After a long four weeks, the salon reopen their doors tomorrow and if you're anything like us you'll have a whole load of celebrity hair inspiration in your Instagram 'saved' folder ready to take to your stylist. But how realistic is it to go for a major hair makeover, a'la Kim K, Emily Ratatowski and JLo?
Brunette this week, blonde the next, long another and rocking a bob just 24 hours later; our favourite celebrities can be found changing up their hair as often as they change outfits. Or at least that’s what their Instagram accounts would have us believe. While great for inspiration, things might not be quite as they seem, and it’s leading to more and more of us coming to our stylists and colourists with requests that exceed reality. It’s time to stop believing the hair hype, says top hair stylist Edward James , and start asking ourselves whether or not our Insta ‘hair goals’ are actually achievable.
It’s something he’s seeing more and more of in his salon, an influx of customers asking his team to recreate their favourite star’s new look with the speed at which they popped up on their newsfeed. The problem though is that celebrities tend to only post the success stories of their new hairstyle or colour, failing to showcase the numerous transition stages in between (we'd love to see the in-between stages of Emily Ratatowski's transformation from trademark brunette to bright blonde). As a result, customers’ expectations of what is doable within their timescale and budget are becoming increasingly unrealistic and could be compromising the health of their hair.
For instance, take when Kim Kardashian stepped out for the first time with her ice-blonde hair a few years back (she's since been red, caramel-coloured and most recently a lovely mink/ blonde hybrid). Edward was surprised by how many people believed that this was a 24-hour job. What people didn’t see though, was how long it would have probably taken for her to get there.
Francesca Dixon, Creative Colour Director at Hari’s , tells me of her experiences of women expecting her to turn them from dark to light in a single appointment. “If you have dark hair and want to go platinum blonde, it could take four to five sessions, but it depends on several factors and completely differs from person to person,” she says. Condition, whether hair’s been lightened before and base/current colour all play a role. Without the help of a pretty detailed caption, it's impossible to tell this from an Instagram picture.
What’s more, our perceptions can be further skewed by filters and face-tuning and augmenting apps that significantly change the colour of the hair we see in pictures, points out stylosh Adam Reed. Wigs, extensions and clip-ins further fuel misconceptions by providing the illusion of thicker, fuller hair.
It’s hard to know if what you’re seeing on Instagram is 100 per cent real, but that’s not to say that it can’t be a valuable source of inspiration. Here’s what the experts recommend when it comes to keeping expectations realistic and switching up your look without compromising your hair’s health.
Always book in for a consultation
Together, you and your colourist will be able to tailor a plan that best suits the condition of your hair, budget and timeframe. “It really is the best way to make sure you and your colourist are on the same page about the desired end result and the journey to get there,” says Adam Reed.
Try a wash-out colour
If you’re contemplating a drastic colour change, it could take multiple appointments. In order to see if it’s worth it, Francesca recommends trying some wash-out colours first, especially if you're thinking of a rainbow hue. We love Moroccanoil's Colour Depositing Mask , £28.35, Umberto Giannini's Flowerology Temporary Colour Mask s. £9.95, and Maria Nila's Colour Refresh Mask , £20.99 which come in a variety of shades from brunette and blonde to pink, blue and purple.
Add a deep conditioning treatment
If you’re going from brunette to blonde, you’ll need at least three appointments with a colour specialist and several deep conditioning treatments such as Olaplex in-between to prevent damage from over-exposure to bleach, says Edward James. It works by repairing and protecting hair’s disulfide bonds which can be broken down in the colouring process. L’Oreal Professionnel Smart Bond is also a firm favourite of mine.
Try hair extensions
If you’re going five shades lighter, Edward recommends trying hair extensions, a quicker alternative to multiple hair colour appointments. “Tape weft extensions are a fast and easy way to add pops of brighter colour to the hair, which are gentle and easily removed without putting too much stress on hair follicles. Try Rapture or Great Lengths which offer amazing bespoke tape systems, coloured to match your hair.”
Try a wig
Wigs offer up the ultimate way to change up your look at Insta-worthy pace. “If you invest in a good one, they can last practically forever,” says Adam Reed.
MORE GLOSS: Why peekaboo rainbow hair is the colour trend perfect for right now