David Allen

Meet David Allen: the tattooist behind this year’s ghd pink campaign

Lauren ghd: always a good news story

David AllenNow in it’s 15th year, this year’s ghd pink campaign is the most moving yet and it’s all thanks to Chicago-based mastectomy tattoo artist, David Allen.

Since 2010, David has been using art to support women affected by breast cancer following surgery. As the only editable design, flowers are used as they symbolise life, rebirth and femininity, empowering women and giving back the control over their bodies. 

David AllenMaking his mark

“I had open heart surgery when I was 9 months old – and so I was aware of scars and markings on the body,” explains David. “You start to know your good and bad angles – what is and isn’t comfortable.”

He adds: “I had a woman in New York keep getting in touch about my tattoos. She said she liked the femininity of the tattoos I create. She had had a single mastectomy and construction and wanted me to tattoo where her scarring was, but no – I hadn’t ever done this kind of tattoo before and knew that the skin would have healed differently. She was so persistent that I ended up flying to Baltimore to meet her and discuss with her further. 

“During the process, she cried the whole time; her husband was also in tears because she wasn’t previously able to look at herself because she didn’t recognise her body. Suddenly throughout this process, her body became hers again – she took control and decided how she wanted her body to look when it had been previously been something she wasn’t able to control. It was overwhelming. You don’t often get to help someone and see direct results.”

Following this emotional event, David posted his work on social media and it wasn’t long before it went viral and he had an influx of people wanting him to help them.

David AllenCollaboration with ghd

“The connection with ghd and this partnership makes sense,” explains David. “The amount of effort, thought and money the brand puts in to helping women with cancer all over the world is extraordinary.

“When I work with my clients, it takes time, we build back their confidence together and these incredible women open up to me. Much like the time you spend with your hairstylist; that intimacy and power of transformation is akin to one another. Stylists help in the process of reclaiming femininity especially during sensitive times when facing hair loss. There’s definitely synergy between my role and theirs – hairdressers enable women to feel beautiful and build in confidence.”

Ink on Pink collection

When it came to designing the Ink on Pink straightener, David was totally hands on and treated the tool as if it were an arm or a leg on a person’s body. Following the same process that he would with the mastectomy tattoos, he picked the flowers, photographed them, hand drew different patterns and finally came up with 30 to 40 ideas. We’re in love with the final design. 

For more good hair news from ghd, click HERE.


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