Last time I had my half head of highlights done, I was really worried about ending up with thick orange streaks like the ones I'd had years ago (and which I still cringe about). I also didn't want obvious roots once it started growing out. So at the time, Carl agreed that he would only lighten my black hair with very subtle, fine chocolate highlights. He did a brilliant job... in fact so brilliant that no-one, not one person, noticed that I'd had my hair highlighted! It was only when my black roots started growing through that the difference in colour was noticeable! Oops... £115 those barely-there highlights cost me. Serves me right for playing too safe.
Anyway, having now gained my trust as a top notch colourist, I booked another appointment with him to go a lighter brown. He told me that the lightest I could go without using bleach was a couple of shades lighter than my current colour... which was fine by me. I wanted to make sure the colour was kept neutral too - no orange or red tones.
By the way, I didn't even realise black hair could be lightened without using bleach until that conversation! No wonder my hair didn't dry out from the previous highlights! It still feels in really good condition... not like hay at all.
As usual, Carl was faultless. And a genuinely nice guy too - none of that fake niceness you get from some stylists. However, I was passed onto a trainee to have the foils taken off and my hair washed and blow dried. And she was really rubbish at all of those jobs. She was really tugging on my hair to get the foils off... so much so that my scalp hurt afterwards. Then during the wash, she got wet hair and shampoo suds all over my face. She even did a crap job of blowdrying - she left the underside sodding wet and only blowdried the top layer... and even that was done badly.
I should've said something to the trainee or to the salon about her rubbishness... but as usual, I was too English and just thanked her. A trainee has to start somewhere though, right? I was just surprised that she hadn't been given better guidance before being unleashed on paying customers.
Anyway, at least Carl's highlights were top quality. I met a friend this evening who noticed my new hair colour straight away and who was amazed at the way it looked as if single strands had been highlighted individually. No orange streaks here! It was expensive (£115) but I definitely got my money's worth.
I was told there was little chance of my highlights taking on an orange tone, but that Aveda Black Malva Shampoo would stop it happening if turning ginger was a concern (yes). The salon only had 1-litre bottles (at £22.50), which was annoying. What if I end up not liking it??
Luckily the shampoo seems pretty good so far... it smells exactly like Dr Pepper, feels gentle and doesn't make my scalp itch. It has pigments in the formula to add cool tones to dark hair (to stop the ginger), so it comes out of the bottle purple-coloured. But weirdly, the foam is pure white so I'm not sure what happens to the pigments during lathering. Anyway, it's a nice shampoo. I didn't buy the Black Malva Conditioner because Carl said (Caaarl said..) that it might actually put too much pigment back into my hair and darken it.
The full ingredients of Aveda Black Malva Shampoo are:
Aqueuos (Water, Aqua Purificata, Purified) Extracts, Malva Rotundafolia Flower, Camellia Oleifera Leaf Extract, Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis (Sweet Almond) Bark Powder, Prunus Serotina (Wild Cherry) Bark Extract, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Extract, Ammonium Lauryl Sulfate, Disodium Laureth Sulfosuccinate, Lauramidopropyl Betaine, Wheat Amino Acids, Pathenol, Tocopherol, Fragrance (Parfum), Glycerin, Basassuamidopropyl Betaine, PEG-6 Cocamide, PEG-7 Dimethicone C8-C18 Ester, Cocamidopropyl PG-Dimonium Chloride Phosphate, Polyquaternium-10, Isostearamidopropyl Morpholine Lactate, Sodium Chloride, Polysorbate 80,Tetrasodium EDTA, Potassium Sorbate, Sodium Benzoate, Methylchloroisothiazolinone, Methylisothiazolinone, Annatto (CI 75120), Blue 1 (CI 42090), Ext. Violet (CI 60730)
Whoops this was a particularly unstructured and not very concise hair update. Soz! But my finishing comment would be... if you have Asian/Chinese or black hair and you really want to go lighter but don't want thick ginger streaks or damaged hair (or if you need any highlights in general), Carl at the Aveda Institute in Covent Garden is your man. He's worth it, trust me! And for the shallow of you, he's pretty easy on the eye too.
You can find out more about the Aveda Institute, Covent Garden, London here.