very jarring how religion was used as a weapon of warfare instead of a weapon of love. And so I still find it very astonishing as an older man. … Hopefully we’re educating each other not just on the hair, but just how to be really good human beings to each other.”