Until just a few weeks ago, it had been a loooong time since I’d had a really good haircut. Since I turned 40, I’ve generally chosen a salon based on the colourist rather than the cutter/stylist. Putting up with meh cuts was the price I paid for good colour. My hair goes bright white-blonde when the summer sun hits it, so I have it darkened with lowlights in the summer. In the winter, my sun-deprived roots turn an ashy dishwater colour, so I have them lightened. My goal is to keep my natural multicolour blonde somewhere in the middle of its lightest and its darkest points so that it doesn’t look drab in the winter and fried in the summer. Finding a colourist who gets me isn’t easy! One even gave me black streaks when a mistake was made mixing the colour for my dark lowlights in summer. It literally looked as if a mascara wand had been swiped through sections of my hair. To fix it, I went to a famous colourist who does all of the blonde Kates (Moss, Blanchette, Winslet, Bosworth) who painstakingly worked her way through all of the black strands, lightening them to my normal colour. She was brilliant, but because she is a session stylist who is always on location with her celebrity clients, she’s frustratingly difficult to book for salon appointments. I also found my colour was getting lighter and lighter every time I went, which isn’t what I wanted either (I was veering dangerously close that that block one-colour Paris Hilton blonde that I don’t like). Jodie from Michael Van Clarke was recommended to me by Lamphane (more on him in a moment) and she is honestly a colour genius. She is my holy grail colourist. As I’ve aged, my fine hair has become much more delicate and colour only makes it worse. I had been doing a lot of processing for only a slight difference in colour, which was ruining my hair. To strengthen it, Jodie and I decided to stop doing low-lights (less processing) and just keep my natural blonde colour instead. Going forward, we’ll add in some (but a lot less) highlights to brighten it in the winter. After my colour with her, I have had no visible breakage right at that point where the regrowth ends and the colour starts, which is fantastic.
Since I’ve made colour rather than cut my priority, I’ve been disappointed by nearly every haircut I’ve had for the past few years, with one exception. That exception was eye-wateringly expensive. I only decided to splurge on it because I was making a big change from long hair to short hair and I thought throwing money at the issue might help me avoid a disaster (like my black streaks), which it did. Recently, I discovered Lamphane at Michael Van Clarke. From the moment we started discussing style, I knew he was going to give me a great cut. He was very honest about what works and doesn’t work with my face shape and my fine hair. Isn’t it refreshing to have someone be really direct and opinionated about what works on you? I always welcome a fresh pair of eyes that notice things that I’ve stopped noticing about myself. Lamphane gave me the salon’s trademark Diamond Dry Cut, where your hair is cut while it is clean and dry before being styled. I’ve never had that done before, but it makes a lot of sense now that I’ve seen it in action. You can really see how your hair is going to look in a way that you can’t when it is cut wet. I’m absolutely thrilled with Lamphane’s cut. It still looks great 8 weeks later. For the first time ever, I have a brilliant hairdresser AND a brilliant colourist all in one spot. It doesn’t hurt that the salon has brilliant coffee and ridiculously gorgeous chandeliers, two of my favourite things.
I’ve been test-driving the salon’s own brand ‘3 More Inches‘ shampoo, conditioner, deep conditioner, and thickening blow dry spray that they gave me to try at the salon. I’ve become so attached to them and the difference they are making to my fine breakable hair that I even took ALL of them on holiday with me (see above)! The haircare line has amino acids and protein which bond to the hair and enable the hair to hold on to moisture better so that it doesn’t dry out and age as it gets longer. In my opinion, the star of the line is the pre-wash treatment called Life Saver. I won’t ever be without this! It is a transformative deep conditioner that you put on your hair for 45 minutes before shampooing and conditioning. Sometimes I slick a little bit into my gym ponytail so the goodness can soak in while I work out. Twice a week or so, I comb in into dry hair at bedtime and let it stay overnight (it isn’t greasy) before washing the next morning. I only need a tiny amount of the shampoo, and I don’t thoroughly rinse all of the conditioner out afterwards (the bottle recommends to leave a little bit in your hair to seal the cuticle). Like a lot of products, these really seem to work best when you use them all together, which I didn’t do at first. They’ve truly improved the strength and quality of my fine hair like no other hair care line ever has. Michael Van Clarke has put a lot of research into his haircare, and it really shows. He’s had this salon (a team of 60) in London for 30 years and has won more awards than any other London salon, so he obviously knows what he is doing and what results he is after. Crucially for me, this haircare line has not been tested on animals which is brilliant for those of us who insist on this.
I rarely recommend hair stylists and colourists to friends and readers because hair is such a personal thing. I don’t want anyone to hate me if it all goes horribly wrong (like my black streaks incident)! However, I’m so thrilled with the cut and colour, even two months later now, that it seemed selfish not to share my discovery of Lamphane and Jodie at Michael Van Clarke. Also, I’ve been so blown away by the difference in my hair quality after using the products that I had to blog about those.
UK readers, you can find the haircare products on the website or in the salon; if you’re in the US or elsewhere you can find them on Net a Porter. If I could boss you into one haircare product, the Life Saver pre-wash treatment would be my top pick.
Disclosure: this post is not sponsored, the life-changing hair products were gifted.