If you’ve ever wanted to dye your hair a vivid shade of coral, neon green, ice blue or even all of those at the same time, then Erin Murphy is the Hair Colourist you want to know. A naturally creative spirit, Erin regularly mixes up rainbow magic for her long list of loyal clients at Style Lab in Coal Harbour, using the skills she mastered in Blanche Macdonald’s Hair Program.
But Erin wasn’t always planning on becoming the highly sought-after Hairstylist she is today. Though she’s always had a passion for beauty and expressing herself creatively, she initially had her sights set on Makeup artistry — not hair.
I enjoyed hair so much more than makeup, especially hair colour. I'm just really interested in the creativity of it.
“Originally, I studied makeup, but I didn’t do much with it. I ended up working in an office job, which I didn’t love.” She shares. “I hate sitting in front of a computer all day. I’ve always been really into doing hands-on, creative and artsy stuff like that,” Erin says, explaining why the 9-5 life wasn’t right for her. “Funnily enough, when I was younger, maybe 14, my friend was like ‘Can you give me a haircut?’ I don’t know why. I’d never done it before,” she laughs. “After that, I’d always do my friend’s hair and makeup.”
So when it came time to say goodbye to her office job, Erin used the creative outlet of her teenage years as a road map. “I was like, I’ll go back to school and do hair. Then I can do hair and makeup together for weddings.” But then, once in the Hair Program, she discovered something unexpected. “I enjoyed hair so much more than makeup, especially hair colour. I’m just really interested in the creativity of it.”
This burgeoning love of colour made perfect sense for Erin. “I wear a lot of colour. It’s a big part of my personal style. Plus, I’ve always been into vivid shades for my own hair.”
The timing of Erin’s colourist journey worked out beautifully too. “I started at Blanche about eight years ago. That’s when vivid hair started to become more mainstream. So I feel like I kind of started it at a good time. But the main reason I fell in love with colour is that I just really, really love artsy stuff.”
Her time in the hair program truly solidified Erin’s newfound passion. “I really loved the hair program. The instructors are so helpful. When I decided I wanted to do things like fashion colour and rainbow hair, the faculty was super supportive. Whenever someone came into the salon that wanted purple or pink hair, they would give it to me. I loved Jeff and Marcy. Those two were my favourite instructors. They really helped me develop my skills and grow.”
I really loved the hair program. The instructors are so helpful. When I decided I wanted to do things like fashion colour and rainbow hair, the faculty was super supportive.
With all the support and encouragement from her instructors, Erin was ready to take on the hair world at Juju Hair Lounge. “They were really good with helping me get clients for what I wanted to do. It started off with offering promos and getting models in my chair because I wanted to build my portfolio and post photos on my Instagram. Eventually, I got a lot of clients.”
Eight years on, and Erin is still in love with the hair of hair — and colour. “It’s super fun! I always wanted to be creative and have fun doing something that’s hands-on,” she gushes. “You’re always like working with different people. I have hair clients that I’ve been doing their hair the whole eight years and I’ve become friends with them. I used to be super introverted and quiet. Honestly, I’m so much more confident and comfortable being around people now.”
Practice a lot! ...Find models or friends to work with and give techniques a shot.
For Erin, the gamble to start in a new, creative field paid off in spades. Beyond her lengthy list of clients, her magnificent hair creations have been featured in Allure and Teen Vogue. But by no means is she done growing in her colourist career. “I just want to branch out! Lately, I’ve been thinking about extensions. Over the past few years I’ve just been focusing more on colour,” which Erin explains she still loves. “Hair trends go in waves. Extensions were really popular a few years ago, then it kind of petered off and now they’re like really in again. I’d love to give them more attention.”
Want to follow in the expert Hair Colourist Erin’s footsteps? Well, you’re in luck – Erin has advice for Hair Colourists in the making. “Practice a lot! Watching stylists, even just on Instagram. Find models or friends to work with and give techniques a shot.” Erin also emphasizes the importance of training and ongoing education. “There’s always something new to learn!”