Christine Silverman Isn’t Just A Colorist, She’s A Hair Artist
“What’s one look you’d never try?” I asked Christine Silverman, colorist extraordinaire, while she painted blonde dye on my ends. “Black. I’d never do black. I like to wear black usually, so I think it’d be a bit too much in my hair.”
“Really? That’s surprising, I feel like you would have done that already—”
“I’ve pretty much done every other look except that. I’ve shaved my head, tried every color…I like to play around with my hair. I get really bored.”
I was surprised, but in the three hours I spent at Ramirez Tran, waiting (somewhat) patiently for Christine to make me beautiful, I was surprised many times. Interviewing a hairstylist is new for me—and I’ve spent a lot of time at hair salons. Over the past ten years, I too, have had every color and cut under the sun. None have ever been as successful as the highlights Christine gave me.
Christine is soft-spoken—”I don’t like big crowds,” she told me, after I gave her a rundown of my Coachella weekend—but her style speaks loudly. Her favorite designer is Margiela. She rocks a pixie cut with washed-out blue highlights, and is adorned with multiple tattoos and piercings—”I like to decorate myself, but I can’t really wear rings when I’m working, so I decided to get some finger tattoos.” She’s an expert of personal expression, and seems to just intuitively understand how to better everyone else’s.
“What’s your background? How did you get here?” I asked.
“So actually, I went to the Chicago Institute of Art, where I studied photography. I went to beauty school much later on, after I moved to Los Angeles from Ohio.”
“Do you come from a family of artists?”
“Well, none of my family does hair. My mother is an interior decorator and my father is a doctor. But I always knew I wanted to be an artist. So I went to school for art, and then after I got out, I moved back home to Ohio. After that, I worked in a mental hospital—”
I swiveled around in my chair—”You did what?”
“Yeah! I worked in a mental hospital for a couple of years. I didn’t know what I was going to do exactly after I finished college, so I actually applied to work at this place online. It was definitely an intense experience, but I learned a lot about communicating with people. The patients were generally people who had been institutionalized for a long time. They didn’t really have any filters, you know? So they would just tell me really interesting stories about themselves. It was nice to feel like just listening to them could make a difference in their day.”
“That’s kind of amazing, because being a hairstylist is totally like being a therapist. And I bet you deal with a lot of crazy people.”
She laughed, but didn’t take the opportunity to rag on clients. “It definitely gave me some muscles in that area. And it helped me learn how to read people as well.” I realized that Christine is not judgemental in the least bit. Take note, Los Angeles—Christine is a hairstylist you can trust. “I like to experiment with my own look, but on my clients, I usually go for a more natural look.”
I appreciated that. I’ve been in the process of growing out a traumatic pixie cut from two years before, and needed somebody to make me feel good about my hair again. Christine took one look at me and said, “You need to cut the shelf off the back of your hair.” She enlisted Candice Kelly to hook me up with a cut.
As I waited for the color to set in, I scrolled through Christine’s Instagram. Aside from an abundance of stunning before-and-after photos, Christine also curates inspiration posts. “I like for people to get a sense of my taste and aesthetic as well. I post pictures of fashion, photography—all different things. I love portrait photography, because it’s really interesting to see how people are captured and how much you can get from a single photograph. I love Rineke Dijkstra. And Diane Arbus. All that weird stuff. I’ve always been attracted to that side of things.”
“Do you feel like you want to find a way to incorporate art into your career again?”
“When I first started doing hair, I thought it would be important to make time for art on the side, but this definitely serves as the creative outlet I need. I can’t say I’ll never go back to photo, but I do feel really happy with what I’m doing. It’s a great way to interact with people, it’s creative…it’s the perfect career for me.”
That’s lucky for us.