Why Celebrity Hair Colorist Tracey Cunningham Asks Clients For Their Baby Pictures

Tracey Cunningham
Courtesy of Tracey Cunningham

Celebrity colorist Tracey Cunningham wants your baby photos.

“When you’re a kid, your hair is so gorgeous, and then your hair goes naturally darker, and people want to get back to what they had before, back to their roots,” says Cunningham, who often turns to these snapshots as inspiration for her clients, who span Hollywood’s most famous blondes (Charlize Theron, Carey Mulligan), brunettes (Jennifer Lopez, Jennifer Garner), redheads (Emma Stone, Zoey Deutch) and the occasional silver (Diane Keaton).

It’s a philosophy that Cunningham outlines in her new book, “True Color: The Essential Hair Color Handbook” (Abrams), co-authored by Erin Weinger. A deep dive into the art of hair color, the book takes a look at its history and terminology and offers advice for achieving your own perfect look.

It’s also packed with celebrity clients’ baby photos (Lana Del Rey, Khloé Kardashian and Drew Barrymore are all in there) and traces Cunningham’s path to success. (Hint: it starts with Bette Midler paying her way through beauty school.)

“It’s a great handbook for anybody who likes to color their hair or has hair. Erin interviewed so many specialists — people who work for the water department, doctors — answering questions that hairdressers can’t answer for you,” explains Cunningham, the Mèche salon co-founder, who dialed down Maria Bakalova’s locks to a Champagne blond for the Oscars.

Cunningham’s most-requested color? Lily Aldridge’s golden blond ombre tresses, she says. “I nailed her hair color exactly the way she was when she was little. It gave brunettes options.”