Could Smiths Salon in Soho deliver a blonde that was soft, long-lasting and didn’t cause damage?
Every once in a while, a hair product comes along that I just have to try, and the Schwarzkopf Professional BLONDME Bond Enforcing Premium Clay Lightener was one of them. It’s a bit of a mouthful yes, but as soon as the press release hit my inbox, I was intrigued – just how could clay (in my eyes, a sort of mud), give you the healthiest, most gorgeous colour ever?
Now, usually I don’t get excited about lighteners. The looks they produce, yes – but the products themselves are usually too boring, too clinical, for me to get excited about. If it gets mixed up in a bowl by someone that knows what they’re doing then, generally, that’s good enough for me. But as someone who has struggled with maintaining blonde hair for the best part of a decade, I was intrigued to try something that promised to be gentler than traditional bleaches. Was it too good to be true?
I booked in to try it at the cool Smiths Salon in Soho with colourist Adrian Paoluccio. Scrolling through his Instagram feed (follow him at @adrian_hairlondon – you won’t be disappointed) while I waited at the chic reception, I knew I was in the right place. Adrian’s work was a feast of buttery blondes and beautiful balayages, each strand lightened with an artist’s precision. And then, it was time to settle myself into the chair.
Could Adrian create a blonde that was both soft, natural and damage-free?
Wrapped up in my gown with plenty of hot tea for sustenance, Adrian got to work. The clay lightener was thick, and Adrian worked through my lengths like a hairdressing Monet – a dab more colour here, a smudge there, assuring me that his freehand balayage would be personalised to my cut and hair texture. The clay felt thick and slightly heavier than other bleaches, even drying a little on the outside. I imagined the bond-enforcing technology working its magic under its cocoon, strengthening my hair as it lifted.
Adrian combined this with the strandlights technique, lightening tiny wisps of hair near the top of my hair to create a halo effect. This would make my hair look both brighter and shinier, but not interfere too much with my roots – as someone who shamefully last had their hair coloured about a year previously, natural looking regrowth was imperative.
There are few moments as exciting as when you sit down after your colour being washed off, towel crowning your head, ready for your new hair to reveal itself. Maybe holding your newborn baby would top it, or getting married, but only just. As Adrian unfolded my hair and dried it off, I felt myself lighten. It was exactly what I had wanted – a shimmering blonde smoothed through the lengths and blended perfectly.
And crucially, it felt strong, There was none of the fragility I associate with having my hair lightened – it felt soft but not at all feeble. A few weeks on, and I can report that it looks as good as the day I stepped out of the salon. With a weekly treatment of Schwarzkopf Professional FiberPlex, it still looks bright and has a silky feel – despite a week long beach holiday. This is summer hair all year round, and I’m obsessed!