Toca Hair Salon 3: Finding Just the Right Look

Lead artist Rebecca Tell shares inspiration and goals for app.

Parker Barry

hair_salon_3_charactersWith Toca Hair Salon 3, we wanted to give kids as much freedom as possible to play however they wanted. We gave the characters different personalities, but it’s in the kids’ hands to tell the full story — we are just inspiring them to do whatever they want and giving them the tools to do so.

We include dozens of character presets, so every time a player opens the app there will be new faces to play with. If you don’t like the current setup, you can just press the randomize button and four new characters will pop up! This way you get a fresh play feeling with new salon customers for a much longer time.

Creating a gender-neutral hair salon app

The previous Hair Salon apps, while loved by kids and grown-ups alike, were sometimes criticized for not having “pretty” characters, especially for the characters of color. That was one of the most important things that I wanted to improve when I started working on Toca Hair Salon 3. To stay true to Toca Boca’s commitment to gender-neutral products, I wanted to make characters who were “pretty” but not necessarily girly. All of the characters are pretty neutrally designed and could be either boys or girls, even if some lean more toward one or the other of the genders.

At the end of the project we made some eyelashes a bit smaller to be able to gender-bend more, which I think is really nice! Because usually if a character has big eyelashes they are considered girls almost instantly. We noticed pretty fast, though, that even characters who wore dresses were instantly made men if they grew a beard, which is really interesting!

All of the characters are pretty neutrally designed and could be either boys or girls.


“Quirky boy” moodboard

’80s vibe inspired by Back to the Future Part II

The salon is very inspired by ’80s and a little bit of ’90s. When I knew I was going to make a Toca Hair Salon app, I immediately thought about the movie Back To The Future Part II — it’s one of my favorite movies. My inspiration was how people in the ’80s thought 2016 would look if it was the setting in a movie back then. Shapes that are modern but a bit retro, with nice colors to match. It was important that it wouldn’t feel old, but look more interesting and different from the other Toca Hair Salon apps.


A scene from the 1989 film Back to the Future Part II, set in the year 2015

The salon is very inspired by ’80s and a little bit of ’90s.

I am very happy with the way the salon turned out, and I had some great help from our 3D artist Félix Roman, who also made all of the tools and an incredible amount of other things in the app. Later in the project Typhaine Uro joined and made a lot of the accessories and stickers that you can use to style your character.


Moodboard for hair salon tools

foam-can scissors hairdryer curling-tool comb camera  big-color-can big-braiding-tool

Tools from Toca Hair Salon 3


The idea behind the stickers and accessories is to be able to have a more Snapchat/Instagram feeling to your finished picture. Stickers are the best thing about so many apps these days, and I thought it would be a lot of fun to be able to add it already in the app.

Watch the Toca Hair Salon 3 trailer to check out the fun ’80s vibe:

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