Celebrity Hair Colorist Sharon Dorram Doesn't Get the Ombré Trend
The hair colorist to the stars shares her five-minute morning routine, the beauty product she can't live without, and more.
New York hair colorist Sharon Dorram has new neighbors. A few floors below her swanky Upper East Side salon, Sharon Dorram at Sally Hershberger, The Row just opened its first boutique. When she’s not hobnobbing with the Olsens at the mailbox, Dorram tends to the color of the Kates (that’s Hudson and Winslet), Christie Brinkley, Linda Evangelista and much of the Park Avenue set. Here, she shares her morning routine, her first beauty memory and the celebrity whose hair she saved from near-disaster.
Who was your first beauty icon?
Trish McEvoy. She taught me to stay out of the sun whenever I wore Retin-A, which will just scorch your skin. I don’t use Retin-A anymore, but I feel indebted to Trish for teaching me that lesson. I learned how to grow my business from her. She is truly one of the most generous people in the beauty business that I know to date.
What’s always in your makeup kit?
Tom Ford blush in Frantic Pink, Clé de Peau concealer, a mascara brush, Cover FX bronzer, Chantecaille Le Stylo brush eye liner, Dr. Hauschka Rose Day Cream, and Dior eye shadow.
What’s your favorite off-label use for a beauty product?
Dr. Hauschka Rose Body Silk Powder. I use it on day two after I have shampooed my hair to thicken up the roots. It acts like a dry shampoo but is much less powdery.
What’s your first beauty memory?
I used to iron my hair when I was in the ninth grade. We all wanted pin-straight hair (think Peggy Lipton in The Mod Squad), and my hair had a slight wave. What were we thinking? I also remember wearing light blue or lavender eye shadow by Revlon Moon Drops.
What was your worst beauty blunder, professionally?
When I went out on my own after assisting Louis Licari, I worked at a small salon. [Actress] Jane Alexander came to me and I put a rinse through her faded light-brown hair and it grabbed black. I was horrified and went to the back of the salon to call my friends at Salon La Coupe and asked them what to do! She was so gracious about it, and didn’t want me to feel bad.
What about personal blunder?
Right after art school, I moved into the city and went to a famous salon where I had my hair chopped off and then colored. It all happened so quickly and I ended up with aubergine hair! As I drove home I was lucky I didn’t kill someone – I could hardly keep from looking in the rearview mirror as I drove. That experience helped me appreciate the critical nature of the “right” shade of hair color.
What would you consider your “big break” in your career?
My career breakthrough started when I did my first celebrity, Barbra Streisand. She raised the bar to perfection. Soon after, I met Sally Hershberger and collaborated on Meg Ryan, Nicole Kidman and Julia Roberts’ hair. Then I met David Babaii through Kate Hudson and he introduced me to Kate Winslet and Uma Thurman. Somewhere in between Brad Pitt, Kevin Kline, Renée Zellweger, Christie Brinkley, Candice Bergen and Linda Evangelista all started coming to me.
What beauty products are currently in your purse?
I love Tom Ford lipsticks – Pink Dust and Nubile. Chanel Lipstick in Darling Pink and Lip Care by Dr. Hauschka. I also love Byredo Parfums Blanche hand cream.
What’s your five-minute morning beauty routine?
I wake up at 5:30 a.m. so I do have a quick routine. I wash my face with either Dr. Brandt microdermabrasion or SkinCeuticals cleanser in the shower to save time. Then I use C E Ferulic by SkinCeuticals, Crème de la Mer and mix it with Dr. Brandt Flexitone BB cream. Then I follow with Tom Ford blush, a bronzer, Sonia Kashuk’s blush as an accent, Clé de Peau eye concealer, Chantecaille eye liner and voila, I’m done!
If you had an extra 10-15 minutes in your routine, how would you spend it?
I would rework my hair using Kérastase mousse and Sally Hershberger’s Root Envy. Then I would focus on my body and use Crème de la Mer body cream or oil all over.
What trend do you look back on with regret?
Perms. I used to do them at the beginning of my career. I think today stylists can create great waves with a curling iron or pin curls. It is far less damaging to the hair.
What is your first go-to product or one you can’t live without?
I cannot live without Sally Hershberger’s Root Envy or Supreme Lift for my hair. For my skin, it is definitely Dr. Brandt BB cream mixed with Crème de la Mer. For fragrance, Sisley Eau du Soir is my signature.
What product do you think every woman who colors her hair should own?
A wide-tooth comb and a good detangler or conditioner.
Which beauty trend do you just not get?
I have never been a big fan of ombré hair color. I have always thought that it looks so dated and it also tends to look dirty and unfinished.
Which discontinued product or shade do you mourn?
Sally Hershberger’s Supreme Lift is being discontinued and I love it! It is too damaging for the hair if used too frequently, so Root Envy is by far a healthier way to give volume to the roots of one’s hair.
Is there a beauty professional you can’t live without?
Unfortunately we’ve had to live without the talented Fredric Brandt. I have rediscovered facials and now love Edyta Jarosz. She gives an amazing facial which is almost like having a mild Fraxel. The results leave your skin luminous.
What’s your beauty peeve?
I need to have a manicure once a week to feel clean as I work with my hands all the time. I also think smooth, fresh skin is so important. When hair is too long and unhealthy (with frazzled ends), it makes one look insecure.
Whose hair have you not colored but would love to?
I would love to color either Charlize Theron or Cate Blanchett. I think these women are strong, beautiful, and interesting. I’d love to have that opportunity.
Any favorite hair color disaster-saving stories that you’re most proud of?
Anna Kendrick came to me during a shoot with the worst disaster on her head. I fixed it and she continued the shoot where they ruined it a second time. I had to fix and rework her color. It was so beautiful in the end, a beautiful honey brown with soft golden highlights.
What are you currently obsessed with?
I had a surgery a few months ago (hardware removal in my leg). I stayed at home for 12 days and binge-watched “Homeland”…obsessively! I can’t wait to find a chunk of time to catch up on “House of Cards,” it is so decadent to stay home and binge-watch these great series. I’m also obsessed with my Peloton bike, the fastest way to recover from my surgery.
What are you feeling are the top hair color trends this summer and fall?
We are still seeing a lot of platinum blonde for people wanting to be uber-blonde and edgy this summer. There is a definite move away from ombré, as well as a softening of that harsh color edge in exchange for a more natural blonde or blonde-on-blonde look. The same is true for brunettes this summer. For fall, the trend is moving towards more opulent and glamorous shades, such as dark honey blondes and warm chestnut brunettes, all done as a single-tone single process. Think Audrey Hepburn – rich, dramatic, elegant brunettes. For blondes, we’ll see more tone-on-tone and less harsh, dramatic blonde shades.
What’s it like to be neighbors with The Row? Have you met them already? Do you get each other’s mail?
I met Mary-Kate and Ashley at their opening party. They were incredibly gracious and excited to work with me and my team. We both agree that we have a special synergy because we share the same demographic clientele. If I’m running late (which I try not to do!) it’s so wonderful to be able to send my clients down to The Row to shop. I tell them to check out the gorgeous decor by Jacques Grange (everything is for sale), the amazing jewelry by Sidney Garber, and of course The Row’s own exquisitely designed clothes. My clients love the convenience and exclusivity of being able to shop and have their hair done in one simple, chic location. And yes, our mailboxes are right next to each other, so we may sometimes get each other’s mail!