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Let’s talk hair, shall we? Throughout my life, my hair has been my ‘thing’. When I was a kid, I was about 90% hair. My thick, frizz-prone blonde locks (ok, not that blonde any more) have been my security blanket for a very long time. After that ill-advised bob at 15, I’ve never really gone short again. 2000 was the last time I truly saw my natural hair colour (dishwater blonde). But though things never change too dramatically, even I have had my moments. 2008, as you’ll see, was the time when my personal instability was reflected in my hair. Um, that and I couldn’t afford to get my blonde highlights done on my blogger’s salary. After a night in with a box of Casting Creme Gloss, I got to experience chocolate, caramel and even a bit of ginger in the following months.
This is much better illustrated than explained in text. So here you go – my life in hair up until the end of last year. You’ll notice 2009 was a photo-lite year!
Why am I talking about this now? Well, last month, this happened.
I was invited by Dove to take part in their Colour Radiance Challenge, which involved a bit of a hair makeover courtesy of Sophia Heffer from the incredible Kennaland salon, and a 4 week trial of the new range of Dove Colour Radiance products. I got the first full head of highlights I’d had in about 5 years, though the colour I ended up with was probably slightly subtler than my usual blonde as there were more natural shades woven in to stop the blockiness. I think the Dove ‘before and after’ photo is slightly misleading due to the lighting – it wasn’t quite so blonde before and the change was actually more subtle.
I stupidly agreed to this in the middle of the big house move and the hottest days of the year so there were days I looked pretty awful (the heat brings out the natural curl) but I did still manage to submit daily cameraphone photos showing how the products worked on my hair. Here are some of the snaps from the four weeks following the colour.
Overall I found the Dove products worked well on my hair. I’m not loyal to any haircare other than my beloved Moroccanoil, and I chop and change shampoo and conditioner every time I finish a bottle, as I do believe your hair gets accustomed if you use the same stuff for too long. Switching to this seemed to revive the curl in my hair. Whether that’s a good or bad thing I’m not quite sure – I like the messed-up, beachy look but even I have to admit my hair looks a lot more groomed when it’s straight!
I try not to mess with my hair and put it through too much stress when it’s newly coloured. I always struggle with my hair post-colour; no matter how brilliant the stylist is, highlights always strip moisture from the hair and the newly-bleached strands create a horrible, tangled halo that needs some serious moisture before combing. The key product for me was the treatment conditioner, which I used almost every wash in place of the regular conditioner to add a serious moisture boost. I’d definitely recommend this after colouring to help lock in the shine and the colour together.
I also liked that the Colour Radiance shampoo is much lower in sulphates than most brands. We’re all addicted to lather which is why so many chemicals are crammed into drugstore shampoos, but the truth is lather is a useless by-product (it’s the reaction of the cleansing ingredients with air, rather than dirt / oil) so we should learn to live without it. The Dove shampoo is a good compromise. You get lather, but only just enough, not the handfulls you often find with stronger brands.
Once the challenge ended, I went a big mad. It’s already washed out, sadly.
Disclosure: As part of the Colour Radiance Challenge I didn’t pay for the hair makeover and the products were provided free of charge for testing purposes. I received no other payment and I wasn’t required or obliged to write a post about my experience.