Learn How to Rock the Stenciled Hair Trend Yourself, Thanks to This Artist

Stenciled hair is blowing up Instagram!

The new trend that turns the hair on your head into an art canvas sparks our interest on so many levels.

Because we were beyond curious about the new style and eager to try it out for ourselves, we reached out to Janine Ker—artist-turned-hair stylist—who has perfected the look herself.

Read what she has to say about how hair and art go hand-in-hand and how you can recreate the look yourself below.

Sweety High: Can you tell us a little about your background in art? What experience do you have?

Janine Ker: I realized I could actually draw because of a wonderful art teacher I had in my junior year of high school, and I've been painting and drawing ever since. I was also an art instructor for adults with disabilities, which introduced me to another world of raw art making. I have approached hair as a medium, which has taken me down different avenues, including making sculptures out of hair.

A photo posted by Janine Ker (@janine_ker_hair) on


SH: How did you get into hairstyling?

JK: I always had a fascination with hair as a style accessory, even as a kid, and would often embrace "unpopular" cuts and styles. (I think my first pixie was in 3rd grade). In high school, I chose haircutting as my senior project and spent a year reading, researching and shadowing a mentor hair stylist. But it was not until I was 30 years old, that I decided to really go for it and make a complete career change. I am so glad I did!


SH: When did you first start integrating art tools into your hair styles?

JK: It was in cosmetology school, in my Hair Design class. I took the title of this class literally and created a lot of different things out of hair that I would mount on top of updos. So I would say my first art tool was using the skill of sculpture to heat, manipulate and shape hair into forms that were completely unnatural.


SH: What products do you need to create one of your stenciled looks?

JK: Hairspray to create a style that incorporates a slick stiff surface (like a slick ponytail or half up, half down look, for example). For temporary hair color spray, Joico makes a great product called InstaTint! For stencils, you can purchase them at local craft stores. And for blowdryer (preferably with a diffuser), using this on low heat helps dry the hair color spray in between layers.


SH: Can you summarize the process for our readers?

JK: First, compose a hairstyle or area you plan to stencil. Again, I find that stiff surfaces work best. You can do it on the side of an updo—pin one side of the hair up, do a half up-half down look or a slick ponytail. Just pick something that has a surface that is least likely to move.

Next, choose a stencil. Your stencil choice should complement the area you are choosing to work on. If the area is elongated, use a wider stencil. If the area is small, use a smaller stencil. Try to think about filling up the area you are working with.

Then, chose a color scheme. If the hair you are working with is dark, chose a contrasting light color spray. If the hair you are working on is light, use a darker pigment. Think about contrast!

Next, hold your stencil in place and spray! Make sure your stencil is securely against the surface of the area by using your hands or the model's hands to help hold all the edges down. Shake the can and spray the surface in short bursts moving evenly over the entire design to lay down a foundational coat of color. Keep your stencil in place.

After that, blow dry on low with a diffuser. A diffuser works great because it does not disrupt your hairstyle and speeds up the drying time. About 20 seconds back and forth over the area is enough.

Then you're going to add more layers. You can add more of the same color to make the design stronger, you can overlap colors, you can shade the edges with a different shade. Just make sure to dry between each layer!

Finally, rock it!


SH: What's your favorite stencil to use? What designs do you think look best?

JK: I love floral stencils! Because flowers are universally beautiful, they add a wow factor. I don't think there is a wrong design. Mainly, it needs to complement the overall look you are going for. Some people might like a geometric pattern for a music festival. Others might like something softer for a more formal event.


SH: Can you tell us a little about your fave stencil hairstyle you've ever created?

JK: One of my favorites that I had made was on the simplest: triangles. I created about five different sheets with all different shapes of triangles and then layered them on top of each other, using different colors for each layer. It is still one of the most popular designs.

SH: How long does it typically take to create a stencil style hair?

JK: It can take anywhere from three to seven minutes!


SH: Would you consider hair a canvas for creating artwork?

JK: Absolutely, especially because hair is truly a medium. As an artist, that is what attracted me to hair in the first place. It is a substance that can be carved and colored, just like sculpture. Your hair is a form of expression, and stencils push that notion even further!


The stenciled look isn't the only hair trend we're feeling. Check out THESE over-the-top styles.