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Beauty Articles

HAIR LA Founder, Danny Moon Talks Luxury Multi-Color Hair Styling

Beauty
Jul 16, 2019

HAIR LA Founder, Danny Moon Talks Luxury Multi-Color Hair Styling

Meet Danny Moon, the owner and founder of Downtown Los Angeles’ premier multi-color luxury hair salon HAIR. We met up with the specialist and avid art collector — with work by Nick Sethi, Doug Rikard and Mario Ayala, his collection is enviable — and got to know his practice.

Did you grow up in LA?
Yeah, I’m from Los Angeles. My dad grew up in Lincoln Heights. I love being in LA. But I’m actually going to Mexico City this weekend.

I’ve been wanting to go there!
Yeah I’ve been wanting to too. We’ve had such a big push of work recently and I saw a little window. To my girlfriend, I was just like, “Let’s get out of here man.” And we just had that big earthquake. We might die tomorrow! Let’s just get out of here. I work all day, every day. I gotta get out for four days. It’s so close too.

How long have you had the space for?
I’ve been in this space for almost two years. I worked at the luxury salon Andy Lecompte on the Westside of LA for like 10 years. During that time, I was waiting for this side of town to develop more — waiting for when it was time for me to have my own space. So finally two years ago it felt right. And I built up this space real quick. Initially I was going to make it a personal studio. I was working in the corner for a minute, but was like, “What am I doing?” And painted the whole thing white and was thinking it looked really good. And I moved out of the corner and stretched out into the space. I don’t know why I was limiting myself. It’s been fun ever since. We’re in uncharted waters, you know?

What do you mean by that?
I’ve spent a lot of time traveling between Echo Park, where I lived, and West Hollywood, where I was working. Over time I saw the East side influence the West side. You saw this development of luxury multicolor.

What do you mean by luxury?
Like before Nicole Richie had lavender hair and Kylie Jenner went teal, it was all very punk. But people didn’t understand why colored hair became popular. Most people don’t know about punk and how people would use the colored hair to express themselves. Because of the prevalence of celebrity culture in Los Angeles, after these big names colored their hair, it started to shift to a luxury space. People would come into the high-end salon from all over the world — like Saudi Arabia and ask for Nicole Richie’s hairstyle. And to them, I’m like, “Okay well you’re going to be here for a bit” — because it can take from like four to eight hours. This is when bigger companies began to see the viability of producing multi-colors. Before that it was just like Manic Panic making it. It was only within the last few years that that’s changed and there are high-performance or luxury multi-color hair products.

Is your style always changing or developing with new products that are coming out?
Yes! I think that with experience, you know, getting to know how to read people a little bit more and I know colors a little bit more. I understand the vibe. It’s all about communicating. I think the style is not changing but advancing. Originally it was about the color and experimenting and now, because that’s a product of me, it’s about creating a canvas and making the blonde hair good.

What do you mean by that?
While creating a canvas with the hair, in the beginning, it’s like, “Let’s just get it white. Let’s just get it blank.” Now it’s being able to create that canvas specially. I’ve been working with this brand Virtue Labs it has alpha keratin, which comes in a concentrated form that you add to the bleach so that the keratin fills in the hair at the same time that you’re taking color out. The keratin is a filler that makes the hair stronger and so that the bleach doesn’t make the hair weak or distressed. It gives the hair a texture that is more natural rather than an aggressive blonde. So I think that’s the advances that are happening now in bleach technology, and with my own personal technology I’m just trying to bring in the best blonde so I can create this hair color. I like to say that I’m transforming a color. Because for a four-month period, from start to finish, you have dope hair that you don’t have to do for a while. Get your hair done in another three months and be a different version of yourself. Just always changing in minor ways. Hair color creates like micro-eras in our lives. Like you can divide your time and remember what period it was based off of what color your hair was. Especially in a place like Los Angeles. It kind of feels the same all year round. Hair color micro-eras are like seasons.

Yeah you can get confused about time when living in LA; it’s not like New York where the seasons really break up time for you.
And especially when you’re freelance, sometimes you don’t even know what day of the week it is. You lose track.

Do you spend any time in New York?
I did. I’ve spent a lot of time in New York. But ever since I’ve started with this salon program, I’ve been restricting myself, focusing on growing this place. People would come by and need me here but I was always traveling before. I’d miss them. Now I want to always be available. If someone comes to town and wants to stop by, I’m always here. They can be spontaneous. You know, it’s just starting a business. It’s good to have that visibility. I love building relationships with people who come into the shop. I’ve been able to meet some of the best people.

I can imagine.
But I do love to travel. I had a chapter when I was traveling a lot. I can do this type of hair coloring anywhere. You really only need heat and water. This one time a crazy neighbor suggested that I go to Cuba. I was like, “You know man, that’s a great idea.” And I went without any hotel or reservations. I asked a friend who lived in Miami if they knew of anyone in Cuba. She hooked me up. And her person introduced me to another person, and so on. You ask a friend, who’s going to be into similar things and they’ll introduce you to people that have the same vibe. So when I was in Cuba, through a friend of a friend, I ended up doing a shoot for this magazine. We went to go see the model at her house. I was like, “Can’t we just call her?” They’re like, “No, that’s not how it works. You gotta meet her.” So she’s like 30 minutes away. She introduced us to her father.

I love that. You’d never find that here.
Yeah and when traveling, it’s really fun to do creative colors. You forget that, being in LA, but it’s not very common in the world to have colored hair. When doing these people’s hair, they could be the only one in the entire country with blue hair, you know? That’s pretty sick.

Would you ever set up shop someplace else? Have another spot for a bit, like a pop-up?
I think that’s to be determined. I like taking advantage of being able to do hair anywhere, like Central Park. Let’s get creative with our environment. You can really take advantage of any opportunity — especially if people have blonde hair. Finding remote places to do hair has always been something I’m passionate about. Like it’d be cool to do a session at the top of a mountain in Yosemite. Or anywhere in South America.

Why South America?
Because everyone down there has dark hair. You have to know what you’re doing with the bleach. To create these hair jobs, it takes four to eight hours. People in these places don’t focus on their beauty. They don’t sacrifice their time to get their hair done. The salon industry is very city based. So going to any country, where they just want to survive. We were talking to this non-profit about how they teach business skills to people in developing communities. Salons are a business that people are developing that are very profitable in poorer cities. It’d be great to work with a salon in one of these countries and introduce them to color.

Yeah that’d be incredible. Tell me about all of the art in here. Have you always been super interested in collecting?
I got closer to art as I got more involved with colors. The more I got to know colors, the more I understood art. I would look at how other artists were using color and it’d influence what I was doing. Learning more and more, I’ve become friends with like Little Big Man Gallery and M+B, those guys have become my best friends and they also appreciate my work. I’m meeting all of these other creative people and learning about the sacrifices they’ve had to make. That’s how I got involved with collecting. And I started trading with artists. And people will come in and see the space and they’ll want their stuff to live here; they want to be a part of this world. It’s like an art studio in here. After seeing my space, artists will want to show me their studios. And their stuff will inform me. My childhood was one thing and this is like a new chapter in my life where I’m developing. I’m being exposed to these new things that I love. All of these new friends. It’s teaching me a lot about myself and what I want to make.