If you don’t know Daniel Moon by name, you’ve undoubtedly seen the stylist’s kaleidoscopically colorful work: think Nicole Richie‘s iconic lavender locks, Zoë Kravitz’s blonde pixie, Hayley Kiyoko’s “long, luscious” blonde hair from her “I Wish” music video or the Jeremy Scott 2020 Resort show. In a sea of balayage and babylights, Moon, who found his calling after a stint overseas in the Marines, treats every head of hair as an impressionist canvas, perhaps best-known for taking Kanye West’s hair from tie-dye to pastel pink and beyond. Here, Moon breaks down his most iconic looks, the most important question he’s ever asked himself, and the hair color he wants to see more of this fall.
How did you go from the Marines to painting the hair of Kanye West, Katy Perry, and more?
My Mom would probably say by the favor of God! My Dad would say color is in my blood. He was a high-end industrial advertising printer at George Rice & Sons. He had an expert eye for color calibration, and I think that definitely helped hone the eye I have today.
Your nickname, Major Moon, is a play on “the color world and the intergalactic world.” Aside from Bowie and Basquiat, where else do you draw inspiration?
Those who have really fought for what they believe in. The attitude inspires me. Vivienne Westwood, Rei Kawakubo, Madonna and Shia Labeouf are all strong examples of that to me.
Who are some of your beauty icons?
Can you explain the process that goes into creating each unique look?
I start with a detailed conversation of what people love, and who they see themselves as. I work as a craftsman or an engineer–interpreting a change that will satisfy who I am working with. That trust allows both of us to push the limits of their personal interpretation to a new place.
A lot of your work is very intricate; what was the most challenging dye job you’ve ever done?
Every job has its challenges. Time, vision, condition of hair, process. Color, it keeps you on your toes.
Can you highlight some of your greatest hits?
Tommy Genesis’s warm blonde can be found all over the face of Fenty Beauty. Totally natural and stunning.
Flatbush Zombies. The rainbow looks for Zombie Juice. He’s our millennium’s George Clinton.
Sofi Tukker is one of the most energetic bands in the world. I’ve been working with Tukker for several years consistently shaping his marvelous mane since their first Grammy nomination.
You opened your own salon, Hair Los Angeles, last year. What made you want to take the leap to start your own business?
Understanding the importance that the environment where the transformation is happening is just as important as the transformation itself- I built HAIR, Los Angeles. It’s an amazing place because it’s surrounded by so many exciting new additions to downtown like Dover Street Market, Bavel, the new Soho House outpost, Soho Warehouse. We’re in the fastest-growing part of Los Angeles and you can feel it. At the same time, we’re able to offer and an unparalleled amount of privacy in our space. We take great care in making our clients feel attended to at all times and loves exposing them into all the amazing things that are happening here.
You also have your own line of hair glitter, Major Moonshine. Can you talk about the experience of developing your own product?
Major Moonshine was created to communicate the power of color for clients who wanted to try vivid hair for the first time. I worked hard to make a product that can be very opaque and colorful- but can be easily washed off in one shampoo to give the ability for multiple looks. For professionals it’s a dream tool as it has a lot of control- you can do tight balayage with it without the glitter migrating or do a heavy application to give you a whole other color. It took hairstyling out of the salon and allowed the masses to play with color on a very personal level.
What are your favorite hair products right now?
What are your tips for keeping bleached and color processed hair healthy?
Hydrating your hair throughout the day with leave-in conditioner and incorporating hydrating masks at home in your beauty routine like you would doing facial masks. You can incorporate masking into your routine 20 minutes before you jump in the shower- making time in your mind to restore your hair like you do your skin before sleep is really important. I also recommend Slip silk pillowcases to help relieve friction on your hair in the evening. You’ll have less frizz and more shine from it.
What hair colors do you wish you could see more of this fall?
I’m a huge fan of Kendall Jenner and Bella Hadid’s recent blonde transformations. I think those color changes are really going to shake up people’s expectations and inspire people to transform themselves in a way they never thought possible.
What do you think constitutes “cool hair” right now?
Hair that makes you feel sexy. Cool hair is you. How you toss it, how your pink fades, if you wave it. It’s all left to your mannerisms. It’s how you wear your hair.
What’s the best beauty advice you’ve ever received?
It was never advice, it was a question. “Would you die for what you do?” I was once asked. Yes. I have. It’s what I love.