To brighten my spirits up in this miserable English weather I decided to dye my hair blonde - a colour I've always wanted to try. May I take a brief moment here to inform you that my life doesn't evolve round shopping and beauty, but when you’re a busy woman doing a dissertation in neurolinguistics, it’s nice to indulge in a few hobbies and interests. And as Carrie Bradshaw said in one Sex and the City episode, “Shopping is my cardio”.
Going blonde was a first for me (I was born with a vibrant shiny blonde mop of hair, which over the years vanished into a dull (dare I say it) 'mousey brown', or 'ash blonde' as I prefer to call it. Anyway, it looked dull and some days was verging on grey, and as my copper/auburn tint was growing out and turning more into a 'dip-dye' effect, I decided to take the plunge and go Barbie blonde.
Another first, was trying out a new hair salon. I've been to the same salon in Warwickshire since I could chose where to have my hair cut, and am terrified of trying anywhere new in case they attack my hair with scissors and charge me an extortionate amount for the nest they've created on my head. Then quite by chance, my landlady gave me a business card for Beach hair offering 50% off the first appointment. I had already trawled through a few hair salon websites all based in Brighton, but they seemed impersonal and I really didn't want to be hunting round Brighton trying to find the place. I set up an appointment with Beach hair, and then spent the week wondering if I should cancel it - should I really go blonde? And don't you just hate it when hair has a habit of looking perfect a day before you're due for a hair appointment?
I turned up to the salon, with help from my trusty SatNav and the joys of free online street parking (never would have got that in Brighton centre). When I produced a photo of Cara Delevingne and announced I was 'going blonde' (despite mentioning this when booking the appointment), the whole room stopped and everyone gasped, immediately causing panic inside. Oh god, was I making a huge, terrible mistake?
Turns out Michelle, the hair stylist, gasped as she thought I was booked in for a tint, which definitely wouldn't have worked on my hair. The lady being roasted under the hair heater gasped because... Well, it would be a dramatic change and she added I already looked lovely, and the hair assistant gasped as they were on a very tight schedule and doing a full head of highlights is a very long job. Turns out, it's a 4 hour long job.
We had to do a practice test on a strand of hair as I'd already got red tint in my hair, and Michelle was worried the peroxide would turn out pink. Fortunately that wasn't the case so we ploughed on. As I didn't have anywhere to be, the time it took didn't matter - I sat catching up on a mountain of trashy gossip mags (Jordan's trip to hospital, Chanelle hitting a size 16, Kate Moss in a bikini) with my hair in a tonne of foils, and Michelle juggling other clients in between checking the status of my hair.
When it was time to rip out the foils, I started to get rather nervous as what was slowly appearing looked like I was channeling Cruella de Ville, with silvery white streaks in sparse places on my hair. Anyway, after a gorgeous head massage over the basin followed by a hair mask, and complete with a back massaging chair for 30 minutes (pure luxury), I sat back in the chair and watched them blow dry it to a fabulous multi-tone blonde. I think I was still in a bit of shock, and not ready to believe that it wasn't a wig, but at the time they loved it more than I did. I am pleased to say that my hair condition stayed in it's soft and silky form, although a tangle brush has become a necessity.
With the voucher, I paid far less than I would ever have imagined, especially considering the time they spent on me! A week later and I have just about got used to my new colour, and able to share knowledge on a few things every fully-fledged blonde should have, to stop your hair from crying out (I still feel bad for bleaching it).
Perfectil Hair, Skin and Nails tablets
I mentioned these in my November Recommendations, but these are incroyable. I just can't put the condition of my skin down to coincidence. I have so few spots now that it's practically one-a-month, and as a result I'm using less concealer under my foundation. My hair has always been in good condition but I feel these pills limit hair breakages and encourage growth, thickness and volume, and my nails are shiny and strong, seeming to grow millimetres in my sleep, and chips/ breakages are far and few (if at all, actually).
Mark Hill Heat Protection Spray
I never used to use a hairdryer - or any heat products on my hair (not intentionally), but thought with the right products to protect hair from heat, drying my hair would increase volume, boost shine, and save me going to bed with wet hair. Plus, with my new bleached hair, I'd probably end up with a matted tangle. I bought the TRESemme 2200 power dryer earlier in January, and with tourmaline-ceramic and ionic technology for frizz free hair, and it's amazing. Lightly spritz your hair with two or three pumps of protection spray - do not douse - and then style or blow dry with a good quality heating-item that will not cremate your hair or attempt to sauté the ends. FYI, the TRESemme hair dryer is light, quiet, dries my hair pretty damn quickly, and doesn't attempt to eat my hair up through the fan. Another recommendation! The Mark Hill spray is great as it's a light, non-greasy spray, and doesn't leave residue.
John Frieda Sheer Blonde Shampoo/Conditioners
Is there any other brand of hair that's designed for blondes? I cannot think of any other. I did a mix and match bundle (Boots - 3 John Frieda products for £10), and bought the Everlasting blonde colour preserving conditioner, containing safflower oil and bergamot extract to work as a colour-preserving formula, and the JF Highlight-activating moisturising shampoo/conditioner, with jojoba oil, sunflower and white tea complex. The everlasting colour seems a good one to add to your shampoo/conditioner combination for the obvious reason of getting your money's worth in your hair-dying session, by keeping the colour brighter for longer, along with the ‘highlight-activating’ which just sounds magical. I’ve always found with all the John Frieda products that they keep hair soft, they’re not foamy or chemical smelling, and they leave my hair with such volume it looks like I’ve back-brushed the hell out of it. I think this is an obvious choice for anyone with coloured hair, particularly a light blonde to stop if from fading into a dull shade (incidentally, the ‘Luxurious Volume’ range is very good if you’re on the hunt for a regular shampoo/conditioner).
Tangle Teezer hairbrush
BUY IT. Do not think twice, do not pass go, do not collect £200. Just buy it. My two paddle brushes remain unused and at the back of my drawer ever since I brought this snazzy gem into my life. Particularly after dying your hair, hair tangles together more easily (before I never had knots... ever!), so invest in a brush that isn't going to just rip clumps of hair out from your scalp. Retail is £10, but oh-my-god it's a piece of heaven on earth. Mermaids brush their hair with these. When you emerge from a shower, and no matter how much conditioner you use, you're left with a shocking matted knot of bleached hair. It's a sorry sight. Even running my fingers through my hair is a no-go, I'm telling you, this is the ONLY brush that will save your hair and leave you with smooth, soft, knot-free and fluffy-looking locks. There's even a range of colours to choose from, and doesn't take up much room in your handbag either. You know you need it.
MoroccanOil Oil Treatment
And I’m still harping on about this stuff. IT’S AMAZING. It should be an essential to anyone with hair. I even run it through the boyfriend’s hair if I’m feeling particularly generous, for soft and shiny hair. If you’ve dyed your hair, you will get split ends. You’ll get split ends regardless of whatever situation, unless you have your hair cut weekly. So invest in a pot of Moroccan Oil to maintain the bottom of your hair, reduce spilt ends and keep it in top-notch condition without clogging it up or weighing it down with grease. I think out of everything I’ve recommended in this post, the top two must-haves for dyed hair is a Tangle Teezer brush and the MoroccanOil Oil Treatment. The others are just to help keep it in good condition!
the crazy happenings in my life