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How the Other Half Live: Going brunette with Josh Wood

October 28th 2013 / Christa D'Souza


Christa D'Souza accepts that blonde is not her colour with a little help from hair genius Josh Wood

Anybody else out there who always wanted to be a blonde? With blue eyes? And a snub nose? It’s kinda the curse of the half breed. No, no, don’t get me wrong, the fact that my dad was Indian is something I try to drop into the mix all the time now. It’s a great conversation starter believe me. “Oh, so THAT’S where you get your name from…” and so on.

Though, in the 70s, it was something - I’ll be frank here - which I mostly tried to hide. See, in the ’70s I wanted to look like Eve Plumb, (that’s Jan, not Marsha) of The Brady Bunch. Or maybe the girl from the Timotei ad (if you are too young to remember it, shame on you). You know how real blondes go almost white at the temples in the sun? That’s what I wanted to have, but, like my American friend’s brother Greg used to say (who as it happened looked exactly like Brady Bunch Greg), “You plant tomatoes, you get tomatoes!” Doesn’t matter how much in spirit I feel like a bleached blonde surfer girl. I am not one. The bleached dip-dyed ends I can’t seem to live without during the summer months; when you pair them with my grey roots, and my almost faded to nothing tan, well I’ll leave you to conjure up your own picture. So why, oh why do I persist in thinking otherwise?

Self delusion, it is within us all. Thank God I have someone in my life who doesn’t let the delusion get out of hand. The person I am talking about is my personal cognitive behavioural therapist, I mean hair colourist, Josh Wood. It’s that time of year, “blonde rehab” time, and I knew as I walked into his Atelier in Holland Park I’d get my money’s worth.

So he sits me down in his chair and gives me the look. I know that look. That look says Christa, stop trying not to be a brunette. And he’s right! Continue on this trajectory and I’m going to look like an Orange County real housewife…

Josh, though, when he says brunette, doesn’t mean any old brunette. This is after all the man who dyed every single head of hair for the Prada Spring 2014 show, the man who spends nine tenths of his life in an aeroplane he is so very much in demand. No, we’re talking here a microcosmically specific shade of brunette “that you dial up and then tone down”, a shade of brunette which is “rendered unreal but then taken down to keep plausible”, which sounds crazy on paper, but oh my goodness when my hair is blown out I see what he means. Readers, this is the bestest, realest, minkiest brown you will ever, ever see; in fact I wish you could see it, and maybe I’ll take a selfie or two so you can.

How does he do it? How does he manage to make it look, how to put it, mousey and glam at the same time? I’m going off on one a bit here, but you know when you have a baby and it comes out and you take your first look at it and think “wait, but I KNOW you”. That’s kind of how I feel when I look in the mirror. How could I ever have wanted to be a blonde?

Clever Josh. He made me have a manicure too, picked out the colour and all (Jazz by Essie which is similar to Frenzy by Chanel but lasts longer). I know I’m not going to be able to see him for another year now, god-dang this chap is hard to pin down (and afford), but it was worth it.

Anyway. Got to get back to the business of selfies. Apparently I need to work on them. Hair onze points. Ditto nails. It’s the facial expressions which now have to match.

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