“Hair color is the ultimate beauty accessory,” says master colorist Sherry Ratay, salon owner, celebrity colorist, and award-winning expert. Her gift for creating natural and vibrant color for clients was recognized early in her career and since she has taught “The Ratay Way” to hundreds and hundreds of colorists and stylists across the country on behalf of Redken and L’Oreal. Today, she works with Beth Minardi hair color, a brand that agrees with her philosophy to give the power of shade creation back to the colorist. Based in Central Florida, home to her luxurious salon, Sherry also travels several times a month to Los Angeles and New York where she works at Gavert Atelier in Beverly Hills and Julien Farel on 5th Ave in Manhattan.
Tell us a bit about your background. How did you discover your calling as a colorist?
I always say that I was blessed because from a very young age I knew that I wanted to be a hairdresser. Right out of high school, I went to cosmetology school and after graduation I became an associate at a salon for a year. Working as a hairdresser was a dream come true, but I quickly realized that I needed more—I wasn’t fully satisfied just working behind the chair. I enjoyed beautifying my clients but I knew something was missing. That’s when I was approached by Redken to teach. I still remember the very first class that I ever taught and from that day forward I knew that my second calling was to inspire other hairdressers in the art of coloring hair. I spent many years with Redken and L’Oreal speaking about haircolor to other hairdressers, and for the past three years, I have traveled nationally teaching “The Ratay Way” of coloring hair. I am also a team member of the Beth Minardi Signature shades collection.
In your opinion, what makes a good hair color product? What brands do you like to work with?
Hair is composed of multiple elements but the two prominent building blocks are protein and moisture. When we brush, shampoo, style, and color our hair, we disrupt the natural fibers comprising the hair strand. This brings me to what makes a good hair color product. I work with Beth Minardi Signature shades specifically because these three haircolor lines are calibrated with phyto-collagen (protein) and ceramide 2 (moisture) to replace what has been displaced during the haircolor service. There are five basic categories or types of hair color: temporary, semi-permanent, demi-permanent, permanent, and bleach. Each of these types disrupts the natural fiber, ranging from mild to aggressive disruption. I tell my clients and students to think about hair strands as delicate pieces of fabric so that the integrity of the strands will not be compromised and will always look and feel touchable.
Many professional hair color brands have over 100 shades. Are these really necessary? How can a salon stock everything?
Unfortunately, many manufactures have way over 100 shades available for salon owners to purchase. As a salon owner myself, I do not EVER purchase all of a brand’s shades. There are a few basics that a colorist needs when creating the perfect shade, and that begins with a BALANCE of brown, blue, red, and yellow. With those tones, colorists can create the exact shade needed for each client sitting in our chairs. Let’s give the tools back to hairdressers so they can blend the perfect shade for each client sitting in their chair.
What are your three most important tips for new colorists?
- Education: Take education classes from any company that will give it to you. Give it your full attention, and take in everything thing presented, even if you don’t agree.
- Always do your homework: Do not believe everything that you are told, go back to your salon and swatch out haircolor. Ask yourself: what is this company’s gold, yellow/gold, green/gold, etc. Use this information to build your own library.
- Take risks: Success always entails failure. Don’t be afraid, just keep taking risks.
What can we do to preserve our salon color at-home?
To preserve haircolor between salon services, choose the proper regimen for your hair color, not hair, but haircolor. Minardi Luxury Color Care products have been designed with a calibrated nutrition system that features phyto-collagen and ceramide 2. The system includes: Wash and After Wash 1, formulated for hair strands with little or no disruption; Wash and After Wash 2, designed for hair that has been touched by a permanent haircolor; and Wash and After Wash 3, which offers the highest form of hydration for hair that has been treated with a high lift, bleach, or relaxer.
If you could invent any hair color product, what would it do?
When the opportunity arises, I would love to create a shampoo that delivers believable tones. Hair color fades, and unfortunately blondes, reds, and brunettes lose color intensity and shine through natural oxidation. My homecare product would customize a blend of tones into one bottle for each individual client. This will keep salon color looking healthy, shiny, and touchable between salon visits.