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Superstar hairstylist Nelson Chan creates bold new colors for fall manes

Nelson Chan, an artiste at work at Nelson j Salon Beverly Hills did the author's hair and what a job
Nelson Chan, an artiste at work at Nelson j Salon Beverly Hills did the author's hair and what a job
Richard Pietschmann

Moving on from the doldrums of summer hair, superstar hair stylist (Lady Gaga, Heather Graham), Nelson Chan of Nelson j Salon is revitalizing the last days of the season with three bold and beautiful colors. For his celebrity and not-so-famous clients Chan is going with Amped Acid, Bronde (a busion of deep brunette and blonde) and Sundowner.

Bold and beautiful hair for fall by Nelson Chan
Courtesy Nelson Chan, Nelson j Salon

Amped Acid takes hair into the world of vivid, frankly synthetic colors. "I wanted to show that there is a whole other world of color which is normally invisible to us," says Chan, the founder of award-winning Nelson j Salon in Beverly Hills ( "For example, a rock may look like a rock to the human eye, in sunlight: gray, tan, maybe elements of black and white. But under an ultraviolet bulb, it may glow cherry-red, purple, fuchsia-pink, or the turquoise-teal of a peacock feather." This saturated palette, once the exclusive domain of indie record store employees, has been perfected for a refined, wearable version of color-shock.

Bronde" is a deliciously dark take on blonde first made popular by supermodel Giselle Bundchen. With a medium to dark base, boomerang-shaped blonde slices are scattered strategically around the eyes, cheekbones and neckline to add a bit of drama to what might otherwise be a basic brown. Placement is key, and the effect is more abstract than one which merely mimics nature. For instance, Chan does not place blonde highlights on the top of the head or parting, where in real life sunlight would fall and lighten locks. "Bronde" is an elegant, witty reimagining of how a worldly brunette might experience a last flicker of lingering summer as the seasons shift to darker days ahead.

Sundowner," is Chan’s fresh new take on last season's sombre variation of the ombre standard, erases the harsh delineations and high contrast typically associated with ombre. This new, subtler effect is intended to suggest the lengthening of shadows as the summer days get shorter and evening falls earlier and earlier. Lowlights are tumbled in under layers and roots, while the top notes of the hair still glow with warm solar chords.

Chan tells us that one of the inspirations for these new ways of viewing color was the announcement in mid-August of the world's fastest camera, developed by two major Japanese universities. He explains that he studied photography and color palette reproduction via the transferred image for the past decade, since clients such as Lady Gaga and Heather Graham must achieve hair color which retains its consistency in print, in video, and on the red carpet. His passion for photography as well exploring the universe of retouching and animation effects used in video, web and editorial print work continue to influence his perspective and technique in the salon.

"This new camera uses an optical shutter which enables it to shoot images consecutively in less than one trillionth of a second," says Chan. "Mechanical or electronic shutters perform at one-billionth of a second, by contrast. I am very interested in the way that optical technology is changing, and how this affects our approach to something as personal as hair color."

Nelson j Salon provides a soothing and welcoming atmosphere in which you can spend the day getting pampered and preened from head to toe—all hair and nail services plusmassage. It is located at 350 N. Bedford Drive in Beverly Hills. To book an appointment call 310-274-1553 or visit

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