Colorist In the City: A Day In the Life of Rachel Flores 

California-native turned New York hair guru, Rachel Flores has been a part of the ARROJO family for nearly a decade. Inspired by art, architecture, and fashion Flores is a Master Colorist –– talented, technically precise, creative, and trend-conscious. With infectious passion for color and texture, she is a renowned educator, and a specialist in corrective color, American Wave, natural and sun-kissed looks. We caught up with Flores to discover more about her life as a colorist in the city, the latest color and texture trends, and who she looks to for hair inspiration.


Rachel, what first brought you into hairdressing?
My mom is a hairdresser and my grandfather is a barber back in California. Originally it was not my first choice but it fits my lifestyle. When I was 25 I tried a few different careers; I realized I missed being in a salon, having grown up in one. 
So you’re from California? What brought you here?
I was inspired by the city, diversity, and culture. I like the lifestyle, it’s different from growing up by the beach. I was ready to come out here and be independent. 
From apprentice to master stylist, tell me about your journey at ARROJO –– how have you grown?
I’ve had a lot of mentors to shape and guide me, which set an example for what kind of career I wanted. The apprenticeship is like an incubation process—when you find a mentor to connect with, it helps you along, because it’s a hard apprenticeship. You have to want it bad to do it. 
Now I’m a mentor. It’s rewarding to now be mentoring people like Seema and Noelle who have tons of talent, and bright futures. 
Hairdressing is such a creative craft. What inspires you
Earlier in my career the hair scene in the city inspired me. There is so much opportunity here. Yet part of my journey was realizing I was not into things like Fashion Week. It doesn’t drive or inspire me. I’ve honed my craft and my craft is creating color and texture for clients, which I love. 
Texture has become such a big trend. We have the American Wave Service and the American Wave Hair Care Line. Why do you think texture has become so big?
The generational gap plays a big part. Young people didn’t experience the bad perms of the 80’s, so they have no fear of getting texture. They look at American Wave Services with fresh eyes. They don’t picture that light socket, electrified hair. 
I’ve had American Wave in my hair for the last 4 years and I absolutely love it. Lifestyle-wise, it’s easy. We’re in New York. We want wash and wear because we are busy. I don’t brush my hair. I air dry, put in Glint Texture & Shine Spray, shake and tousle, and that’s it. 
Speaking of lived in hair looks, what’s the difference between ombre and hair painting? Do people often get those two confused? 
People think they are synonymous. An ombre is a type of look; hair panting is the technique that you can use to create ombre. An ombre describes the melting and the placement of the color to scale from dark to light; hair painting is a highlighting technique. 
Has this always been around? Why does it feel like it’s such a hot topic right now?
It’s been around since the 70’s. We only started using foils in the 90’s—now we all associate highlights with foils.  
The 2008 economic crisis helped ombre and balayage come back into style because it’s an economic way to color your hair. It grows in really well, it looks natural, and you don’t have to touch it up every 4 weeks. It’s a bible technique that is going to be around forever.  
What is something you wish people knew before coloring their hair?
I wish more clients knew what they wanted before coming in. It is fun to work with a client in the consultation to discover what will be best for them, but I love a people who come with reference photos or can show me their inspiration. It helps me to paint the picture in my mind before I paint it onto the hair!
Also, occasionally, the client expects a huge change in one sitting. It would be nice if there was more understanding of what is achievable. Ultimately, though, that’s my job –– to give my best professional opinion on what will be best for each client. 
What is your favorite American Wave Hair Care product?
Easy, Glint! Elixir is amazing too, that’s my second. With Glint, I get texture and shine without weighting my hair down. It’s as if ReFINISH dry shampoo and Shine Luxe Oil had a miracle little baby. 
What do you see is the next color trend? 
Khakis and beiges are my inspiration this year. I have a double process which I overtone to a much darker shade to get a beige-inspired matte tone. I think it’s a cool look right now. A lot of clients are asking for similar shades. 
And for my last question, who is your hair inspiration?
Cara Delevingne. Her double process –– rad. I’m getting there. Give me a few months! 
Rachel has been featured on Racked as a top NYC Colorist. She also is a stylist for some of the top fashion/beauty influencers such as: Amber Fillerup ClarkHelena Glazer HodneKeiko LynnNicolette Mason. Rachel is a Master Colorist at ARROJO Studio SoHo. For appointments, please call: 212 242 7786.