Daniel Moon has a keen eye for color. The proclaimed king of bleach and color has created some of the most mesmerizing hair colors we’ve seen on our Instagram feeds. From radiant reds to gorgeous greens, Moon has made a major case for vibrant hues. Celebrities like Kid Cudi and Kristen Stewart are only a few of the notable clientele Moon services, but you don’t have to be an A-lister to get a vivid makeover from the colorist. A quick visit to Moon’s salon Hair in Los Angeles, California allows everyone the chance to get the lite-brite hair of their dreams. His artistry has even attracted the attention of Reebok, who released an eye-catching shoe collaboration with Moon in 2021. Mane Addicts sat down with the colorist to learn all about his creative process, the color transformation he’s proudest of, and so much more. Read our exclusive interview with Moon below!
Mane Addicts: How did you get your start as a colorist?
Daniel Moon: Color was always interesting to me and I consider it, somewhat, my destiny. I went to cosmetology school after serving in the Marines. I assisted for two years and then joined the team at Andy Lecompte. He had just opened his shop, and I heard from a friend that all these great stylists were working there. This was before social media, so our networking really came from having strong friendships with other hairdressers and producing the best work. It was a great breeding ground for education because it was an open space and you could watch your favorite hairstylists create amazing looks—there was nothing but good hair coming out of the salon.
Everything changed for me when I experimented with rainbow colors for the first time. At the time, the only vivid color lines out there were Manic Panic, and for professionals, Pravana, which had less than 10 colors with no pastels in their line. So, the palate was limited, and the colors bled if you didn’t rinse them properly. I had to develop all sorts of new techniques just to be able to create those first multitone pieces. I would wash strand-by-strand to not bleed the color—no one had ever seen rainbow hair until I did it this way and created this rinsing technique—because the colors bled before then. It was like picking up a pencil for the first time, there was a story that I had to write.
In 2018, I opened my salon Hair in Los Angeles. Our goal is to create well-rounded stylists. Our stylists can handle bleaching, vivids, naturals, creative looks, and different textures and styles. We want to serve all people and all hair. Opening my own space wasn’t just about hair color, it was about the vibe of where I was doing the hair. The music that’s playing, the art that’s on the walls, and the conversations and connections between clients in the space, all play a big role in the salon. We like to set up an environment where people enjoy talking to each other and can get away from their phones and work for a bit. We strongly believe in the specialness of salon culture. Clients make friends with other clients and even collaborate—we’ve seen the space become a meeting ground for a really special group of people in Los Angeles.
MA: Where do you draw inspiration for your color?
DM: I’m currently drawing color inspo from record album covers. Every decade has something to learn, but what’s not to be forgotten is the early 2000s. Britney Spears’s Britney cover is vibrant with colors that would look tight in hair.
MA: Can you tell us more about your technique?
DM: When it comes to bleaching, I freehand and brighten up pieces with a second application of foils. I always have a free hand for coloring. Gradients are smoother and you can see what colors look good next to each other. It’s good to feel the color when pressing it in the hair. I can tell if a custom color needs more pigment as soon as it touches the strand.
MA: Are there any clients you won’t see, like if the hair is over-bleached?
DM: I take on every client both as a challenge and to continue my education. I always call more high-risk clients in for a test strand to see what we can do. I’ve taken clients who are consistently box-dying their hair from dark to blonde, and even under those circumstances, there are still possibilities.
MA: Is there a color transformation that you’re most proud of?
DM: I love when hair color reinvents how people see a person. Zoë Kravitz did it best when she went from long platinum to a short platinum pixie. Collaborating with Nikki Nelms for the look was a game-changer, and one for the history books.
MA: What would you say to someone hesitant to try a vibrant color?
DM: Start with a pastel. It’s a subtle transformation that will leave you wanting more. Baby pink, peach, and coral always fade out nicely, too. They also are a great way to introduce yourself to the positivity that comes with having a vibrant color. The world will see you differently and you will see yourself differently—there’s a fun opportunity in what you can do with that change.
MA: Do you have any tips for keeping up the color?
DM: To maintain a vibrant or pastel hair color, I have my clients pop in for a refresh in between root touch-ups. It’s also really important to invest in good products and make sure the shampoo and conditioner that you’re using don’t take away the color faster than you’d like.
Does all this talk of vibrant colors have you itching to give neon a try? HERE is what colorists what you to know before dyeing your hair a neon hue!