Our newest Nails of New York profiles Aura Friedman, one of the most exciting hair color specialists in the world, whose clients include Lady Gaga, M.I.A., and Jennifer Lawrence (to name a few). With more than two decades of experience, Aura has become the top trendsetter in the hair color industry, dreaming up ombre fades, swirling up transformative shades, and reimagining unexpected hues that have never been used on strands before. Find out how she has become the innovator in the salon category, why she's passionate about creative color theory, and what inspired her oil-slick, iridescent manicure.
Tell us about your journey to hair. How did you get into coloring?
I started working at a hair salon just by chance. I was actually 15 years old and applied at every place in the strip mall, and just happened to land the job at the hair salon. I ended up working all through high school and then decided that after high school I'd go to cosmetology school. I always gravitated toward color theory and chemistry - geometry and straight lines were never my strong point. So, when I was 18 I decided that color was my speciality.
What's your favorite part of your job?
I'm grateful that I get to make people feel great about themselves and that I get to help an individual create their persona.
What are you most excited about in the hair color space right now?
I love that anything goes and expressing yourself is the biggest trend.
How do you continue to evolve as the industry responds?
I am influenced mostly by art, film, and nature. I believe that my taste naturally evolves as long as I keep myself open and seeking information. I believe that you never stop learning, and I'm constantly looking to my comrades in the industry and asking questions.
What's your earliest nail memory?
When I was a kid my mom always had beautifully manicured long, red nails, and I remember thinking they looked so elegant. However, I've never been able to have long nails.
How does your manicure make you feel?
It makes me smile when I see oil-slick nails sparkle and catch the twinkling light. They feel like gems!
How did you pick your design?
When I found out that Paintbox has an oil-slick design, I knew it was the color for me as I've always tried to create an iridescent oil-slick color on hair. I've just always loved all iridescent colors, how can I not? It contains all my favorite colors and shines and sparkles!
How do you use your nails as a form of self-expression?
By getting an awesome oil-slick nail!
What does a day-in-the-life look like for you?
I'm usually up at 6am, do a 6:30am hot pilates class at YO BK, dance around my apartment for a half hour (music inspires me), shower, and then take the train to work. I usually have a pretty busy schedule and order breakfast or cook at home. My assistant and I bring each other healthy snacks and we try and stay diligent with a healthy diet. It's important for us to have food in the salon as we get really busy and eat when we have a free moment. Each day is different as I have clients that get all kinds of color services, so each day is different in that sense.
What's been the proudest or most memorable moment of your career?
That's a tough one, and I think it changes. I think what makes me proudest is when people tell me my work inspires them. The thing I'm proudest of is a short film I creative directed called "Screen Tests", starring Ashley Smith. I'm currently working on many more creative direction projects. I thrive the most when I'm creative directing - I love to be involved with an entire composition, coming up with concepts that I can relate to and that inspire me. I love creating.
What inspires you?
A quote from one of my favorite poems by anonymous, "Moments that stop time whilst not looking," because life is always happening and I'm literally inspired by a smile, a flower, or the way the light hits the top of a ripple in the Caribbean-colored ocean in my home town of Miami Beach. Basically, I'm inspired by it all: art, music, film, and everything else around me.