Nicky Lazou Review - Worth the hair hype?

HI! Hey! I'm here! Eeek I'm back on my blog, weird feelings all round! I've been away for a few reason and I'll go into these in another post but after a rocky few months, the first thing that I definitely want to select from my HUGE 'to post' blog topic list is when I had my hair done by Nicky Lazou!

You might already follow this balayage queen for not only the fun content but also her thumb-stopping before/after shots of 'before' hair looking brassy, frizzy and yellow next to some seriously luscious 'after' locks. I was scrolling one day and saw a girl comment that Nicky lives in Birmingham. Say what? Now this was around November time when I was about to head off to Dubai and was probably feeling super flush. I'd been blonde-ish for a while but the upkeep of highlights was putting a strain on my time and the quality of my hair, which I use heat on every day also when curling it or drying it. For the first time in around five years, I was considering going back to my ginger roots too! A big step, but if anyone could get me there, I hoped Nicky would.

Now be warned: I've probably never wrote a post so passionately about hair but Nicky has relit my fire! And I'm a hair girl through and through. Growing up it was what stood out most about me, and while this might have prompted some tormenting mostly by random people in the street (nice), if you have ginger hair, a lot of people will say nice things too. I've strayed from my colour and to tried new looks, but last year I kept noticing people with such beautiful red hair and it planted the seed to go back to natural.

After a few texts I'd booked my Nicky appointment and had an idea of prices. Warning: this ain't cheap, but I'll go into that later. I'm very much a person who doesn't spend without thought, but if I decide I really want something, I will find a means to achieve that purchase! I'm not impulsive but I'm not afraid to spend either, and I really wanted my hair to go right.

I had a few reservations but off I went to the nearby countryside on a Saturday morning, pulling up to the beautiful setting of Nicky's space. Along with helping hands from her family, there are a few large, chic basement rooms in Nicky's home where she works here magic. I assumed I would be the only client but there are a few girls there at a time, each at different stages of dying, toning or perfecting. It's a really welcoming vibe, with girly conversation and Drake in the air. And after being there a few minutes, I realised other girls has travelled from further than London!

First up is your consultation with Nicky, where I showed in a bunch of photos and discussed what my aim was - to take my top half to my natural colour and cascade blonde balayage through the middle and ends. As mentioned to most of the girls that arrived while I was there, on Instagram everyone thinks you can go from dark to light in one sitting, when in fact going from brown to blonde can take time, especially if you naturally have darker hair. Even I needed two sessions to take my colour as light as I wanted, and that's just because Nicky will not damage your hair, even if you want to pay the price for platinum. Even if you beg to go lighter than light, it won't happen. That was an over riding vibe you get from Nicky - she will not go down the road of treating you as an anonymous customer and delivering something that is going to ruin your hair down the line. She won't slap the bleach on and take you there! This was fine by me as I didn't mind having a second session in a few months if this one went well. Soon I was under foils and the process had begun!

Even though it isn't a salon experience, it's actually really chilled at Nicky's and you leave feeling relaxed and fantastic. She literally preaches the hair gospel as she works by revealing tips, tricks and science behind hair, and you really start to appreciate the art that goes into this. Nicky also has thick, dry, darker hair and so she knows the advice to give. It's really inspiring to hear her hair secrets and as you are getting the 'Nicky' treatment, it feels even more special! She explained how the dyes used for my hair were especially expensive and unique too as I requested a warm, golden, honey colour, whereas most blonde stay clear of anything warm or 'brassy'. I thought she had her work cut out for her really as you can see from my 'before' picture below!

As I was having my treatment, I saw the girls around me emerge with such incredible hair, literally seeing the transformation before my eyes! Soon my blow dry was complete and the change was insane! I have no idea how she took my all-over streaky hair to smooth on top and blonde on the ends?! And I'm a red head - these dyes are hard to come by. We've all seen the 'natural' red head box dyes in Superdrug that are bright orange or dark with a flash of red in certain lights. I was so pleased to have something unique again, though the colour was a touch darker than my natural hue. Nicky promised that the blonde ends would also brighten after washes, rather than going yellow after washes. I can confirm this is true;  after the first few washes my blonde layers turned even more true and bright.

Nicky didn't even know I had a blog before visiting (this is not a prompted review - I paid full price!) and I cannot tell you how just lovely and open she is naturally, and so complimentary and sweet. She treats each customer like their hair is a precious jewel in her hands and the goal is always to do something that she knows is a beautiful style, as after all, it's her name attached.

I also returned a few months later to take my roots to my lightest, most natural colour, and the ends even more sun-kissed for spring. Nicky and her sister remembered me which I was so surprised about as they see so many girls, but the repeat customers do speak for themselves, and many girls while I were there had been multiple times. Her sister adds so much to the team too - she's just fabulous.

Now I have the colour of dreams! I have not touched it for months and never need to because it will just grow out - there are no roots! This is the beauty of balayage.


Are you considering visiting Nicky? First I would manage expectations and consider how many sessions you would need to get your desired colour. Consult a few salons and think about if it's money you won't regret, as it will set you back a few hundred pounds.

Balayage is all about the subtly, and we're so used to seeing a major contrast of hair colours that ombre gives, Keep in mind that balayage tricks the eye - the top and bottom colour are totally different yet the result is so seamless that most people will not be fixated on the transition, and may not even notice! But hair looks thicker, glossier, lighter, and full of body and warmth, without the brass. Nicky does it her way and I admire her for that because true authenticity can take you far.

It's not like a 5* hotel experience or a VIP day out when you visit Nicky - she's set up at home because people are willing to come to her from far and wide. Leaving with a perfect blow dry isn't the goal (although for the record, it's really lovely), it's the colour that should be your deciding factor.


If you want a 1;1 salon experience, this isn't it, but does it need to be? Nicky is clear in what is offered and if super light hair is your goal, you would either go a few times or leave with damaged hair in one trip that could be brassy and orange. There will be other girls there during the experience but it's because the demand is SO high. And this is Nicky's style; she's not a salon, she's a talented hairdresser who gets the work done. I'd happily skip the head massage, etc, as long as my hair is looking the best it can.

And being part of the 'Nicky club' is so cool. I feel like I've bought a designer bag - I could survive without one, but it just feels like it has that extra sparkle, even 6 months on. It really gave a  confidence boost, not only from the results I was so pleased with but from the experience in general. Will I be back? Yes!

Hair Thoughts: Irresistible Me Sapphire 8 in 1 Curling Wand


I've always felt like a 'hair girl' as I'm lucky to have a few traits that on the one hand are awesome. but they could also be considered as not so heaven-sent. Super thick hair that raises even a hairdresser's eyebrows is a money-can't-buy thing but it also means it takes me at least 40 minutes to do a 'quick' blow dry that inevitably ends up five times bigger in the morning. By big I mean it has layers and layers of volume and texture, so there's never any need for extensions but also it's a one way ticket to frizzville in rain. The dry texture means I will never have the sleekest locks, but whatever I do to it will stick. Curls will last days and days until they are washed out, and I only need to wash my hair every four days as it doesn't go greasy, just frizzier and dryer! So I have no hair complaints but it is work, and I wouldn't change it as you should always count your blessings. I wouldn't change anything about myself as I try to work with what I've got, and remember beauty is in the eye of the beholder, not an industry standard rule book!

I've really been pondering recently how individuality is actually hard to form or indulge in today as there is so much inspiration and trend saturation out there. With Instagram, Tumblr, blogging and vlogging, it feels like I'm gulping in other people's style in droves rather than considering myself as a blank canvas and exploring my own style. You know I'm a huge Tumblr fan and I feel like my choices are a mash up of those already made by others, but I try to also tune into what I gravitate towards naturally. There's no feeling like an item or product or look that is just at one with your vibe, and you unashamedly feel aligned with it, no matter who you've seen in it before or how it fits with any pretension you are trying to achieve. I don't feel shallow talking about hair in this sense as throughout history hair has prevailed as a key characteristic of times and eras gone by, and it's high up in my life of importance. Having curly hair just feels like me, it just gives me life

Like Samson, my hair is the source of my sense of self, and recently I've been through a few changes. After having ginger hair for most of my life and having endless strangers commenting and hairdressers running out of salons, I went from an on-trend bright red to a caramel version of my natural colour, and now I've got blonder at each root touch-up. I've always had blonde hair in my mind as a look that I love but I could never purposely become a blonde. I feel like being blonde is an earned title and I had to warm into it, literally. I'll never suit platinum locks but I've got honey streaks now and I think blondes look AMAZING with curly hair! The image of blonde ringlets has always been in my mind when imagining the colour. It could be because most blondes don't go for curly dos, and in fact a lot of people don't go for a super curly head of hair. This could be because curls are hard to keep intact for some or it's considered a less sleek look. I feel curls give you an energy, presence and confidence that you can't convey otherwise.

I have been using the Enrapture Totem tong for around three years and it sadly broke recently. Once you have to position the wire in a certain way for it to switch on, it's time to get rid! It had a good run and gave me solid, chunky curls with good lasting power. I didn't use the whole 1-2-3 system, I just cranked the barrels to the highest no.3 heat settings. I alternated this with the Babyliss Diamond Waves wand which gives very natural waves that soften as the day goes on. Other bloggers may agree that when your inbox is lucky enough to be filled with blogger requests, something you can bide your time and a post you had in mind will come to life through a well-timed email. I needed a straight tong back in my life after I said goodbye to the Enrapture offering and I went back and forth across websites. As I was about to bite the bullet, an email pinged into my inbox and I was offered a product from Irresistible Me to try and I found the curler of my dreams. The curler of any girl's dreams! It shall be known as THE curler. Because curling wands begin and end with this item. Oh my gosh!


Yes this curler is basically EIGHT curlers in one. The Sapphire Curling Wand has eight different interchangeable barrels that click straight into the base and are ready to go. From bouncy, natural texture from the 32mm barrel to corkscrew curls from the 13mm, to those soft 70's waves from the pearl, the possibilities are endless. The set comes in a roll up case so they all fold up into a space smaller than a shoebox too. As someone that likes to think they travel a fair amount, this is so handy! 


And this isn't mentioning the quality of the wand. I have received so many compliments over the past few weeks because not only am I showing off some serious curls, but they are sleek and shiny. This is down to the negative irons from the tourmaline and ceramic barrels - the natural positive charge that hair has causes dryness, and negative ions smooth down the hair cuticle, cutting down on the frizz. I had dinner with friends on Friday and my bae Melissa out of the blue said "I'm using your hair curler in Dubai OK", and she didn't even know I had a new one! My friends are going to freak when I bring this baby on holiday, I'm sure there will be a queue to use it!


It also has a digital screen so you can literally watch the numbers go up to as high as 230C within seconds. The blue base is very light and quite short so you're not manoeuvring a huge appliance to odd angles around your head, causing aching arms. I cannot sing the praises enough and I am already planning my holiday hair styles to go with each of my outfits. Is that sad? I live for holiday planning!! I took a bunch of photos of my hair too but they just did not do the effects justice! I wasn't happy with them so I made a fun video below - you can see just how far this tong goes, and how my hair began as puffy and dull. I cannot sing the praises enough and can't wait to try out more of the barrels. Bring it on!

A Boots Haul



I've got a Boots haul to share which is rare for me because the term 'haul' implies gathering a large quantity of something or replenishing a load of things in bulk, and I'm not high maintenance enough to need that many backups! Usually I never buy things all at once. Almost all of my purchases are considered, meaningful or needed; a month is a long time and I'm always saving for X or forking out for Y, so I can't afford to be frivolous. I'll totally contradict this shortly as I've spent a bomb this month and splurged on lots of things I've had my eye on, but here are a few purchases I made recently.

It's shocking behavior for a savvy shopper like myself but I don't actually have a Boots points card because I never shop at Boots. Did you know that the discount shop Savers is owned by Superdrug? Well I get all of my toiletries and haircare from there for a fraction of the price of the same thing in Supers, and I'll price up Boots/Superdrug when I need to replenish any high street makeup. I find 99% of the time when I go into Boots, I will find five other items I will suddenly remember I 'need' and am tempted towards a 3-for-2 or discount promotion, and soon I'm £30 down when I went in for a shower gel. However my buddy Georgie was in town and I wanted to show her the rather large Boots in Birmingham city centre. I let loose and here's what I got!


I was a long time user of L'Oreal Volume Million Lashes Mascara since my Uni days I believe and it's the big hitter for long lashes like mine. I get a lot of lash compliments and for some reason my lashes are just long, though I am still partial to a false lash. In fact in Uni I used to wear Eylure Double Lashes - yes, that's two layers of lashes! However I recently tried the Maybelline Colossal Mascara and I found the teeny tiny brush grabbed every lash, and the curved wand pushed them up to stretch as far as they could. I got another one of these in a promotion deal in waterproof as I actually missed using it, and the waterproof choice was because I'm going on holiday in November... watch this space!!

I laughed at the ingredients of La Roche Posay Serozinc as it's just water with salt and zinc added, but there was a certain hype that I could not resist. Now that I've bowed to the alter of Caroline Hirons though (more on that in a coming post), I can see this is a nifty product to layer just before your serum or moisturiser, I have literally read Caroline's entire blog recently and was trying to reveal the skincare epiphany to my friends today via Whatsapp but I just cannot translate. Basically Caroline knows her stuff and there is a world of benefits to reap by reading her cheat sheets. Fun fact - a guy we met in New York at the Yankees game said "So you're going to message me on the WhatsUpapp?" LOLz.


I definitely sinned in the house of Hirons by buying this micellar water but as they go, I did enjoy swiping off my makeup with the Botanics All Bright Micellar Solution. Now I realise that was a lazy atrocity but I have a soft spot for Botanics and enjoyed using their balm cleanser a few years ago. I'll have to check out the ingredient list.

As part of a L'Oreal deal, I spied that the L'Oreal Color Riche Eyeshadow in Gold Mania was literally as intense as the name suggests, being the actual colour of gold rather than a mess of sparkles. Its buttery smooth and packs a punch when applied with a wet or Fix Plus-sprayed brush. A yellow gold makes blue eyes POP and nowadays I enhance my eyes with shadow rather than liner.


These Masque Bar Sheet Masks were an impulse as they were reduced to £6, and I find clay or dry face masks unbalance my skin and leave it flawless for a moment but have no long term benefits. I chose the anti wrinkle set as they boasted the most hydration and indeed they are pieces of very slimey material. I like how you can rub the serum left on your skin into your face for extended benefits. A good pampering alternative to a drying mask that's impossible to get off and a treat for a night out to add a fun extra to your routine. I love getting ready!

I've seriously revamped my hair care routine since I started having highlights and have been left with straw if I'm not careful, and so I invested in an old faithful, the Charles Worthington Moisture Seal Intense Rescue Melting Balm. It's a wax that you warm into an oil in your hands and smooth on as a hair mask before washing. The oils and butters definitely give a dose of hydration to your locks and I save it for weekends. 

So there you go - a few treats to refresh my beauty routine :)

Shine with BaByliss Diamond Waves

I've been having a rather interesting afternoon checking out this glorious hair tong that popped through my post box this week! Wider stylers are just not my bag as my hair has such a dry texture that it won't ever sit softly; it always has to be set in quite a tight curl. I would never brush out my curls either as that equals frizz-galore! So a new version of the conical wand definitely intrigued me as this Babyliss Diamond Waves offering promises shiny,sleek hair to tame any fuzz. The test begins!

The bubble wand means it creates not just curls but waves too, so the final result won't be a uniform row of spirals but a more assorted style of different curls. When I curled my hair after blow drying, I realised it creates the type of curl that you get when you use a hair straightener; it's not spiral, even curls but a naturally wavy curl with texture. The curls look great when started half way down your hair too, rather than a traditional wand that does look like a slightly more unnatural tube curl.

It's also that slick ceramic texture that adds even more shine, meaning you can pull your hair taught against the wand, rather than dragging and pulling it through straighteners. The temperature is 210 degrees too with the option of different settings (and heats up in 40 seconds - perfect for 7am pre-work styling!), so you get the power of straighteners. I don't think many people know you can get sleek results from a tong as you can tightly smooth your hair around the wand. I've seen people straighten their hair and then curl it back up, which you don't need to do! This isn't advertised with the wand but I also found it was super light; perfect for holiday packing.

With my frizz tamed today, I celebrated Mother's Day a day early with my family as my friend's wedding is tomorrow - my Athen's vlog is uploading as I type! Here's a quick OOTD I managed to persuade my brother to take, avec my Diamond Waves!

Mango Camel Coat, River Island Sleeveless Jumper, River Island Tube Jeans, Zara Navy Bag, ASOS Nude Heels, Topshop Pearl Choker

Curling with BaByliss Boutique Salon Rollers


Hi gals, happy midweek! I have my work Christmas party approaching and a few nights out planned, although I couldn't really find anything new to wear this season! I've been going all out with hair and makeup instead and even sported an Ariana-style high pony on Friday night. BaByliss recently contacted me about their Boutique Salon Soft Waves styler which I actually already have a version of, so their heated rollers caught my eye instead.

You know I'm a curly girl and straight hair just doesn't suit me - plus my hair doesn't go straight easily! It's almost like it wills me to go curly and often when I'm out and about, people will ask how I curl my hair, which is usually with a curling wand, and I NEVER brush my hair! It's always going to be a little frizzy as the heat takes it's tole, but I do want to explore options other than my uniform tonged curls and try something more effortless and natural looking.

So the Boutique Salon Ceramic Rollers arrived in a huge parcel (which I picked up from the post office during my driving lesson!) and I opened it to reveal this glorious powder pink box. The Boutique collection is all about goddess-like, bombshell looks with a really flawless just-left-the-salon finish, so the gorgeous rose gold accents and illustrations on the box made this seem very special. The actual smooth black set itself isn't too large and houses twelve heated rollers and twelve heated clips. I was ready to read an essay of instructions but the process is so simple that really you just switch on the button and in five minutes, one roller with a red dot turns white and you are good to go! Don't do what I did and wait for the red light on the front of the box to go white and think the set is broken and worry you had to send it back to the PR saying they had sent you a faulty item, haha!

Once discovering the rollers were nicely toasted, I set about curling up my locks. The curlers have a velvety coating so you can actually hold them, unlike the fiery burn of a curling wand. This means your hair can be rolled up delicately around them and the touching strands won't be frazzled, and they can be rolled right up against your head for super volume at the roots. A normal tong can't go too close or you may end up with a side-burn style burn like I was sporting last month - ouch! Sometimes I find that curling my hair only half way does make the curls obviously not natural, so curling right to the roots makes for a much sleeker, seamless look with no kinks. Also if you curl your hair slightly wonky or in the wrong direction with a tong, it almost dries out the hair to that position and if you try curling it again, it just won't go right!

You then take one of the clips from their own heated bars and secure the curler in place, leaving these dual heated pieces to cool down and form your curl. The whole head took me around five minutes and I have a LOT of hair so some of the curlers did come loose. The teeth of the clips aren't very strong so I did worry I would break some of them off when fiddling with my hair at the back, but all were intact and after a few tries to really anchor them in, all the curlers were firmly secure and I got on with some work for around twenty minutes. Here's the frizzy, kinky 'before' picture of my second day hair:

Due to the velvet coating, the curlers slide out very easily and reveal the fluffy, light curls in the left picture below. My hair does look a slightly strange colour here (that blue/green hair dye is still there - argh!) but you can see on the right where I have shaken out the curls a little with my fingers and revealed bouncy, tousled waves. A curling wand just doesn't deliver something as light and voluminous, and so soft! Heated curlers are perfect for fresh every-day hair looks but for night time you could wear them while doing your makeup and then have perfectly sleek curls that can be whipped into any other hairstyle because they have movement, rather than being stiff and dried to a finish. I'm totally going to be using these over the coming months and experimenting with new hairstyles. The set is £37.50 at the moment too, ohlala!

Hair Heaven | Lisa Shepherd Salons: Express Color Bar


Hey guys, happy Sunday! My last post was on Monday and I thought I would have chance in the mornings to blog, but I found getting to work earlier just means you generally begin work earlier! I will rethink that one. In the meantime I've recently been coveting my Autumn wardrobe, which I have supplemented with a camel coat from Mango, some new work trousers from Zara, I have stocked up on brown lip liners, and I have touched up my hair. Going back to my almost natural hair colour before the summer after two years of bright, box-dye red was a big deal in the sense the colour was SO different, but not a huge change as it is the colour I was for most of my life. The definition of going 'back to my roots' if you will!

However I wanted to go much more blonde and matte, feeling that I had moved on from my natural ginger but still fancy taking control of my hair and being whichever colour I fancy right now. The blonde highlights I have had for the past few months have let me experiment with different colours and looks, while still being warm toned and golden. It's been fab!

I was so surprised and impressed that the salon I carefully chose after three different consultations, Lisa Shepherd, could miraculously remove all of the layers and layers of dye and at such a fantastic price, that it's been amazing to be free of the red and become a strawberry blonde for so many reasons...

1. Ditching the green roots: When ginger roots grow through, they look like a gungy, swamp green next to dark red! I would do my roots once a month as they grow fast, and add dye to the rest of my hair for a few minutes to keep the red bright, but this meant I burned the top selection of my hair by over-dying, and it became frizzy and damaged.

2. The first rule of red hair dye is not to wash it out with steaming hot water. Luke warm showers are no fun!!

3. Bleached hair means the colour can't wash out, so your colour is there for the long run! I experimented with purple shampoos to keep the colour bright, but I like a warmer tone so did not mind any effects.

4. I can wear a red lip! I found this very hard with red hair and leaned towards vampy shades. Now I am not afraid of those pillar box reds!

5. The more I dyed my hair red, the more the darker colour stuck and the red dye washed out each time. As my hair got darker, my face looked paler! Now my pale completion is not comparable to a grey corpse and is the standard English fair tone, and a light fake tan goes a long way. To think I used to use the dark shade of St. Moriz! Now that seems very extreme.

Over the summer my roots had grown a good four inches, but they blended so well with the colour I had that I postponed dying it again for months until Lisa Shepherd contacted me about their new Express Color Bar. I've referred so many friends to them (and found out some of my friends already went there regularly!) that I was delighted to return and retell how much I love my restored hair, and check out this new speciality.

The bar is a fantastic idea, and there is no doubt these will be popping up everywhere soon. On offer is a selection of speedy 1-hour services from highlights to a root touch-up to an all over gloss boost. The concept is the salon dyes and washed, and then you dry, skipping off back to work or straight on a night out. The drying stations are prepped with an endless supply of luxury hair products, top notch tools and brushes galore, and you can take as long as you like to dry and primp your style. There is no persuasion of a cut, no overpriced advice, just an essential top up to tick over your style until next time, and prices are £15 - £30! 

I had Brighter Lights, described as six highlights for blondes ready for a refresh, but not wanting the regular damage of an all over dying session. My parting was spruced up with perfectly placed highlights at the top layers of my hair, leaving my four-month-roots as a thing of the past. You only see the top of my hair, so it's all I need!  This is such a cost effective way to maintain a salon style and not feel pressured into getting the full whack each time you see your hairdresser. Whenever my hair is salon blow-dried, it ends up straight and wispy, and curls drop out. While I would like these sleek blow-dry skills, it's just not how I wear my hair usually, so it was a dream to dry my hair just how I liked it too.

The salon has different sections with a spacious waiting area, where you can sit with your roots developing and help yourself to any kind of refreshment, and dry your hair at the giant dressing tables, feeling totally relaxed and private. When I went there earlier this year, it felt as equally laid back yet very feminine and fabulous, and again my stylist Chloe was lovely and listens carefully to the results you are hoping for. I won't be hesitating to sample the bar again because it's so purse friendly and suits the girl on the go to a T. Do let me know if you pop in yourself!

Going Red To Blonde: Dying my hair!

Right, I'm going to talk about my hur/hayer/HAIR! I'm definitely a hair person, and I know not everyone is. Makeup is almost like an art material or medium, whereas hair seems a little more of a natural subject, and only one part of the many things that make up the definition of you. But my hair has always been on my agenda as I've always had really long, stand-out, super curly hair, and I've been teased, praised, approached, you name it, all because of just my hair. I am very much my hair, yet my hair is a thing all of its own. That sounds crazy but if I sit here and define it, it's true!
I'm definitely coming up to the quarter life crisis that all my friends recently had when they hit 25, and I know where I want to go, but I'm not getting there fast enough! I remind myself not to wish away the present though and I'm looking forward to upcoming things like a mini holiday and summer festivals. I have felt the need a change though, or some sort of transition lately. While I have a more corporate job, I am no fan of corporate dressing, and this is in no way me 'maturing' style-wise, but dying my hair a more natural colour is something fresh and more along the vibes I'm feeling at the moment. I had gone very, very dark red, and was calling for something lighter but still in the red family. I'm not the definition of blonde and I'm not a brunette. I'll always be a redhead! And so the choice was made!
I explained in my last post how I chose my salon as Lisa Shepherd, and the day loomed for my dying. I couldn't WAIT, I was so ready, but was also apprehensive. Would my hair fall out? Would I end up having to go brown first? Would my hair become terrible quality? All of these things associated with bleaching hair must be DIY stories, because I was so glad I went to a salon. It ensured none of these things happened, and if I even imagine myself taking a box of ColourB4 and bleach to my hair, it would have been a disaster!!
I had a few days off work as I'm one of those people who never seem take days off because I don't have a reason (how sad am I!), so I got to the salon at lunch time and my hair was stripped of as much red as possible. The first thing I felt about Lisa Shepherd was that it was so chilled. The room where everything happens is in a cube at the back of the salon, so you do not see people passing or customers popping into the reception, and time goes by without you noticing. It's very comfortable and cool, without being edgy and crisp. Some salons are almost clinical rather than being warm, and I felt at ease at Lisa Shepherd straight away as my stylist Chloe went straight into striping the red. Goodbye red! I had NO idea how this would be and sat in the waiting area (with refreshment and magazine galore) thinking 'Oh my God!'. Then it was washed, dried, and came out as a wishy-washy pink colour. It was dyed an all over colour and washed again to even it out, which was a sandy brown, and then I had a full head of blonde highlights. My hair is so thick, my whole head was weighed down with foils! Five hours later, my hair was washed again and dried, to reveal a caramel/strawberry blonde!
There was no damage, my hair was soft and it didn't even need a trim even! There were some slightly red bits near the front as the red clung on, but these aren't too noticeable and almost add warmer highlights. It totalled £150 in the end which was very well priced considering the other quotes I had but still the most I would ever spend on hair! However I would never have been able to do it myself and I was going to have to do it one day. I'll do a follow up post once I've got used to it and possibly had a few more highlights. Eeek!

Going Red To Blonde... The Inspiration

I have been having some obsessive thoughts recently and they involve going blonde. Argh! Not platinum blonde but I think I'm ready to become more strawberry blonde than bright red anymore. Have you fainted in shock?! I know! I know.

So blonde. Yes I'm really writing this. Basically I'm a bit tired of my red hair. I went red first way back in 2011 when I had a complimentary hair experience at a salon and it came out darker than my Amy Childs-esque request, but it was my first foray into hair dye. I remember a time when I hair modelled and had 'virgin' hair, aka never-dyed hair; the gold for all hairdressers! The colour faded out nicely and subtly over time and I was back to my original ginger within six months. I personally hadn't had many bad experiences of being ginger until I was more like 16/17 and dressed quite alternatively for 2005, and that's when I started this blog! Yes I have been blogger for over eight years... anyway, enough shocks for one post! 

So throughout uni I was confident enough with my hair but in my final year I did experiment with richer tints, just to add some depth. The element of my lighter red hair that I wasn't keen on was that it's hard to wear colour with bright copper hues, and I just wanted to break free from the look I'd had all my life. I've just had a dusty dig through some very old blog posts to source this photo of my natural colour and my God, I wish it was five years ago! Not in comparison to my current life but for the fact that things were so much more simple back then. The only social network you bothered with was Facebook and I didn't feel like I needed a fancy camera to blog. Oh to be a student again!

Paris, 2010

Fast forward to May 2012, around eight months after my first bright red salon dye, and I picked out my first box dye. I had experimented with vegetable dyes in uni that left a nice tint, but the pillar box red, off-the-shelf dyes give that bright shock of red. Cheryl Cole was red, Rihanna was red, it had to be done! I had heard SO many times that red fades and washes out so quickly, so permanent dyes were a habit right away, when in fact the dyes never seemed to fade. Over the past two years, the only challenge has been doing my roots every month or so, and then sometimes coating the rest of my hair for 10 mins for a colour top-up. Unfortunately the multiple root applications of harsh permanent dyes meant I've been re-dying the top section of my hair constantly, so have colour build-up for most of the top half as it has grown for two years.

When I worked in fashion, a vibrant look was perfect for an 'absolutely anything goes' dress code, but now that I work in a more professional setting, my hair just feels too brash and dark. At Motel I wore crop tops and short hemlines all the time, but they are most definitely a no-no now, so there's no point in me using fake tan every week. I find a tan helps balance my darker hair, but it's just a waste of time and money if I'm covered up constantly! I'm also a little bored of the same style I've had for two years, and hope to look a little more professional at work. I'm still battling the fact I can look about 21 and fresh out of uni, rather than a person with three years in the biz, after a four year degree.

So here I am, contemplating going lighter. I'm hoping to travel back to my original colour and then almost pass to the other side of strawberry blonde. Looking at fellow redheads like Jessica Chastain, Isla Fisher and Nicola Roberts, a warm blonde is a smooth transition and still suits the pale skin/light eyes colouring. I'd almost like a pink/peach blonde too, ready for summer.

Here is my recent inspiration from favourite Instagrams @sarahashouri and @janebelfry and some snaps from Pinterest. Are you feeling where I'm wanting to go? The only issue is, I wasn't sure if a hairdresser will!

I've visited three top salons so far and had three different consultations. If I get an idea in my mind, I don't wait around. You only live once! The first salon is my usual hairdressers and they let me know that I had colour build up and it may go brown before it goes lighter. They said they would try a light lift and then a stronger lift of colour, then a base colour with highlights. It was suggested I started washing my hair with washing-up liquid, washing powder, and Head and Shoulders on dry hair, which I have been doing bizarrely this week! They also took a strand test but I haven't heard from them yet.

The second salon looked very dubious, said they liked the red anyway and suggested I would have to go brown. I said I'm afraid I'm just not a brunette! They also did a strand test but called me a few hours later saying the colour had lifted and they were happy to go ahead but it would be expensive. The hesitation in the answer machine message was enough to tell me they were not confident.

Onto the last consultation, where I was starting to deliberate if I should stay red but try to brighten it up, as now it is quite dark. They again said they weren't sure which colour it would go and said it may go pink, and I may have to revisit to reach my desired colour. There was no strand test here though and the price was reasonable for a colour-specialist salon, and they went straight in with the strong lift so no cost for a light lift.

HMM what should I do! My thinking is that I can always dye it back to red easy peasy, so it's not a detrimental change. I don't want to try the ColourB4 treatments as I know my hair will come out very patchy, and I'm in no way skilled with dying or treatments. I'm going to book a week off work in May and I might just go for it. No hairdresser guaranteed they would reach the colour I want in the first session, which makes me dubious at agreeing to pay for something that might not be what I want, but I can't be this red forever so it's a long time coming anyway... What do you think?

Hair Empties #1

As a blogger on my best behaviour at the moment, I have been collecting my empties! I believe clutter equals stress so normally these would go straight into the recycling, but I've finished a bunch of things at the same time. After around half a year of not entering Superdrug or Boots unless seriously necessary, I've discovered many bargains and avoided any expensive impulses. Now I'll do a haul once a month from somewhere like Savers (Superdrug's little sister brand) and get things like cotton pads or toothpaste from bargain supermarkets like Poundland. This affords me to blow more on makeup and clothes, yay!

So from left to right, I've been using got2b 2 sexy hairspray since university and the raspberry smell still reminds me of great hair days. It gives a buildable dusting that I like to reach a slightly stiff layer to keep my curls in place for longer. It's not a fine Elnett-style mist; this is good, strong stuff that won't ever turn too crispy.

The got2b oilicious dry oil mist was actually a £2 impulse and it adds a fine hint of oil, without weighing down your hair. The more you spray, the shiner your curls get, and near the end of the can I started to spray my hair liberally before washing it a few hours later. Great if your thirsty locks need a dose of moisture.

Before my impulse-starved faze, I did invest in the Charles Worthington Intense Rescue Melting Balm, and warming up the rich waxy product to form a heavy oil really does feel like you are smothering your hair in gold. I don't think it makes any more difference than dowsing your hair in oil below though.

The mask I replaced it with was this Argan Oil intensive hair mask, trying the conditioner and hair oil after. The mask is the consistency of body butter and takes the award of the first in-shower product that didn't seem to wash away as soon as I added it to wet hair. I had my hair cut this week and after getting another hairdresser to feel how thick my hair is, my stylist remarked how he was about to use A LOT of conditioner. Sure thick hair is a blessing but I do usually have to go to town with conditioner, often using a hair mask in place of conditioner. The Argan Oil range is all 99p each - yes 99p - and the density of the creamy products are finally a match for my mane. 

I concocted my own hair remedy with the oil by literally smothering my hair in the stuff for around an hour before washing. I know you can do this with olive oil, but at 99p, the Argan Oil is in fact cheaper! I can't not repurchase these as they are such an incredible price, and feel so natural and nourishing. No fancy claims, just good old oil. I did get a sample of Moroccan Oil with a magazine subscription and the ingredients are literally identical, yet the Argan Oil brand is 10% of the price and feels much thicker. Some may prefer a lighter oil but nothing is too heavy for me.

I don't like putting oil in my hair after washing though as I'd rather use oil to the max than add a small bit. I find adding a 'pea-sized amount' of a product to hair actually only touches the smallest part of mine; it's impossible to spread a product lightly and evenly through thick hair. So I use copious amounts of John Frieda Frizz-Ease Serum with heat protector to provide some relief from the hairdryer and feed my dyed locks. Luckily I only wash my hair once/twice a week so one bottle can last a good few months.

I do want to try the L'Oréal Ever Rich range next - do you rate it?

Me Time!

I am in a zone of calm and zen like no other! I have not truly, extravagantly pampered myself in months, maybe even years; no activity has been purely about relaxing and just feeling great. I've done the whole hair wash/buff/tan routine a million times but tonight I took my time and felt like that lady of leisure I wish I was!

I know a lot of bloggers use a pic-n-mix of products but I have a few fail-safe favourites and don't buy more than those. I can't really afford to try products in case I don't like them, but I needed a new conditioner and splashed out on the Lee Stafford conditioner with argan oil. I have a hair mask below already and I prefer serum to oil, so the oil already in with the conditioner seemed a bonus and Lee Stafford was at the Motel Christmas party so I am fond of the brand! His fiancee is the incredibly hot lady from The Real Hustle and I found myself talking to her and wondering how I knew her... I love a celeb spot! 

I went to Boots at lunch today with Lora, my fellow beauty junkie at Motel HQ, and fabulous intern Holly who is always a ray of sunshine in the office. The 3-for-2 deals called us all and the recent VO5 adverts make me seriously want the promised smooth hair, so I got this conditioner in with the deal. Got2b have repackaged their hairspray too and this has been my favourite for years! It smells like raspberries!

The Botanics Hot Cloth Cleansing Balm is a repurchase after I used every scrap of the first pot I bought. I was about to buy The Sanctuary HC Cleanser again but I saw Lily review this and it sounded even better. It feels very heavy and thick and I wondered if a parade of spots was on the horizon, but my skin is just as blemish-free as with The Sanctuary cleanser and this gives your skin a serious moisture boost. I don't scrub my face dry with the cloth, I leave a little of the balm on and let it sink in for plump, healthy skin. Your foundation goes on a dream! My skin was calling for this during the colder months so I'm not sure how it will fare if we ever get any sun! Hopefully hydrating my skin with this will mean less oil, not more when the weather gets hotter.

Once a week, if I know I am going to wash my hair that night, I will slather on a generous amount of the Charles Worthington Intense Rescue Melting Balm from root to tip as soon as I get home (I don't get oily hair so the roots are fine). By the time I come to wash my hair, it has soaked in and you barely need conditioner. It works! My hair is definitely much softer and more hydrated, and I haven't had a trim since October and my hair still looks fine!

If I'm feeling fancy but want ultimate calm, I love this Seascape body butter that absolutely radiates the most natural lavender smell, like your are rubbing yourself with the real thing. It is rich but spreads evenly and lightly and I like just how white it is, adding to the fresh, clean vibes. If I am tanning, I'll just use this on my ankles, elbows, knees and wrists. Lush!

As I am doing some serious eBaying at the moment, I impulsed one night on the cult Crest White Strips and can confirm they really do work! They are just little stickers covered in a thin layer of gel and you put them over your top and bottom teeth, then whip them off 30 minutes later! Your teeth instantly look smooth and bright, and a few uses make a noticeable difference.

A bath is the ultimate luxury for me as I never have any time and I find the water has to be just the right temperature so you don't feel freezing when you get out! Sometimes I get too hot in baths and it's not fun anymore, just humid! I had The Enchanter bath bomb from Lush sitting pretty for a while on my shelf and today was the day to bust it out in all its citrus glory. The pink centre is the nicest surprise!

All of this pampering was not in vain as one of my bezzies is coming to visit tomorrow and I wanted to kick off the weekend with a girly night of treats. Now I feel a hundred bucks!