Dan Johnson, Tricoci colorist

Get Schooled in Creative Hair Color

April 1st, 2021

Beauty Blog

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If you’re interested in becoming a colorist and working toward more creative hair coloring options, you’re not alone. Dan Johnson is passionate about teaching hair coloring and helping students understand the world of hair color as a whole, hoping to make sure the next generation of colorists is as interested and educated as possible. Here’s what Dan Johnson has to say about coloring hair.

Who Is Dan Johnson?

From his early days training at Rocco Altobelli Salon in Minneapolis, Dan Johnson wanted to be more than just a colorist. He’s worked with the Mario Tricoci Company as the Director of Haircolor to build an even better process for colorists at Tricoci Salon & Spa, and today, he’s a Senior Hair Colorist at a Tricoci Salon in Oakbrook, Illinois.

Though his work with Mario Tricoci is certainly part of his bold desire to do more with his colorist skills, that’s not where his skills end. He’s received several awards for hair color achievements and constantly attends training programs in the United States and beyond, including in London and Paris. If you want to learn about hair coloring, Dan Johnson is the man to talk to.

Learning From Experience

One of the most important things Dan Johnson has to say about hair coloring is that you need to learn through experience. He indicates, “To become a good hairdresser, you have to know the levels of lift and tone. There’s a lot to know about coloring hair, and once you know that, you can go anywhere in the world.”

Essentially, Dan Johnson believes that experience is one of the most important parts of learning. You can’t just learn in books and keep your knowledge there. You need to make sure you know how that book knowledge translates to a real head of hair. Otherwise, you’re going to end up with problems when you start working on real people.

The Real Impact of Hair Coloring


Hair coloring impacts lives more than you may think. Dan reminisces, “I used to do this woman, and every time she would come in for a color, she would have a different Pinterest picture to show me. One day, we kind of had a disagreement because she wanted to be a J-Lo blonde without the warmth. I didn’t see her for a year. That next February she’s back on my books. She has gumball-grape hair and again wants to be blonde. Well, I used a color remover—she came in with gumball-grape hair and left a platinum.”

This can seem like nothing but a funny anecdote, but Dan Johnson notes that your job as a colorist is more important than you may ever know. “I thought going into this industry I’d do a couple heads of hair and go home, but you can make or break a person’s ego. Some people won’t go to work the next day because of what you’ve done to their hair. You have to remember that what you do is important.”

A Class With Dan Johnson: Students Gaining Experience

At the Tricoci University Glendale Heights campus, students got a chance to learn from Dan Johnson himself. The first part of the class was all about learning—they got a chance to listen to him talk about creative color, color levels, and formulas. This is the “book learning” part, and it’s crucially important, but Dan Johnson believes in the power of learning through experience.

A large portion of this special course allowed students to put these concepts into play. Using mannequin head templates, students attempted depictions of editorial hair color formulas. They defined color levels and toning, clipped off color sections, and presented them to the class, with Dan explaining and correcting elements of the process along the way.


Whether or not you get a chance to work with Dan Johnson specifically, the concepts he puts forth are crucial components of learning. That’s why Tricoci University utilizes the hands-on approach and often brings in teachers, just like Dan Johnson, to help students understand the importance of their work. If that type of beauty education interests you, schedule a tour for a Tricoci University location near you today.


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