TIffany Rae Grimes is a Dallas hair stylist and colorist whose bright creations transform her clients into striking fantastical creatures. Until recently, she could be found in Deep Ellum, but she says that gentrification and a fear of crime pushed her out of the neighborhood and into Salon Ritual.
“I get most of my inspiration from nature, gemstones and minerals in particular,” she says of her signature palette, a gradual, tasteful explosion of bold color. “I also draw a lot of inspiration from occult ideas, mythos and fantasy.”
There's a reason her work seems more in line with a painter's catalog than a beauty industry portfolio; before becoming a stylist, Grimes was a visual artist. She simply found a more exciting medium in the form of living, breathing, ever-growing canvases.
Grimes was studying anthropology and photographic journalism ("I wanted to study gender, mating rituals and birth rituals in primatology.") before she left college for the Aveda Institute, she says, after a hairdresser gave her a traumatic haircut on her wedding day.
"I asked her to trim my long side-swept fringe, and somehow she cut them as short as my hairline ... it was horrific." Grimes recalls telling a friend that she was resolute to enroll in hair school.
"I wanted to change the world," she says. "I realized after having my hair disaster on my wedding day that I thought providing a simple service to society would be a better outlet for me."
Grimes gets a lot of unorthodox requests. On one occasion, she was asked to match the tiny specks of blue on a client’s eyeball. At other times, that she match a cosplay theme or a look to complement a client's kinks. Grimes' specialty is the modular technique, which is a rainbow of hair that's hidden under layers, only visible when parted a certain way — popular with those whose workplaces demand employees stick to an outdated stylebook.
“But my favorite is when I can co-create with the person to help them create their highest aesthetic expression,” Grimes says. “I work with people and try to delve into their subconscious look. It amazes me how often that is something that resembles a fae, mermaid or other mythological being. I like to be a channel for people's most fantastical ideas for themselves, making their dreams a reality.”
But, Grimes says, she doesn’t impose her creations on others, though her work speaks to her values.
"I want to remind people that we can be ourselves, we can sing our song and still fit into society. ... I studied ayurvedic beauty, so I utilize as much holistic health as I can in my practice," she says. "I use cruelty-free, vegan products only. I teach people to shampoo minimally, use their natural oils for their benefit, and low-cost ways to live in harmony with our world while being fabulous."
It turns out that Grimes may have a greater appreciation for color than standard eyes allow.
“Later in my career I found out that I am a tetrachromat, meaning I have a fourth color cone and can perceive a greater amount of colors in the spectrum,” Grimes says.
According to one study, the condition is present in half of the population, mostly female. Either way, nobody puts their tetrachromacy to use quite like Grimes, whose gradient coloring is so subtle you would swear her clients' hair grows in natural highlights of blue.
Here are the stylists' favorite looks:
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