For years I have looked at blondes and wondered what if. What if I went from brunette to blonde. I kept the dream to myself, secretly envious of friends as they swished their bleach blonde hair to and fro. After looking at the same brunette hair for 33 years, I woke up two weeks ago and decided I was ready to take the plunge and try a new look.
Moving from brunette to blonde is a process that I do believe should be placed in professional hands and the more I spoke to people about the colour change, the more I realised that the look would only work if I worked with someone I trusted completely. So for two weeks the question moved from "what if" to "who with." I asked around and there was one name that kept coming up. I asked "who's the best to take me from brunette to blonde?" and the answer was 9 times out of 10 Nicola Clarke at John Frieda. Apparently she is the woman to see if you are dreaming of trying on a blonde look.
After a few phone calls, I found myself sitting in Nicola's chair at John Freida on Aldford street in London. And here's how I knew Nicola was the one. I showed her a picture of a bleach blonde from Los Angeles and asked her to recreate the look on me.
Nicola's eyes said it all at this point. She wasn't going to be taking me anywhere near this point as I think she could tell I may have wanted to try blonde but really wasn't ready for such a drastic change. She not only assured me that the woman in the picture was most likely sporting some coloured extensions but also warned me of the dangers of making such a huge jump with my natural hair. While such a conversation may sound like a lecture, it was anything but. Nicola was saving me from making a massive leap into the great unknown when it came to my hair colour. Nicole cautioned me that to go that extreme would require an entire closet overhaul. Now, looking back, I completely agree with her on that front as this new do is already requiring different hues. I can only imagine what would have happened had I gone even more into the blonde way of living.
So in the end we agreed I would go away and come back in four days time to try a new blonder look, but with a more gradual move to the lighter side of life in mind.
Sitting in Nicola Clarke's chair, I found myself wondering if I was ready to take the leap. If anyone could do this for me, it was Nicola. So I relinquished all control (something I am not very good at doing). I shared one last picture of a look I thought would work a bit better for me in terms of gradually going blonde and I let Nicola go to work. We decided, in the end, on a sort of Ombre style for a more natural and summer-ish look.
After watching Nicola work for two hours, I was given my first look at a true brunette to blonde experience. Nicola brought my hair forward and lay it over my shoulders and I instantly lost the ability to breathe. My brunette locks were gone and in their place lay golden strands I had always dreamt of having. It was a surreal experience but it seems the time in the salon is only the start. I hugged Nicola and thanked her profusely for her help. Truly, I will never see another when it comes to colouring and I suggest you do the same. Chances are when you ask any A-list celebrity who looks after their hair colour, they'll mention this woman's name. However, Nicola doesn't colour and tell so don't you worry a bit about that. That all being said, it seems most are all too happy to share the fact that they trust her as a colour confidant. The best line I heard about Nicola came from a good friend that has seen her for years and claimed she was the "Ferrari of hair colour." Not a bad description actually as she's fast, gives you results that make heads turn and is a colourist most aspire to one day use. Nicola Clarke is a legend. I think that says it all.
Now on to the part where I said the salon experience was only the start. It's now Sunday night and I've had three days with this hair. Even after three days, I don't recognise myself in the mirror. This is quite simply the strangest experience. When I get up in the morning I still think I'm being greeted by a stranger in the mirror. Colours that I've never been able to wear before in my wardrobe are all of the sudden looking perfect with the new colour. Then there's the fact that Mr. FFG now claims he's dating a "rock'n'roll" chic. Really, what's not to love here?
It's a new look and the dawning of a new day. I'm not claiming I'll never go back to brunette but I sure am having fun as a blonde so far!
Read more out Nicola Clarke at John Frieda (visit to check out the names she's worked with... everyone from Madonna to Gwyneth Paltrow trusts this lady with their precious locks).