'To Sweep'

I haven’t had my hair highlighted since I was at University and it was really cool to have those massive blonde streaks added to your hair so you basically looked like a fair-headed skunk. Many a time I purchased ‘at home’ highlighting kits and spent hours pulling out individual hairs to get a sunkissed look – but it always, always ended up in a mess. For this very reason (and since discovering brunettes and redheads have way more fun,) I’ve stayed away from highlights since 2005. Now I have shorter, redder hair I didn’t really think I could go down the road of streaky lightening again, but thanks to the Balayage system hitting the UK shores with the arrival of Jack Howard in Knightsbridge, anything is possible.

The delightful Jack Howard

Jack has spent 17 years in the USA had recently worked as the Senior Portfolio Artist for L’Oreal Professional. Balayage has been used on celebs including Kate Moss, Sienna Miller, Sarah Jessica Parker, Alexa Chung, Giselle and Jennifer Aniston, so they can achieve a natural, sunkissed look for their luscious locks. Highlights can be too harsh and structured – they basically can end up looking very cheap if you don’t have a decent colourist – but Balayage is a free handed technique designed to create very natural-looking highlights that grow out without developing a noticeable and obvious root. Because the dye is placed with focus on the bottom of the hair, rather than the root, you get a subtle result that literally looks like you’ve spent the weekend at the beach.

Balayage 'before' and 'after'

This colouring technique emerged in Paris in the 1970s; the word ‘balayage’ is French for ‘to sweep’, a reference to the way in which the colour is applied. It’s no new development; it’s just not widely practiced in the UK so it’s a bit of a secret... sssssh! I was invited to have the Jack/Balayage treatment in Equus salon, just down the road from Harrods, and I’m utterly a convert. Jack is such an engaging and positive person that I put my hair literally in his hands to do with what he liked – the result was a fab deep red shade that I couldn’t have chosen better myself, with very subtle touches of lighter strands to give my hair an extra dimension. It doesn’t look obviously dyed, which is the beauty of the system.

Equus salon - very retro and beautiful

While I was in the salon (which by the way is divine – have a look at their website) another girl with long, blonde hair was having the same ‘Jack’ treatment. By the time she finished I was absolutely green with envy; her hair looked A-MAZING. She looked like she’d just walked off the set of The OC (bit of retro University programming for you) with stunning, sunkissed locks. This is a system that works for anybody, no matter your colour, hair type, length or shape as the strands of dye are placed wherever you need them to highlight your face. Look at my pretty ‘do... jealous? Go get your own!


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