The Mother of Color – Annie Humphreys

Annie Humphreys began her career with Vidal Sassoon in the 1950s when Vidal bought the salon in which Annie had begun her apprenticeship. Originally a haircutter, Sassoon saw Annie’s talent, and she decided to specialize in color and perming. She created the first wash-and-wear perm, which debuted in 1967 as the Greek Goddess. As fashion exploded in London in the ’60s, Annie and the rest of the Sassoon team created looks for the top models and celebrities of the day.

For 26 years Annie was responsible for developing major color and perming techniques that were integral parts of the famous Vidal Sassoon looks. Annie was a partner in the Vidal Sassoon Salons and Schools Company worldwide. With locations in England, Germany, Canada, advanced Education Centers in Miami and San Francisco, and salons in Miami and Washington D.C., this five-foot color genius spent a great deal of time on the road.

Why is she the mother of color? First, consider the color techniques and designs you admire. Foiling? “Annie was doing foil when everyone else was pulling hair through a cap,” remembers Lucie Doughty, now Editorial Director of John Paul Mitchell Systems and a former student of Annie’s at Vidal Sassoon. Balayage? “We called it ‘Flying Colors,’” says Annie. “We did it in the ’70s when the economy wasn’t very good. We would paint two or three colors onto strategic areas. It was quick and there was no upkeep.”

There’s more. Lots more. Dimensional color; beachy blondes; clean, clear, frozen high-lifts; shine lines; primary and jewel tones; shades of pearl and slate; hair stenciling; tortoiseshell. Do your hair color history homework. Look up images from the ’60s, ’70s and ’80s and you’ll find all of the above. By former Vidal Sassoon International Color Director Annie Humphreys. Executed impeccably. Without a fraction of the color products and tools available today.

Vidal Sassoon International Creative Director Mark Hayes worked with Annie Humphreys for more than 30 years. “The influence Annie has had on the way people wear haircolor today cannot be overestimated,” he says. “Her groundbreaking techniques, product innovation and uncompromising creativity have paved the way for thousands of hair professionals, and on any street in any city in the world today, you can see people wearing hair color that can be traced directly back to Annie’s original ideas.”

When you consider all of the color innovations Annie pioneered, it’s important to understand how hair color was perceived when she began her career in the early 1950s in London. At the time, only two types of women colored their hair—actresses and ladies of a certain reputation. “We had a big clientele of ladies who worked in the night,” Annie laughs. “And not just regular ladies. Some were having liaisons with people in high places. So they were high class. They were great clients because they didn’t want to look exactly as they were born. They wanted their color to look nicer.”

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