woman made:


The beauty mogul who created a color hair collective that gets to the root of the problem.


In a new series, VIOLET GREY profiles female beauty entrepreneurs who are considered industry game changers for their individual approach to business. Each one entered the conversation in her own manner and maintained a steady, if not unparalleled, trajectory with her indomitable spirit. 

“My lightbulb moment came on a photo shoot with a hairdresser,” recalls Gail Federici. “He was trying to make blonde wigs look more natural by creating some dark roots using brown eyeshadow.” Her lightbulb turned into Color WOW, a collection of problem-solving products designed to preserve the life and look of dyed tresses. 

Since its debut in 2012, Color WOW has scooped up 44 major beauty awards. The line is a godsend for any woman flipping the color switch or procrastinating on her salon appointments. Each formula preserves color, prevents thinning, and promotes new growth. The must-have: Root Cover Up. With a compact and brush design, the root-concealing mineral powder is like makeup for your hair. It extends highlights, covers grays, softens harsh “grow out” lines and is safe for skinny dipping (it requires shampoo to wash off). And with chemical color dependency at an all-time high, Color WOW’s counteractive technology has arrived just when we need it most.

It's worth noting that problem-solving is nothing new to Federici. Take frizz, for example. Frustrated with the lack of products available to tame her unruly mane, Federici approached internationally acclaimed hairstylist John Frieda to help her fill the gap. “Every single styling product on the market was [made] to add body to hair [and contained] alcohol and resins that were not good on dry, frizzy hair. We needed to develop products for this hair type," explains Federici, "I called it a blinding glimpse of the obvious—BGO.” They partnered and together they launched Frieda’s first product, Frizz-Ease Hair Serum. The innovative sealant quickly became a favorite of celebrity stylists whose clients included Nicole Kidman, Gwyneth Paltrow, and Blake Lively. Fast forward 25 years: the serum is a cult classic with 2.1 units selling every minute.

Federici is also the mastermind behind Sheer Blonde, a range that specifically caters to golden strands. Categorizing hair types by hue was an industry first and forever changed the way women addressed their color needs (brunettes and redheads soon demanded versions of their own). “One of Gail's great strengths is that she can almost see the future,” Frieda says about his former partner, and he is not alone in his praise. Women's Wear Daily has dubbed Federici “The Unstoppable Entrepreneur” for her serial ability to identify and tackle collective hair woes. Inevitably, Federici will have another lightbulb moment—and we eagerly await the outcome. 


What is the atmosphere of your bedroom?

Everything is soft white: a fluffy white rug, a soft white couch, a simple white Moroccan-inspired bed. The room is very serene and has a fireplace surrounded by bookshelves jammed with lots of my favorite books.

Please describe your bed and your favorite thing about it.

My bed is overflowing with big, white, soft pillows and a billowy off-white down comforter. [They make] me feel like I'm floating on a cloud. 

What time do you wake up?

Around 7 a.m.

How many hours of sleep do you require?

I think I require seven or eight, but generally get six. 

Any bedside beauty essentials?

My sleep mask.    


Do you drink coffee or tea, eat breakfast?

I have to have a cup of coffee the minute I get up. I'm not a morning person. I usually don't eat until noon.

Do you work out in the a.m.?

Not necessarily.   


What is your morning skincare regimen?

I start by cleansing with Time Bomb Take-Off Time Cleanse + Buff, then I apply a Time Bomb Complexion Cocktail (usually one with a shot of H2Omega), the Mizon Hyaluronic Acid 100, Shangpree Brightening Perfection Essence Emulsion, Time Bomb Collagen Bomb, and Time Bomb Glory Days 4-in-1 Daily Moisturizer.  

What makeup and products do you use on a daily basis?

I use MyFace foundation, Charlotte Tilbury Pillowtalk lip pencil and Pillowtalk lipstick to make my lips look fuller, Bobbi Brown blush in tawny, and TooFaced Better Than Sex mascara.

What’s your hair situation in the a.m.?

I have very wavy, frizzy hair and it's major bedhead in the morning—and not in a good way :)  I either pull it back in a knot or ponytail, or rock a baseball cap.


What’s the first thing you read each morning?

Emails and the New York Times.

What business do you conduct before 10:00 a.m.?

I answer emails, make lists and call the U.K.

What time do you head to your office?

Around 8:30 a.m.