If being a woman has taught me anything about beauty, it has taught me we all give a lot of f**ks about our hair.
To an extreme. A, dare I say it, religious extreme. We wake up most mornings thinking about it. Praying our efforts don’t get ruined by forces out of our control. We obsess over the loss of it, change of it, silver-crept ageing of it, and more.
And few of us are atheists. Despite priding myself on my intellect and kindness far above my follicles, I have spent decades tonging, bleaching, and masking my hair. If anything ‘of the flesh’ was to consume me, it would be the mass of tortured strands on my head.
The realisation came unexpectedly and I knew I had to break the chain.
Aptly named as it could could be, The Chapel provided a personal hair mecca.
While my first visit had little to do with hair whatsoever, the environment left such a positive imprint on me I knew it was the place to turn to cut more than half my hair off. To finally fill in those over-bleached ends. To get over the use of hair as a security blanket*.
In two separate appointments, Oliver (and a slew of truly kind salon accomplices) took me from weighed down to the glossiest, bobbed version of myself I could hope for. With the service, laughter, and know-how of proper barnet apostles.
As my hair grows out, the gloss will fade into a healthy version of the natural colour I can barely remember. And I can’t wait.
As the red toner faded from my most recent hair experiment, I couldn’t get the idea of My Little Pony Hair out of my head. With a bleached mane and the availability of hair God Jason Collier in my favour, I booked in at Smooth You.
As silver is the most ‘unnatural’ colour I have subjected my hair to, I knew I couldn’t be in safer or more talented hands than that of a man trusted with the manes of Victoria Beckham, Sienna Miller, Eva Longoria and more.
With Smoothie – the salon’s gorgeous resident Maltipoo – on my lap, a flooded inbox on my phone, and a night’s mask of argan oil on my locks, the process began. A two-hour dance of root maintenance, bleach bath and rinse before separately-ombred sections of pastel pink, baby blue, and silver.
As you can see, the result was utter My Little Pony Hair perfection. Beautifully muted and expertly blended creative colour with very little – if any – damage to the condition of my curls.
Though I have been more than happy to spend most of 2015 as a grey-blonde, the inevitable Restless Hair Syndrome kicked in last month. Showing no signs of easing up, I decided to appease my curiosity, book an appointment, and ask you all whether I should stay blonde or go red.
With Twitter (blonde!) and Facebook (red!) divided equally, I made my way to the House of RUSH Piccadilly still relatively undecided. With natural auburn hair, I knew red wouldn’t look bad but wasn’t sure I wanted to add such a notoriously strong pigment on top of hair I had bleached to infinity to get so light.
Thanks to Chloe’s colour consultation and expertise, we chose to dye my hair with a customised ginger toner of top of the bleach. Though this means the colour isn’t permanent, it will still last for eight weeks and give me the option to return to grey (or any other pastel tone) without having to bleach or strip my hair again.
The result? A healthy and beautiful head of red that looks everything from strawberry-blonde to rich ginger, depending on the light (a natural, multi-tonal effect that I love).
To wrap up, Chloe took me downstairs to The Hair Gallery and taught me how to curl my hair with straighteners – a skill I have failed to master for almost ten years – before letting me bounce away into the streets of London.
As far as hair goals are concerned, Game of Thrones’ Daenerys Targaryen has got that ish on lockdown.
Of course, no-one outside of Meereen wakes up with such tresses. Not even Emilia Clarke. For the actress, platinum hair perfection is achieved via the use of full lace wigs but mere mortals don’t have it so easy.
Or, we didn’t until now.
With the assistance of my beloved and very talented hairdresser (Serafina of Gro London‘s Hampstead branch), we have brought epic Khaleesi hair to DIY life.
Inspired by her most intricate Season 5 ‘do, we have spelled out the how-tos for your Halloween, cosplay, or just-because pleasure, below. Enjoy!
What you’ll need…
Redken Stay High 18 High-Hold Gel to Mousse
Pureology Perfect 4 Platinum Miracle Filler Treatment
1-inch barrel curling iron
Mini hair ties (clear, if possible)
Hair grips/bobby pins
Clip-in hair extensions (I review the ones used here at the end of this post!)
Khaleesi/Daenerys Targaryen Hair Tutorial
1. Blow dry your natural hair completely. As we’ll be using extensions, the more volume we can get at this stage, the better. Layer Stay High 18 over Perfect 4 Platinum to ensure protected, enormous results. (Big/fluffy is okay as we’ll be curling everything later).
2. Separate your extensions into weft sizes (you’ll have everything from 1-clip 2″ wefts to 4-clip 8″ wefts).
3. Leave two small sections of hair loose in front of your ears. If you’d like, place a playing card or small piece of card under a clip to hold the sections away from the rest of your hair.
4. Section most of your hair on top of your head, leaving room to clip your largest weft roughly 2 inches from the base of your neck.
5. In sections, curl the extension hair with your natural hair.
6. Take another inch or two of hair down from the top of your head and place the next-largest weft securely against the scalp.
7. Repeat, checking each weft blends seamlessly into your natural hair with a mirror.
8. At the top of the head, finish with your smallest wefts and remove your card clips to curl both strands in front of the ears.
9. Take two equidistant sections of hair from the front of the hairline and create two modified french braids which only incorporate the hair between the sections (no strands from the outside or underneath). Stop 1/4 of the way down the length of the hair and tie the braids with mini hair ties.
10. Bring the braids together in the middle and wrap a small section of the unbraided but sectioned hair around the hair ties, securing in the back with a hair grip. Use clips to hold the hair together if you find it difficult to ‘hold and wrap’.
11. Using slightly larger sections of hair below the first braids, repeat steps 9 and ten incorporating the ‘fall’ of the first braids into the centre to keep everything symmetrical.
12. Hairspray to secure.
13. Be Mother of Dragons.
You know that first time you ate a Reese’s Cup and felt all “WHY IN GOD’S NAME HAVE I BEEN WASTING MY TIME WITH OTHER CHOCOLATE?!”? That’s kind of how I feel about Butchers Salon.
After meeting the lovely Jason Cocking at BeautyCon London, we bonded over all things hair and all the things I hate about my own. He then invited me to his resident East London salon he works at – Butchers – under the promise of dream hair.
How could I refuse?
When our appointment arrived, I was nervous. I had sent Jason a few references to platinum and silver hair colours that I liked but had nothing to comfort my bleach-heavy decision anxiesties but his relentless confidence.
Obviously, I wasn’t disappointed. I worked my way through the appointment – only having to pause for in-sink toning – and walked out a few hours later with my dream hair. Dream hair is such good condition that I didn’t even need a haircut.
Having lived with platinum/silver hair for just over a week, I believe the constant comparisons to Daenerys Targaryen was worth the hair makeover alone. The grey/silver tone is going strong (the bedhead photo at the bottom shows this best), my pale skin somehow looks glowier than ever before, and my hair is just as strong as it was when I went in.
If you’re looking for creative colour, Butchers is THE ONE.