Trend for coloured hair takes its inspiration from childhood toys

Not for the first time, the latest hair trend requires you to dig deep into your past: welcome to the rise of My Little Pony hair. Inspired by the colourful manes of the little plastic toys, rainbow hair has become the go-to hair trend for young women.

Bleach salon, which recently branched out from east London to Soho, arguably pioneered the trend for extreme hair colour which has seen pink, dip dye (where the ends are “dipped” in a contrasting colour) and even premature grey become trend fixtures.

Georgia May Jagger has opted for multicoloured hair.

According to Bleach founder Alex Brownsell, rainbow-coloured hair is the next logical step in hair colour.

She said: “Hair trends tend to move in 10-year cycles. Over eight years ago, we did our first dip dye but now, almost a decade later, it’s sort of everywhere. The young kids don’t want dip dyes anymore, they feel it’s too mainstream.”

The trend, she explains, stems partly from rebellion and partly from nostalgia. “We all dyed our hair when we were kids to rebel, and there’s something about the attention that you got from it which felt addictive.”

She says the rise of extreme colours references the 80s and 90s punk scene. The main difference now is that the focus is primarily on colour not cut.

“It’s inspired by punks and cyber kids but the cuts now tend to be long and feminine, that soft 1970s look. This look is far more feminine. In fact, if someone came in with a punky haircut, I’d advise them against getting multicoloured hair. It’s moved on from that.”

Like most trends, rainbow hair has trickled down from the catwalk. Bright hair appeared on the AW15 Louis Vuitton catwalk and on models such as Soo Joo Park.

Danish model Chloe Norgaard has become an alternative poster girl for rainbow-coloured hair. “I was fed up with having to fit into what my agencies were saying I had to look like,” she says. “It was an act of rebellion, I was like, screw this, I’m going blue and once I did I felt great.”

Britney Spears and Katy Perry also went rainbow this summer. Brownsell dyed the hair of model Georgia May Jagger, in part, as a last hurrah. “A lot of models get it done now so it’ll fade out in time for fashion week when she’ll have to fit what the client wants.”

Natalia McDonald, from Premier models, which represents Norgaard, says: “If a designer’s inspiration for a season is based on subcultures, tattoos and piercings could enhance that and, therefore, the casting director is more likely to use models with those attributes.”

Instagram also plays a role. There are almost 200,000 rainbowhair hashtags on social media, throwing up a variety of looks.

“Models now share all the details of their lives with their followers,” says McDonald. “So rather than it being a new trend, I would say the development of technology has moved us into this era.”

According to Brownsell, hair colour is becoming more important than haircuts: “Multicoloured hair could be seen as this generation’s ‘Rachel’ [the long layered cut popularised by Jennifer Aniston’s character in TV series Friends]. I think for people our age, 20s at least, the look is very much about not cutting your hair into ‘a cut’.”

Even men are embracing extreme colour. “Green hair is a big trend on young men – One Direction’s Zayn Malik; Jared Leto, who got it done for his role as The Joker.”

Could rainbow hair be next? “I don’t see why not, I think it’s natural progress,” says Brownsell.

Wallflowers need not be too unsettled by the trend. “It’s actually an extension of what’s happening in hair colour in general. I have multicoloured blonde hair, multicoloured balayage [a dye-application technique] is also a thing, browns and red blended together. Even L’Oreal are talking about bronde [a blend of brown and blonde]. It’s less extreme than it sounds and actually, as a trend, almost mainstream.”

Promising lab-grown skin sprouts hair and grows glands

Scientists in Japan have successfully transplanted mice with lab-grown skin that has more of the organ’s working parts in place than ever before.

Starting with stem cells made from a mouse’s gums, they managed to craft skin with multiple layers – as well as hair follicles and sweat glands.

When implanted into a “nude mouse” with a suppressed immune system, it integrated well and sprouted hairs.

Researchers say this success will take 5-10 years to translate into humans.

But eventually, the team hopes their system will lead to perfectly functioning skin that can be grown from the cells of burns victims and transplanted back on to them.

skin samples sprouting hair

Personalised organs

This would be vastly superior to the culturing and grafting techniques that are currently available, which produce skin without many of the the biological components and functionality that we are used to.

The technique could also be adapted to manufacture realistic skin samples that drug or cosmetics companies could use to test their products – instead of using animals.

The findings, reported in the journal Science Advances, have been greeted with enthusiasm by other scientists working in this field.

Takashi Tsuji is the paper’s senior author. He said the dream of re-growing personalised organs was beginning to materialise:

“Up until now, artificial skin development has been hampered by the fact that the skin lacked the important organs, such as hair follicles and exocrine glands, which allow the skin to play its important role in regulation.

“With this new technique, we have successfully grown skin that replicates the function of normal tissue.

“We are coming ever closer to the dream of being able to recreate actual organs in the lab for transplantation.”

Dr Tsuji, from the Riken Centre for Developmental Biology in Kobe, conducted the research with colleagues in Tokyo, Sagamihara and Sendai.

They began their experiments by taking cells from the gums of a mouse and converting them into “induced pluripotent stem cells” or iPSCs.

This is a popular and promising technique in stem cell research, discovered in 2006, which bathes the cells in chemicals to “wind back the clock”. The resulting cells, like those of an embryo, can divide again and again, and be guided down many developmental pathways to become nearly any type of cell in the body.

The team’s real achievement was in coaxing these cells to form the different layers and structures of deeply layered skin – the “integumentary organ” that protects our bodies, senses touch, regulates heat and does myriad other jobs as well.

‘Whole box of stuff’

John McGrath, a professor of molecular dermatology at King’s College London, said this study was one that researchers in his field had been looking out for – and it was a substantial step forward.

He told BBC News that the new system took us “over the halfway mark” towards growing functional skin for human patients – where previous efforts had stumbled at much earlier stages.

“It’s recapitulating normal skin architecture,” Prof McGrath said. “So rather than having isolated bits of skin… here we’ve actually got a whole box of stuff.

“To give you a football analogy: anybody can have Wayne Rooney, but now we’ve got Manchester United. There’s a whole team on the pitch, of interacting players.”

And that means there is hope, he added, for lifelike, lab-grown skin.

“[Today’s skin grafts] function, but they don’t really look like or behave like skin. If you don’t have the hair follicles and you don’t have the sweat glands and things, it’s not going to function as skin.”

Prof McGrath also said that many other laboratories would now be trying to reproduce these findings – and to adapt them for different purposes, such as recreating skin diseases in a dish and trying out treatments.

“There will be lots of benefits for immediate use, as well as for translational science,” he said.

Upending daily rhythm triggers fat cell growth

New research may help explain why chronic stress, sleep deprivation and other disruptions in the body’s daily rhythms are linked to obesity.

Chronic exposure to stress hormones stimulates growth of fat cells, Mary Teruel of Stanford University reported December 16 at the annual meeting of the American Society for Cell Biology. Normally, stress hormones, such as cortisol, are released during waking hours in regular bursts that follow daily, or circadian, rhythms. Those regular pulses don’t cause fat growth, Teruel and colleagues discovered. But extended periods of exposure to the hormones, caused by such things as too little sleep, break up that rhythm and lead to more fat cells.

Even though only about 10 percent of fat cells are replaced each year, the body maintains a pool of prefat cells that are poised to turn into fat. “If they all differentiated at once, you’d be drowning in fat,” Teruel said.

Previous studies have shown that a protein called PPAR-gamma controls the development of fat cells and that stress hormones turn on production of PPAR-gamma. Teruel’s team discovered that prefat cells with levels of PPAR-gamma below a certain threshold don’t transform into fat in laboratory tests. Steady hormone exposure eventually allowed the precursor cells to build up enough PPAR-gamma to cross the threshold into fat making. But in cells given the same total amount of stress hormone in short pulses, PPAR-gamma levels rose and fell.

The stress hormone works like pushing on a car’s accelerator. Steadily increasing pressure eventually puts the car over the speed limit, while pulses effectively take the foot off the gas pedal, causing periodic slowdowns that fall short of the fat-making threshold. Pulses shorter than 12 hours didn’t make extra fat, while longer pulses, such as those that may be caused by sleep deprivation, overeating or other disruptions in circadian rhythms, increased the number of precursor cells that became fat cells.

Things you should never gift anyone on Christmas

Christmas is less than two weeks away and let’s be honest, you probably haven’t even started shopping. That’s OK. What isn’t OK is waiting until the last minute and buying a bunch of lame gifts so you can cross all the names off your shopping list. Don’t be that person. Christmas gifts aren’t something you HAVE to buy. They’re an opportunity to connect and strengthen you relationship with someone. Look at it this way: If you don’t want to be around to see someone’s face when they open your gift, then it’s probably lame. But just in case you still need some guidance, here are 10 things that are totally unacceptable to give as as christmas gifts — NO MATTER WHAT.

1. TIE

The fact that the tie industry has tricked so many people into buying a tie for the man in their life on just about every major holiday is subliminal advertising at its finest. Don’t be one of those lemmings who marches into Macy’s in desperate search of the perfect-patterned tie to go with your Pop’s pinstripe suit. If you’re dead set on buying somebody a piece of cloth that hangs around their neck, consider a stylish scarf or neckerchief they’ll be stoked to wear.



It doesn’t matter if it’s an antique, or if it says “Best Friends Forever” on it, or if you crafted it out of driftwood you collected on some deserted beach. Please, do not give people picture frames for Christmas. Instead, consider a piece of unique art, framed or otherwise, or perhaps a thoughtfully curated photo book of your favorite moments together.


Wine is for dinner parties. Whiskey, scotch and rare, small-batch rums are for gifting. But mostly just scotch. That is all.


As a general rule, you probably shouldn’t do too much Christmas shopping at Bed, Bath & Beyond. Nothing says “I don’t know anything about you, so here you go” like a bag full of chemicals. Instead, consider gifting someone a relaxing massage, or, if you have the coin, some spa time.

5. MUG

Just like picture frames, the variety and customizability of mugs will make them a tempting gift for the not-so-savvy shopper. I mean, everybody drinks coffee, right? Well everybody shits too, but that doesn’t mean you’re going to find a 24-pack of Charmin Ultra Soft under the Christmas Tree, does it? Instead, get, like, a tiny bit creative and buy somebody a rad tea set or maybe a practical but stylish tumbler or thermos.


Look, you really have no idea if somebody is going to like a certain scent enough to consistently spray it on their body. Even worse, they could be allergic. And if you already know somebody likes a certain type of perfume or cologne, what’s the point of buying more? You’re sort of just helping them stock up. You might as well get them a year’s supply of toothpaste while you’re at it.


Hopefully you’ve learned by now that personal hygiene products do not make for good Christmas gifts. But just in case you haven’t, no, you do not want to buy somebody a small, battery-powered, vibrating device with which they can trim their nose hairs.


If you’re giving somebody socks and underwear, then you probably know them well enough to to know what type of socks and underwear they like, which means you shouldn’t be giving them socks and underwear. You’re better than that. Take it up a notch and get them literally anything else.


Fruit cakes were once in style. Then they were out of style. Now you might think they’re in style again because gifting one would be ironic. But you would be wrong. That would just be stupid. And even if somebody you know enjoys the hell out of fruitcakes, frankly, you should still not get them a fruitcake — unless you’re a time traveler going back to the 1960s.


Paperweights were once useful because computers didn’t exist. That was a long time ago. Today, “paperweight” is a term applied to any seemingly interesting doodad that is so useless it must be assigned a function. Hence, it becomes a paperweight. But really, it’s a piece of crap you probably bought in a gift shop somewhere, and you should not subject an innocent person to the poor tastes that plagues most of us during impulse purchases.