The Salon Solved It: Is it ever possible to be a “natural” blonde?

Green products, eco-friendly interiors and hair colour that’s designed for the long term – does Buller and Rice in London’s Stoke Newington offer sustainability in more than one way?

The second I saw Stoke Newington salon Buller and Rice (@bullerandrice) blowing up on Instagram, I knew I was onto a winner. With piles of arty coffee table books, Picasso-meets-The-Simpsons tapestries and a veritable jungle of plants, I knew that whoever had dreamt up such dreamy interiors could be trusted with my hair. I booked myself in.

A whole two years after my last full-head bleach, my hair has only recently, for want of a better word, stabilised. It’s not snapping off every time I brush it anymore, and I can feel the strength and thickness returning. It feels good – and yet, there’s a part of me that wonders if being blonde was more fun. Yes there was ungodly amount of hair nestling in my hairbrush, and the cumulative hours spent in the shower with purple conditioning treatments, and the roots that would creep in after a matter of weeks… But being blonde was an instant lift – it was makeup in itself, it was a statement, a LEWK. Maybe, there’s a middle ground?

Co-owner of Buller and Rice, Anita (she’s the Rice half) was the person for the job

After explaining to Anita where I was at with the whole love-hate blonde relationship, she agreed that it was possible to let a little light in, without undoing all my hard work. The order of the day was blonde sections sliced in with my existing shade – like highlights but without the uniformity. In order to combat the root issue, we decided to leave my natural colour there, so I can be as lazy as I like with the hair appointments, and hopefully making the blonde life a sustainable, long-term lifestyle rather than a brief peroxide fling that would fall apart in a few months.

Talking about sustainability, the uber-trendy Buller and Rice know that nothing is cooler than being kind. Styling stations – made from compressed hay and recycled yoghurt pots, yes, YOGHURT POTS – are lined with a variety of eco-conscious products from Davines and Oway. With locally sourced beer and wine, recyclable towels and energy-efficient fittings, it’s a haven for those of us who want to minimise the impact our beauty routines have on the world around us.

After a couple of hours relaxing in this oasis with my colour on, Anita applied toner and gave my hair a much needed chop. Keeping everything blunt and low maintenance was my priority, and happily I discovered that Anita isn’t one of those hairdressers who say “just a trim” and take half a foot off your length. My hair was tidier, lighter and in better condition than ever before – but it was still my hair.

And as I edit this piece a number of weeks later, I’m still delighted with it. I’m a big believer that the proof of a great haircut isn’t how great it looks when you leave the salon (although that’s a bonus and I’ve been known to schedule a night out as I’m still sitting in the chair for this very reason). The real test is whether, on a rainy Tuesday morning a couple of weeks later, you still look in the mirror, smile and silently give thanks to the god of great hairdressers. This was one of these haircuts.