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At 26, the colourist Alaina Manibog has already made waves in the hair industry for her bold and creative approach to colouring. Based at West Hollywood salon BENJAMIN, Manibog is immersed in all aspects of hair colouring, from developing her own range of temporary colour conditioners, working on shoots, and collaborating with the in-house art team on the latest BENJAMIN zine.


Below we take a look at her own phone-snapped photos, which document her clients through various stages of the dyeing process. Through these understated, closely cropped images, she hopes to reveal “more of the actual mood of the hair than a typical before-and-after photo. I believe it’s the feeling that you get when you are wearing your hair that’s important, not the idea of it looking ‘right’, or what’s ‘trendy’ at the time”.

Image: Alaina Manibog by Harry Eelman
Image: Thelma and Velma ‘The Connor Twins’ by Ray Huff Richter

How did you get into hair? I’ve had an overall interest in imagery since I was a child, and I get my inspiration from movies, theatre, music, costumes, fashion, make-up, and hair. The universal common denominator for me is how these things affect or reflect all the different moods that people experience.

From looking at pictures of my great-grandma Thelma and her twin sister Velma in the Ziegfeld Follies (above) from the 1920s to the 1950s, their beauty and attitude have always been an inspiration to me and my overall aesthetic vision. My mother has also been a huge inspiration for my gravitating toward the beauty industry. She was always one for attention-to-detail and looking properly done, even if it was just for a quick errand. She was a strong, single mother of four children, but her outward appearance was always so composed and confident. This made me want to be the same.


Before my oldest brother joined the Marine Corps, he had a mohawk as tall as his arm and he used to steal all my clothes. He made me realise that people could express themselves through hair and fashion. I was fourteen at the time, and the most rebellious thing I could do was sneak out of my bedroom window at night and flirt with my brother’s friends (I did both!), but that got boring. So I went to the local 97 cent store and bought a box of hair bleach. My hair turned orange! Two more applications later, I had white hair and a shit ton of split ends. I was hooked!


Current favourite colour trend? Temporary, punky colours that are low maintenance and wash out easily. The versatility is cool, one week you can be pink and the next you can be blue. Dramatic changes without any commitment are always fun.

Most unlikely source of inspiration? 19th century portrait paintings and sculptures.

Whose hair would you most like to get your hands on? My first thought was Hillary Clinton but Donald Trump needs the help even more.


Interview Anthony Mascolo
Images Alaina Manibog Website alainamanibog.com
Connor Twins Image Ray Huff Richter
Portrait Image Harry Eelman

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