The Salon Solved It – affordable, gloss-giving colour

Layered Online reader Lily has an expensive love affair with hair colour. With a summer of events and holidays ahead, can Shades in Primrose Hill give her that fresh hair feeling without damage?


If I had to introduce myself in only a few words, they would be: ‘I’m Lily, and deeply obsessed with changing my hair at all times.” In my 28 years I’ve been my own, natural variation of mousey, deep brunette; black; blonde, a rogue ginger; balayaged ‘bronde’; and sepia zebra (due to an unfortunate highlighting moment when I was a teenager). I just can’t help myself! I especially live for hair on the warmer end of the spectrum, bouncing with light.

Playing with my hair colour gives me such joy but it can be wildly expensive. The upkeep of my redhead phase alone over the course of a year – from the various salon costs to my at-home treatments – made my bank account weep. Added to the fact that my natural curls were on life support due to the amount of bleach I was ruining with them, and I made the tough decision to go cold turkey. A mousey brunette I would remain, and I was determined to rock it with the same panache.

But then the worst happened; this Spring, Kendall Jenner, Sydney Sweeney and Barbie Ferreira all went red, Billie Eilish went back to black, and every Hollywood starlet seemed to switch up their colour for the first time in years. The inspiration was a devilish temptation!

Could I find an easy colour without affecting my credit score – or hair health?

It was a tall order for sure, but I made my way to Shades in Primrose Hill to see if I could find out. I’ve learnt to be super discerning when I meet new colourists and stylists (I truly have had some weird hair… I’m looking at you two-toned purple/black pixie cut!), but I had no reason to worry. As soon as I met Nicole, I was instantly at ease!

During the consultation, we dissected every colour problem I’ve ever had and she instantly knew what we needed: Wella Professionals Shinefinity, a non-permanent toner that wouldn’t damage the hair as it has no ammonia in it. Even better, because it’s almost like a shimmering, tonal top-coat, it wouldn’t cost a fortune to re-do for the many weddings and summer events I have on the cards.

Apparently Shinefinity is like colour and care in one, in that I can enjoy some colour pizzazz without the commitment and with an extra helping of glossy shine. I wanted to stay away from the super-light coppers I last enjoyed, and instead to stick as close to my natural hair colour as possible with the added benefit of a warm glossy finish. My hair, but better!

To add some dimension, and to help show off those warmer tones, Nicole lifted my hair ever so slightly with highlights for a subtle effect that would help to connect my old bleach to the rest of my head. She also included a Wellaplex treatment to ensure that any damage from the lightening was significantly reduced.

Once that was rinsed out she applied the Shinefinity Glaze in 834 (Spicy Ginger) from my roots to the tips. Nicole assured me that Shinefinity would be perfect for me because – crucially – this oh-so-good for the hair glaze wouldn’t lift or damage my natural colour, and instead subtly tint the hair for at least 4-6 washes.

You can never initially tell what the colour is going to be while wet, but once my bouncy waves were in place I couldn’t have been more pleased. I’m used to leaving the salon in a bit of a daze after my weird colour decisions, but this time it was different. It wasn’t a full transformation; instead it was a gentle kiss of warmth that ticked all the boxes I was after. Good for my hair – check! Wouldn’t break the bank – tick! Reviving my colourful spirit – bingo!



A week in and my colour is showing no signs of fading either. I think it’s safe to say that I’ve found my colourful fix for events and holidays! Now, should I get a bob next…?

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