Color My World
British hair color expert makes the move to Houston
Don’t let Rachael Gatenby’s English accent fool you. The expert colorist is right at home in the Lone Star State, the place she is only too happy to call home. Gatenby splits her time between Dallas and Houston, bringing her balayage talents to clients who want beautiful hair that looks and feels effortless.
Her journey to Texas is two decades in the making, starting in London with stops in Los Angeles, Australia and New York. Gatenby drank up every aspect of the salon, but was drawn to hair color. While working at Frederick Fekkai, she was introduced to balayage, a method where the hair is painted with color in a natural way.
“I picked up a love of color and after learning about balayage, I haven't used a foil in 13 years,” Gatenby said. “I love hair that looks like you've been sitting on a beach for a year.”
And in Texas, where blonde is often the color of choice, that sun-kissed look is achieved by painting the hair. She likes the look and feel of well-conditioned hair that is tonally on point, but is a bit undone and messy.
“What I love about living in Texas is that everyone wants to be a blonde. I want the hair to be beautiful and natural,” Gatenby said.
Gatenby stresses the importance of healthy hair and has been in Texas long enough to know the havoc Houston’s weather can wreak on summer hair. Now that she's a local, Gatenby is keenly aware of the intense humidity that transforms a good hair day to a frizz fest, but never fear, there are products for that.
“You can’t really fight frizz, but you should avoid hair spray, which will just become a sticky mess," Gatenby said. "And braiding your hair is always better than a pony tail because pulling it back causes breakage.”
“I wasn’t supposed to stay in Texas. I was on the way to California, and I just loved it so much here, I stayed,” Gatenby said. “Texas is its own space and time.”