The salon solved it! A crazy colour (without the crazy)

Layered’s Beth had always been too scared to try the crazy colour trend – until now! Could Coralage be the colour she’d been looking for?

I’m obsessed with all the crazy colours we’ve seen recently – on Instagram, in magazines and in our office as my editor comes in parading another beautiful, colourful hue (she’s a punchy pink right now). And when I say obsessed, I mean OBSESSED. The kind of obsession not seen since Leo did Romeo and Juliet and Titanic back to back, and I decided to devote a whole issue of our school newspaper to the blonde god (I was 14 – I had no chance).

But despite my obsession, I haven’t had the courage to get full-on crazy coloured – even the gentle, pastel-tinged hues made me break out in a sweat. I’ve been a classic dark blonde since I first discovered highlights when I was 17, and the idea of breaking away from something that had worked so well for me for, gulp, almost half my life was too big to get my head round.

Then a press release pinged into my inbox one day and I was drawn to it like Rose was to Jack (or the ship to the iceberg – whichever floats your boat… or doesn’t). ‘Coralage will take you to Ibiza even if you can’t be there in person,’ cooed the release. I clicked on the image and was greeted with a beautiful sunset shade that I wanted IMMEDIATELY. It was a new take on the pastel trend, but more subtle. Would I finally dare to embrace a crazy colour, without actually ‘going crazy’?

Coralage was created using Redken’s City Beats by Shades EQ, so I decided to head to a salon that I knew used Redken – The Chapel in Islington – to see if they could cure my fear of crazy colour.

Was The Chapel’s Kim Lomax up to the challenge?

I sat down with Kim for an initial consultation where I revealed my second fear: bleach. I had used bleach on my hair before of course, but only in foils and with other shades. Did having Coralage mean I’d need all-over bleach? Fortunately not, said Kim. My hair was already quite light so it only needed to be lifted slightly, which she could do with foils. Phew!

With that terror taken care off, it was on to the actual colouring of my hair. Probably seeing the fear in my face, Kym suggested an even softer take on the Coralage trend. As I was a first-timer when it came to colouring my hair more than one step away from my natural shade, she was wary of putting too much orange on my hair. But to make sure the colour still came through, she would add a touch of pink. I hadn’t considered adapting the Coralage look, but as soon as Kim suggested the slight change, it sounded perfect.

Kim applied a half-head of foils, as well as a couple underneath, lightening my hair ever so slightly. Once this developed, I headed to the backwash where Kim showed me the four shades she was going to use. FOUR. Kim explained that Coralage isn’t some product in a bottle, but a melange of hues that can be adapted to suit everyone, depending on their skin tone and eyes, and of course their desires.

For me, Kim used City Beats Midtown Magenta, Yellow Cab, West Village Sunset and Chelsea Coral (love the names). After mixing the formula, Kim took out my foils and washed my hair. Then came the fun bit. Kim applied the mixed colours all over my hair, but only for a few minutes. She came back to check the development every now and again to make sure the colours never got too strong.

Now this is where I have to admit that I had a little freak out. Kim took a picture of the colours on my wet hair and it was a lot more vivid than I’d planned. However, one look at my face and Kim assured me that this was often the case and the colours wouldn’t come out as strong as they looked on wet hair. Slightly appeased, Kim washed the formula off, checked the colour again and applied the formula once more (GAH!), but this time just to the ends. Why? Apparently these don’t always take the colour so well due to the strands being older and having older colour on them.

Once this was also washed off, it was time for the blow-dry and the big reveal. I had never been more scared to sit in front of a mirror and get my hair blow-dried. What if I hated it? What if I had to sit there smiling and pretending that I liked it when all I really wanted to do was go home and hibernate until it grew out? My acting wasn’t that good! Fortunately, as Kim blow-dried my hair and I began to see the colour come through more and more, I knew I didn’t have to pretend to smile. I loved it. The colour made my blue eyes pop and gave my skin a healthy tan I didn’t need a flight for.

‘Once you start, you won’t want to stop,’ Kim had warned me in the very beginning. I had scoffed, confident in my belief that once you go blonde, you never really stray far from that Pantone family of shades. But I was wrong. Completely and utterly. And for once, I didn’t mind admitting it.

Want an appointment with Kim, or another super stylist at The Chapel in Islington?
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Fancy trying Coralage from Redken? Find your local salon here