Being a hair dye virgin, I must admit, I have always found the prospect of getting the foil and bleach out a little daunting. Every time the thought crossed my mind, questions like, ‘will my hair get damaged?’ or ‘what if it looks horrendous??’ circled my brain until I eventually convinced myself it just was not for me. To be completely honest, my experience with hair dye of any sort, was pretty much limited to a bi-monthly chore of box dying my dad’s greys with a toothbrush.

Having minimally tinkered with my hair since birth, I recently had an unexpected moment of spontaneity and decided to take the plunge. Actually, it wasn’t completely spontaneous—I was inspired by my sister Jas—she has a lot of greys and seems to be going for the Cruella de Vil look lately (sorry Jas!). Anyway I was her guinea pig, and she too, will soon be getting hers done!

Right, first and foremost, my sister and I were a little obsessed with finding the perfect salon. We wanted a place with good hair reviews at affordable prices. Some salons offer hiked up prices in exchange for extras such as a glass of champagne on arrival. For us, this just sounded like unnecessary kerfuffle so we stayed clear of these options, seeking rather the skill and ability for our money. Having very long, thick hair, we needed an accommodating place that was willing to take on the challenge—some were not so keen . Trawling the internet, luckily we stumbled upon a cosy hair salon tucked away in West Hampstead called Crystalise Salon. This place had everything we were after, highly skilled staff, with creative vision and a genuine passion for what they do (not to mention great prices & discounts)—perfect.

The day of the appointment arrived. I felt mixed emotions. A little apprehensive about this decision, it was now or never and I knew I could not back out. Equally, the rebel inside of me (which I rarely let out), couldn’t wait to just go for it. Jas & I travelled quite far to get to West Hampstead. Luckily we arrived just in time to grab some lunch and a coffee before the appointment (I say luckily, as the appointment ended up lasting around 4 hours). We arrived to a very warm welcome. I didn’t have time to research extensively about what I was after, so asked for a warm brown/subtle reddish balayage with Olaplex to limit the damage. I wanted a balayage as opposed to highlights as it is more subtle and blended. Balayage is a technique in which hair is delicately painted with dye in a natural and blended manner. I was not too nervous at this point as I saw all the other customers looking beautiful with their new hair, so immediately felt confident that I was in great hands. I was a little confused though, as I had always believed balayage is done without foils—I guess every colourist has their own method.

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Me, with my black hair pre-dye. I hate this pic, but Jas seems to think it’s nice.

Within a couple of minutes, the foils were out. I don’t think I had mentally prepared myself for this point, but felt a sudden gush of excitement that overcame any doubts. It took a good hour to get all my hair foiled up, an additional 45 minutes to let it all marinade (not too sure of the technical term for this). With the lovely atmosphere and the staff regularly offering tea or coffee, the time went by pretty quickly.

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All foiled up like a jacket potato.

When the foils were removed, I was in utter shock. My hair was bright red. The colour of a London bus. Although I was on a daring streak this was a little too far. Fortunately the hair stylist had no issues with toning it down for me.

The result was better than I could ever have expected. A fiery mahogany brown/red. The perfect shade that I could not have described even if I had tried. In fact, I was so happy with the results, I had to give the salon a tip! The Olaplex treatment has left my hair feeling healthy, it is still in the newly blow dried state so I can’t fully commit to an opinion on the success of this treatment, but I can honestly say that my hair doesn’t feel particularly damaged after the bleach—which I somewhat attribute to the strengthening power of Olaplex.

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I got home and couldn’t wait to play with my new locks. Here are a few styles I tried out…

Red Balayage 7

Red Balayage 3

Balayage 1

Red balayage 4

 

Red balayage 9

Baayage 10

I have found that I need to tone down my make-up a bit now though, I use more neutral colours…with nude lipsticks looking the best to offset my new fiery locks.