Alongside the unforgettable moments of this year’s Oscars ceremony were a plethora of show-stopping looks in vibrant hues, most evidently seen in Beyoncé’s performance of “Be Alive.” If there’s one thing we know to be true about Beyoncé, it’s her ability to breathe life into the air of every room she walks in, and for this year’s 2022 Oscars performance, she didn’t do it alone. Rita Hazan, celebrity hair colorist and salon owner of Rita Hazan Salon, is the mastermind behind the “shadow highlights” of Beyoncé’s showstopping Oscars look. Hazan is one of the most sought-out colorists in the beauty space, and her work can be seen on the heads of Jessica Simpson, Jenifer Lopez, Beyoncé, and Mariah Carey to name a few. Her impeccable attention to detail is imperative in the making of today’s looks, and most notably, is helping to create a cult-like following behind some of the biggest trends we follow from what is arguably one of the best musicians in the world. 

From Queen Bey’s bright yellow ensemble to her awe-inspiring shadow highlights, Rita Hazan is the celebrity colorist we all need on our radars, and we got the chance to speak to her one on one regarding the must-have spring hair trend to look out for. 

Gabrielle Tazewell: Can you tell me about your background? How did you get started within the beauty space?

Rita Hazan: I always knew I wanted to color hair. I used to color my grandmother’s hair when I was in high school, so I begged my mom to let me go to beauty school, and I knew I wanted to work at Oribe. I trained with Brad Johns for five years. He was the celebrity colorist there, and when it was my time to get promoted, I was so excited and ready for my first celebrity. The opportunity came within the first year of me being promoted, and it was Mariah Carey. She wanted an image change for her new album, after her divorce. From there, I worked with J.Lo to create her look. I became the go-to colorist for anyone who wanted a new look. 

GT: How do Beyoncé’s shadow highlights coincide with her vibrant yellow look? Tell me more about what inspired the highlights? 

RH: Beyoncé’s color was chosen ahead of her wardrobe for the event, but that’s what makes shadow highlights so special. They can evolve from day to day, to becoming the main event on the red carpet. The inspiration behind the look was to add multidimensional highlights to mimic sun-kissed hair around the hairline. This look is also special because I strategically placed highlights under the hairline that would create this peek-a-boo effect when she wears her hair up. 

GT: Why is this style the next must-have look for our 21Ninety readers to try? 

RH: The color trend is so universal that anyone can pull it off. It really doesn’t matter the texture, length or hair color because everyone can pull off the look of shadow highlights.

GT: Can you walk us through the steps of how we can achieve this color? Tell me more about the process you used to achieve this perfect look. 

RH: Shadow highlights are strategically placed by a professional colorist, so please do not try to do this at home. 

I started by lightening her base, making it a toffee blonde with ribbons of sun-kissed bright highlights. I focused on framing her face with brighter highlights and blended the same highlights throughout the hair. I also placed highlights underneath, so when Beyoncé wears a ponytail there is a bright effect that is continuous throughout the entire look. 

GT: Walk us through your work with other artists you’ve worked with. How do you achieve your inspiration when working with celebrity clientele? 

RH: I have worked with clients such as Jennifer Lopez, Katy Perry, Jessica Simpson, Madonna and more. Inspiration with my clients, celeb or not, really comes from collaboration. We make sure to align on the goal of the color, lifestyle, special events and maintenance. From there, they all trust me with the creative freedom to design a hair color specific to them. 

GT: What’s your favorite look you’ve ever worked on and why? 

RH: It’s hard to pick one because I’ve created so many iconic looks, like J.Lo from dark to honey, Katy Perry from black to pink, blue, purple — and Beyoncé from dark to light. I just enjoy all of it. 

GT: In one word, if you can, how would you describe Beyoncé’s monumental Oscars hairstyle? 

RH: Seductive.

Whether she’s styling Beyoncé’s next award-season looks or running her successful salon in Midtown, New York, Rita Hazan is an arbiter of hair color artistry that is pushing the limits behind self-identity and expression for the masses.