Dyeing Your Hair: How to Make Sure You Get the Colour You Want

A new job. A painful breakup. An exciting trip. My biggest hair makeovers have always been perfectly synchronized with my personal breakthroughs. And believe me (or just stalk my old photos on Facebook), I’ve tried many haircuts! Shaved, long, pixie, blunt, bangs, it seems like I’ve been through a great deal of identity crisis. Regardless of all those changes, one thing has remained pretty much the same: my hair colour.

When my mom gave birth to me, my hair was so pale that she thought I was an albino. During my entire childhood, I’m sure many people thought my parents (who both have brown hair) had adopted a little Swedish orphan. And for my whole teenage years, I had to convince people that it was “my real hair colour”. It didn’t stop me from REALLY wanting to dye my hair, like every other teenager, but, thanks to my mom, she systematically forbade me to alter my colour; that colour  “everyone dreamed of”. (I’ve since then realized that my mom is indeed always right.)

In other words, I was a hair dyeing virgin until 24, which is when I started getting a balayage done twice a year to get closer to the blond I had when I was a kid. Nothing drastic, the kind of thing that only I notice. Still, the idea of playing with my hair colour makes me super nervous. I’m so afraid of ruining my blond and damaging my hair that my heart always skips a beat when I sit on my colourist chair and she starts wrapping my whole head in aluminum foil.

A few weeks ago, I collaborated with Redken to test out their demi-permanent Shades EQ hair dyes. That also meant that I had to switch colourist so I could get the full experience with a Redken artist, who luckily turned out to be the fabulous Catherine Allard, co-owner of Odyssée salon. To be honest, I wasn’t super chill about letting a total stranger touch my hair (you have to understand that I’m incredibly faithful to my usual colourist). But because everything happens for a reason, my stress and insecurity allowed me to communicate my needs reeeaaally clearly (even if I felt a little intense with my 2 345 questions, sorry Catherine!) and leave the salon with a colour that I absolutely adore and even softer and shinier hair than when I arrived.

If I look at my group of friends, I think it’s safe to say that most of you regularly change hair salons for two main reasons. The rarest: you’re longing for something new. The most frequent: you had a bad experience at the last one. Because in hair world, leaving the hair salon with a colour you hate is the worst thing that can happen to you, here are three super simple tips you should put in practice next time you see your colourist to make sure you get the hair colour of your dreams.

1. Pick Your Colourist Wisely

Good colourists should be able to do anything, but if you ask them, they will tell you that they have a specific area of expertise. When the time came to choose mine, Redken – after explaining to them that I only wanted to kick my natural blond hair up a notch – suggested I work with Catherine Allard, renown for her magic touch with blond hair. True to my millennial DNA, I stalked her Instagram to confirm it all. Good news: she was indeed a pro.

So next time you’re looking for a colourist, scan her social media, ask other girls who sat in her chair about their experience, check if she’s won contests. In other words: do your research.

2. On the Day of Your Appointment: Come Prepared

No, the success of your hair colour doesn’t entirely rely on your colourist’s shoulders. To be on the safe side, try to come to your appointment with a clear description of what you want and what you absolutely don’t want. Even better: bring photos! Your definition of “streaks” might not be the same as your colourist. When they say a picture is worth a thousand words, that’s exactly what they mean.

Secondly, make sure to communicate your expectations clearly! I bombarded Catherine with my hair insecurities for a good 15 minutes, and like a real hair therapist, she listened attentively to my whole spiel and was beyond patient. I’m well aware that I’m not a dream client for a colourist – like I know she won’t fulfill her wildest creative dreams with my hair – but it’s important to be faithful to who you are. You’re the one who has to go to work tomorrow with that new head of yours! However, you also have to…

3. … Trust Your Colourist’s Expertise

Assuming that you carefully picked your colourist and that you’re dealing with someone as good as Catherine, you must also be open to her expert’s opinion. Catherine suggested lightening up my blond and, if I was up to it, do two very subtle peach highlights next to my temples to emphasize my cheekbones. Me being me, I said no… At first.

She explained to me that the highlights would be so subtle that most people wouldn’t even notice. Plus, because they would be so precisely positioned and gradual, they would only be visible when I’d let my hair down. After showing me a couple of examples, she also told me that the Shades EQ not only condition and respect the integrity of the hair, they also fade after a couple of washes. Meaning: In three weeks, the peach highlights would be a thing from the past. In other words, I could go crazy today without committing to anything long-term. So I said yes! Me, the forever classic blonde Joëlle, I now walk around with peach highlights and I love it. And guess what? I think it’s still a hair colour that “everybody dreams of”. 

👇🏼 Watch a little behind-the-scenes of my appointment right here 👇🏼

Photos by @beniwawa

*This post is sponsored by Redken, but all statements reflect my true opinion.

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3 thoughts

  1. I definitely have to trust my stylist because I think I’ve had some bad ideas! =) I actually just went darker for the summer. Strange, right? I usually go lighter but I felt I needed a change. Your color is beautiful and it looks fantastic in the sunlight. I really like the picture where you have your hand on the wall. I wish my husband could take photos of me like that!


    1. It’s true that lighter hair is often more associated with summer, but dark and deep brunettes are definitely making a come back these days :) For my boyfriend, there’s been a learning curve and I usually set up the camera myself, but he’s improved a lot over the past few months (after all those times I forced him to take pictures of me for the blog, haha). Thanks for reading! xx

      1. HAHAAHAH! I was thinking this morning that I’d get a tripod because I really have to force mine. And then I gad mad “You didn’t notice the angle of my arm here? My bra strap is showing. There is hair out of place. My arm looks fat like that….” And ON and ON. And he just hates it. I make him take like 100 photos and then I don’t like any and he wants to die. heheheheheh

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