Tuesday, 13 April 2010

Home hair colouring - finally chic?

Home hair colouring has long been snobbishly looked down on as the cheap and nasty DIY alternative to having hair professionally coloured. A reputation companies like Clairol and L’Oreal have been desperately trying to shake off with innovative new technologies and glossy ads. I’ve never actually coloured my hair, at home or in the salon (minus an ill-advised experiment with Sun-In aged 14, but let’s not get into that now...) so I’m afraid I can’t give a personal account of how good or bad they are, but I’m working at Cosmo at the moment and lovely Beauty Editor Kate Turner told me a very interesting story which I just had to share with you!

She’s recently been away in the Dominican Republic, shooting a model called Amy for the summer issues of Cosmo. Kate complimented her on her hair one day, and Amy told her it actually used to be really thin and limp, but has totally transformed since she started using Clairol’s Perfect 10. She first used it when she was cast to be the model on the front of the box and was so impressed with the results, she’s been using it ever since. She used to fork out over £150 on having her hair coloured in the salon, and says it's now in much better condition and a more natural colour, at less than a tenth of the price – just £6.99 every couple of months! Now if that’s not an endorsement for you, I don’t know what is.

I can’t post up a picture of her hair as they haven’t been published in the magazine yet, but I can tell you from what I’ve seen that it looks really thick, glossy and healthy, and is a really gorgeous shade of light ashy blonde.

Kate was so impressed with Amy’s hair that she’s now trying Clairol Perfect 10 herself – having never home-coloured her hair before! I think that proves how staggered she was.

If anyone has any experience of home hair colouring – successful or otherwise – let me know!

Clairol Perfect 10, £6.99, available nationwide now.

Thursday, 1 April 2010

Philips Lumea - Session 1

Hair removal. One of the least glamorous but most necessary beauty rituals. The problem is, every single way of executing it has at least one big disadvantage. Shaving – only lasts only a couple of days; professional waxing - expensive and painful; home-waxing – messy and even more painful; epilation – really really painful!

This is why laser hair removal has been something I’ve wanted to try for a while – it’s pricey, but being permanently fuzz-free is worth the investment, right? So when Philips invited me to try their brand new at-home laser hair removal system, Lumea, I jumped at the chance. They’ve set up a pop-up spa at the gorgeous Soho Hotel in London and the deal is - I go in for four sessions, two weeks apart, and in eight weeks I should be able to kiss my razor goodbye forever...

I had my first session on Monday evening, and to be honest, I walked into the room a bit of a nervous wreck... In my extensive pre-treatment research (read: googled ‘laser hair removal risks’ in 5-minute lunch break) I discovered all manner of horrific laser-induced injuries. On top of that, I’d been sent a 5-page safety information document, and a disclaimer waiving all responsibility from Philips in case of ‘personal damage or injury’. Errmm... is this going to hurt? Am I going to be permanently scarred with third degree burns??! Help!

Luckily my therapist, Ella, who was over-seeing my session, immediately put me at ease. She talked me through the product and how to use it, gave me a demonstration on my arm and then supervised whilst I tentatively started zapping my bikini line. And I have to say – it was incredibly easy to use, and even more importantly, virtually pain free!! It looks like a high tech cordless hairdryer- you press it against the bit of skin you want to zap, wait for the green ‘ready’ light, and pull the trigger. There’s a bright flash of red, and you feel a slight heat sensation – but no pain!! And that’s it! You get the occasional slightly alarming whiff of burning hair, but Ella assured me that is totally normal.

Overall I was really really impressed. It’s so quick and easy – it took me about 15 minutes to do my bikini line, including pauses where I was nattering away to Ella. And you can use it to zap hair virtually anywhere on your body, just not your face. And you don’t have to wait for hair to grow like you do when waxing – in fact, it works most effectively on clean shaven skin as the laser beam can travel down and damage the hair follicle more efficiently. The only drawback is that it doesn’t work on all skin tones – any darker than an olive skin tone and it’s a no go I’m afraid, and it will only work on black to dark blonde hairs, nothing lighter.

For everyone else though, this could be the best £400 you ever spend! If I’m hair free in 8 weeks – and I will of course let you know if I am – I would 110% recommend you buy this product. I’ll keep you posted!

Philips Lumea, £400, available from Boots now. Visit the Philips website for more details.