Going blonde for summer is not something new and is a trend that pops up every year. When summer approaches, it’s the ideal time to change up your hair to something a bit more fun, bright and light. We visited The Chapel in Islington and had the blonde transformation done by Michelle. She guided us through how to create the perfect blonde look for naturally darker hair, the best ways to maintain the colour and tips for home care.
It’s no secret that lightening products can cause damage and you need to keep up with hairdresser appointments to maintain a lighter hair. It’s also important to be realistic about the end colour. Going a few shades lighter than your current colour is possible but switching drastically to a bright platinum blonde isn’t – not without damage.
Your stylist should definitely be able to give you advice on the best tone for you and what is possible to achieve. It can be a bit of a process if your intention is to go a few shades lighter. For natural browns or darker colours, start with some highlights and work your way up from there. Before even beginning any treatment, the consultation is really important. It sets realistic boundaries for what you can achieve and what your hair can tolerate.
Michelle looked at my existing colour, my roots and the strength/existing damage to my hair. As it’s naturally very dark, there needed to be some slightly darker tones in there to prevent harsh regrowth and highlights are the best option to create a more natural look. Keeping this in mind, the colour on the roots of my hair weren’t altered. Instead, Michelle added in some lighter tones which were subtle and will shimmer as they grow out.
Then she put some highlights all over, and added some lighter ones at the front to frame my face creating an instant blonde look at the front which made my hair look brighter. Using the balayage technique on the rest of my hair (which literally means ‘to sweep’) was the next step. This technique looks different on everyone and means that hair colour looks much more natural because the regrowth lines are softer and less noticeable. After washing out the highlights, Michelle used Olaplex which mends the bonds that are separated in the hair as a result of damage, and then gave it a healthy (but scary at first) cut to ensure it looked it’s best.
So, how do we maintain this hair over the summer?
There’s no point going into a salon and spending a huge amount of money on your hair if you’re not planning to look after it yourself. Conditioning treatments, correct products and regular maintenance is the only way to keep your hair strong and healthy. Highlighted hair doesn’t need top ups too regularly but everyone’s growth is different. It can range from 6-12 weeks, and even then some people may just need a toner top up. Michelle says that depending on the individual, some can get highlights done twice each year with two toner top ups in between to maintain the colour.
Tips from Michelle at The Chapel
- As much as the words ‘hair’ and ‘cut’ in a sentence may be the scariest thing you’ve heard, getting a regular cut is so important to maintain healthy locks. Michelle says that instead of focusing on what’s been cut off, we should focus on what we have left. She advises me to shift my attention to the end product rather than the hair that’s been left on the floor. It’s a good way to look at it, considering what I’m left with is a beautiful, healthy looking head of hair.
- Having naturally curly hair, Michelle also took notice of not going too many shades lighter than the shade of blonde I was previously to avoid damaging the hair too much. The techniques she used also prevent harsh regrowth, so by not using bleach too often I won’t ruin my curls.
- When washing your hair, shampoo twice instead of just the once. The first time just cleans it, whereas the second wash gives it a real thorough cleanse and gets rid of all the dirt that you may have missed the first time round. You may notice it doesn’t lather up as much the second time so just add a bit more water.
- Massaging the hair when conditioning is really important for natural, healthy hair growth and stimulates the follicles. Focus on the ends when conditioning and give it a good massage. Healthy hair holds colour better so looking after it is crucial.
- If you’re going to straighten your hair, a hairdryer is the preferred way to do so because it’s less harsh and damaging than straighteners. When hair is still wet, blow dry while pulling the hair over the paddle brush. This does most of the work for you so it’s more time efficient and a good way to straighten the hair before using a round brush to finish it off.
Side note: The Chapel will make you feel like you’re in a hotel. Prepare for luxurious service, glasses of wine handed to you and healthy looking hair that you can swish around.