If you follow me you know I’ve been hating my hair since I cut it last year. To make things worse, I had dyed it a really dark shade brown (almost black) in a whim thinking it would look pinup-esque (which it did), and fabulous (not all the time). The only occasions I was ever happy with this color was when I would channel my inner Dita Von Teese and glam it up, full-blown pinup style. The rest of the time, I just wasn’t happy with my look. You know? Like those days that no matter what you do to your makeup, your outfit and your hair, you still look in the mirror and sigh…That was me every day (soo dramatic), until my hair was graced by the hands of Adrian at Studio Chroma. I was a nervous wreck during the consultation. I kept worrying, “What if I don’t like it? What if I make another mistake? Can my hair tolerate any more processing?”
Adrian was super patient and sweet and explained to me everything that needed to be done in order for us to achieve the look I wanted: Natural-looking, lighter hair that melted from top to bottom. This my friends, is called Balayage which is French word for “sweeping” or “painting” and is also referred to as “hair painting”. Each strand of hair is hand-painted with bleach. The technique requires two brushes: The wet brush that applies the bleach, and then a dry, round powder brush (think blush brush) to spread it up towards the roots. This technique has become extremely popular in the last few years, replacing the traditional foil highlights that originate at the roots.
A lot of dark-haired babes have been asking me for the details regarding the process and cannot believe how shiny and healthy my hair looks, even after all the processing. Here’s the inside scoop:
- Color Lift: Yup, as the name describes it, a chemical product was applied to open up the hair cuticle and quite literally lift the dark dye out of my hair. The result was a funny shade of golden auburn.
- New Base Color: A little bit of color background – I had applied a 4 to achieve a dark (daaaark) brown. Black is a zero (as in the absence of light). The higher the number, the lighter the color. Adrian mixed a 6 and 7 to achieve my new base which is a warm, golden shade of brown that is one shade lighter than my natural hair color (I didn’t want my natural roots to be super obvious). By this time in the process, I was in love with my hair again. I looked younger, my features looked softer and you could actually appreciate the style of the haircut which has now grown into a super chic LOB.
- Balayage: This was the fun part. I looooved watching Adrian work his magic. He was totally “in the zone” and it was obvious he absolutely loves what he does for a living. This is by far the longest part of the process as the technique requires teasing each strand and hand painting it. The processing time for the bleach is 45 minutes and your hair determines how light it will get as bleach automatically stops working at that time. If your hair doesn’t reach the level of blonde you want, a second session must be scheduled as it is not recommended to re-apply bleach because it compromises the integrity and well-being of the hair. This makes sense, who wants blonde, but fried tresses?
- Olaplex: After washing out the bleach, this product which is the holy grail of hair restoration products is applied and left for 20 minutes. Olaplex was designed by chemists who couldn’t find a product that would allow them to safely bleach hair to platinum levels without compromising the safety of the hair. This is THE ONLY product in existence that restores the bonds INSIDE the hair and repairs it from within. At the moment, it is only available in salons. The good news? L’Oreal just bought it and will make it available for at-home use in the near future (hooray!).
- Toning: You thought we were done? Not quite. A toner is applied to reach the desired level of color in the newly bleached hair. This can be anywhere from brassy oranges, to golden honeys, to ashy shades of beige. It is a trial and error process. My strands still came out too yellow after the first round of toner so a second round was necessary.
So after nearly six hours in the salon and driving everyone there crazy (because I can’t keep my mouth shut), I walked out with the hair of my dreams. I feel like a brand new woman! It’s amazing what the power of the hair can do. My complexion looks brighter, my makeup looks better, and my fiancé loves his new, happy blondie.
I know you’re wondering how much this set me back…The truth? It was $390 (yes, it is obscene) and worth every single penny because I feel like a million bucks and my hair is as healthy as before. When it comes to beauty, especially with hair services, you get what you pay for. AND I’M RIDICULOUS LIKE THAT. So whatevs.
So, if you want the perfect Balayage, all you need is $185 and Adrian is the one to call. Just be prepared to wait as he has about a six-week wait for an appointment (yes, he is THAT good). In the meantime, you can drool over his Instagram: @hairdisigner.
*This is not a sponsored post. All opinions are my own.