Like many women I know, my hair and how it looks is one of the most important parts of my personal style. I'm not afraid to give it a makeover and try something new and over the years I have been from shoulder length highlighted blonde, to a few inches long, to bra strap length and almost black, to today just below the chin with a mixture of warm gold and copper blended with my natural colour.
The constant striving for perfect hair has finally ended and I am happier now than I have ever been with it. The following story of my hair history, will illustrate why I am so pleased to have finally found a salon that I wouldn't hesitate in recommending.
You may have heard me tell the story that I was born blonde and saw my hair grow naturally darker and more mousy into my thirties. All that changed when I had my children and my hair started to go much darker (actually complementing my naturally dark eyes and eyebrows) and at that point I was ready to embrace a little drama. I stopped having highlights and embraced being a brunette. As I headed towards my 50th birthday, I also decided to do the opposite of what most women do and grew my hair long, the longest it has ever been.
Just before my Big Birthday
It's funny how when you think you have achieved the Holy Grail you have been chasing - in my case the long curls - you realise it's not all it's cracked up to be. At the point I realised this there was a new hair trend filling Pinterest Boards - the messy bob.
Never one to be cautious, I decided to head to a new hairdresser for my makeover. Actually one very close to home and luckily I was delighted with the result. At this point some natural highlights had started to invade my brunette so I decided to go back to adding a few lighter colours to blend them in.
My messy bob
The story could have ended here, except for the purposes of the blog, I decided to try out a "top" London salon who specialised in this style and had one of London's "best" (call that most expensive!) colourists. I had seen her recommended more than once on Instagram. My first visit for a cut went well and I came away looking forward to my colour appointment. That's when things started to go wrong. I really didn't hit it off with the colourist, she came across as totally disinterested. After taking about 10 minutes to hand paint a few streaks of blonde into my hair and touching up my root colour, I was presented with what I can only describe as the kind of bill you need to look at sitting down. Stupidly, six weeks later I returned for my next audience with her, thinking perhaps I was imagining it. This time she spent even less time with me. When I was paying my again extortionate bill, the colourist came to the stairs and nodded at me from afar.
My hair disaster after colour by a "top London Colourist"
The next day Liz was looking at my hair and she pointed out that it really didn't look good. Because she could see the top of my head, she could see the ring of almost black hair for about two inches from the root which didn't blend with the almost white blonde strands of colour that had been added. After several emails back and forward, the salon refunded my second appointment. As I was just about to head to Dallas for the RewardStyle Blogger Conference I was devastated.
Forward to the Spring of 2018 and I decided to try out Ombre colouring which I liked with my layered hair.
My Ombre Look
At the beginning of this year I had more highlights added, thinking that it would blend in the grey. But the ends got really bleached out and they were very dry.
Then in the Summer the stylist I had been using went on maternity leave and unfortunately I was really disappointed with the colour her replacement gave me. I headed off on holiday in September feeling really fed up with my hair. I had dark roots, blocks of highlights and a smattering of my "natural highlights" growing through too. And the condition of my hair was really bad after 2 holidays in the sun and all that bleach.
Before my makeover
Lying in bed ill on my return from holiday, I decided to try and find another salon. I was obviously due some hair luck, because I remembered that a local salon, Eden Lounge, had relocated to our lovely regenerated town square. I looked them up online and discovered that I could book online too. You might be surprised that I would do this, but I had passed the salon from the outside and the owner Denise, although younger than me, was definitely over 30. This is nothing against stylists or colourists under 30, but I want someone who understands my age group. I don't want to look younger, I just want to look my best.
When I walked in the door, I immediately felt comfortable. In fact Denise put me at ease straight away by sitting me down and really listening to what I wanted. She talked me through some ideas, as well as getting out an iPad to show me on Pinterest what she was thinking. She suggested ways to give me a new style that I could develop over time if I wasn't confident enough to just go for it.
After my cut
As we chatted, I told her that I also wanted to get my colour sorted out. The timing was perfect because Eden Lounge were just about to swap to a new range of products by Philip Martin's who offer Non-Toxic hair colouring. Henne - a true organic hair colour system, uses the highest quality and selection of raw materials combined with bio oils which are extremely functional for the coloring process. It gives brightness and lasting colour with natural shine.
I arranged to come back the following week for colour. I can only describe the colour session as a work of art and a real demonstration of Denise's expertise and understanding of colour. As colour is such a big part of what I do I really appreciated her skill and attention to detail.
She looked at the natural depth of my colour at the roots and those "natural highlights" that were growing though. We agreed that we liked the warmth of the blonde on my hair but it was too block. I told Denise that I was really loving wearing all of the gorgeous Autumnal colours around at the moment and as I have a warm skin tone I knew some additional warmth in my hair would suit me. She suggested that we keep the depth the same as my root colour but that she add a shade with more warmth and richness that could be pulled through to the ends to break up the lighter ends. Next she painted on strands of copper and gold to give a multi dimensional and on trend, seasonal pop of colour and contrast.
After Colour - I love all those warm tones
The result, when I saw it in the pictures one of the team took were stunning. I had been a little unsure about losing the lighter blonde but actually, Denise was absolutely right. When I look in the mirror I can see that the colour works so well with my dark eyes and actually makes them stand out. It also means that black works better on me too, mixed with those lovely deep Autumn reds and greens.
I am so delighted to find a salon with an inviting and relaxing atmosphere - you even get a choice of aromatherapy oil on your towel. From the receptionist to the junior who gave me a hand massage you can tell that the salon is dedicated to providing an excellent experience and that they are a real team.
And a week later, what about my cut and colour? I had so many compliments in my direct messages on Instagram when I posted the pictures of my cut and colour. My hair feels really soft and in much better condition than it ever has when I have had it coloured. As far as styling it is concerned I can dry it smooth, scrunch it, add curls or waves. I really feel like I have back my crowning glory. Never underestimate the confidence great hair can give you. A huge thank you to Denise for her care and giving me back hair confidence.
A week later - look at that gorgeous shine
If you want to try Eden Lounge, new guests can get 20% discount off their first visit. If you do go, please tell them Maria sent you, because I would love them to know that they come highly recommended from me.