A closer look at the hair in ‘The Hunger Games’

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If you’re a fan of ‘The Hunger Games’ and are counting the days until the March release of the movie based on Book 1 of the trilogy, then like me, you’ve been imagining what the costumes, hair and makeup might look like, particularly of those in ‘the Capitol.’

Cherry Petenbrink, lead hair colorist on the film, discussed the inspiration for the character’s hair and hair color as well as the attention paid in order to make sure no one came out looking like a raver or post-apocalyptic punk on screen.

“The look of the Capitol as it’s described in the book is bright and we stayed true to that,” says
Petenbrink, who dyed more than 600 wigs and hair pieces for main characters and extras in the film. “The color couldn’t look ‘80s punk, it had to be very high fashion in a couture kind of way.”

Getting an elegant and refined look while using eye-catching neon and pastel shades for the hair color was no easy feat and to nail the right feeling, Petenbrink says there was a real mix of time periods. She referenced the ‘20s and ‘40s as well as Edwardian and Victorian eras, adding that while there are a lot of brights, there are also strange and antique shades like mustard yellow and moss green.


But the key was to keep a refined finish to the hair seen in the Capitol, even if it was an offbeat color. “The people in the Capitol are very refined, almost like a big group of old moneyed people that get together,” she says. “A very rich and disturbing group of people.”

Petenbrink went with candy colored pastels such as pink, lavender and chartreuse for Effie Trinket, played by Elizabeth Banks. Lead hairstylist Linda Flowers gave Banks what she calls “exaggerated Afro texture,” which was tempered by elegant 1930s finger waves in the front. The mix of traditional and out-there is what Flowers refers to as “contemporary classic.” “We did exaggerated chignons and other classic shapes that from a distance are perceived as very beautiful, but then you get up close you see that they’re green or pink!

“The color is all very bright and intense but in a very couture, chic kind of way,” says Petenbrink, who used Joico’s Vero K-PAK Color Intensity semi-permanent hair colors to dye all the hair.

“These looks are not reminiscent of the punk looks of the past and these colors will be emulated by millions of fans.”

Mustard yellow anyone?

-- Melissa Magsaysay


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Photos, from top: Cherry Petenbrink, ‘The Hunger Games’ hair colorist, plays with color possibilities. /Joico

Hair pieces on the set of ‘The Hunger Games.'/Joico