Tag Archives: bleach

The Hair Loft – Ottawa

14 Apr

Oh The Hair Loft, where to start?

Well, I guess I should start from the beginning when I used to work with many of their staff in various salons. Gradually stylists from all over the city started gravitating towards  The Hair Loft. Back then, they were a small salon and have now grown into a beautiful, fun, funky, modern salon.

I don’t live in Ottawa, I haven’t in about ten years, but that doesn’t stop me from getting my hair done there. I actually plan my visits to Ottawa around when I need to get my hair done, and it takes about 5 hours to get there. I think that on its own speaks volumes as to the awesomeness of this salon.

There are two main stylists that I see, Howard and Gina, for my bleach, toner and haircut. Both are incredibly talented and I always leave pleased. Gina is bubbly and fun and always in a good mood, she really makes your experience something special, not to mention that she knows hair and leaves you looking stunning. Howard is incredibly talented,educated and accurate, you know when he’s got you in his chair that you’re not leaving until it’s perfect.

Not only are the two stylists I see wonderful, but really the whole team is. People are always checking on you to make sure that you’re comfortable and to see if they can top up your drink.

The Hair Loft also has a hair school, it’s called The Loft Academy, where Suzanne is an educator. I have worked with her in the past and she really is something special, she also works at The Hair Loft as a stylist.

So yes, a lot of the staff are people that I know, have worked with and many I consider friends. But I DO pay for my hair, and our friendship doesn’t cloud my judgement when it comes to recommending them. Like I said, I travel 5 hours to come to this salon.




What It Takes To Be A Blonde

4 May

I certainly have the personality, but the fact of the matter is that I am not a natural blonde. Shocked? You’re not alone. I’ve been faking it since I was about 20. At that time, I started having my hair bleached every 6 weeks or so; that means I’ve probably had somewhere in the area of about 70 bleach-outs.

There are many different ways you can go blonde. For me, I have a solid bleach-out done, meaning that I am totally blonde. In the past I have had highlights done, but with my length of hair (quite short) I find it’s easier to go for the all-over colour.

My dark roots

My hair is naturally dark brown so the process involves removing my natural pigment (bleaching) and applying a new tone to my lightened hair (toner/balancer). In the past this service, including a cut, would take over three hours, but now I see Simona at Rain Boutique and Salon in Vancouver. Simona has managed to cut (obvious hair pun) that time down to an hour and forty-five minutes or so. This is a huge plus for me, because it means I can fit these appointments into my life with much more ease. Not only is her timing amazing, but both the colour and cut are always perfect.

The first thing that Simona always does before starting is to go over what we are doing. She asks if I was happy last time and if I want to make any changes. Once we have formulated a plan we get down to bleaching. Simona uses a L’Oreal bleach and applies it section by section to only the roots of my hair. She takes special care to not touch the existing blonde to make sure my hair does not get damaged any more than necessary. Avoiding the existing blonde also helps her prevent what is called banding i.e. those tiger looking stripes that look TERRIBLE.


So what does bleach feel like? I wouldn’t call it painful, but you definitely know that there is bleach on your scalp. At some points it feels a bit itchy like little ants are crawling on your scalp. Sometimes it can feel quite warm and stinging. But after a little while you almost get numb to it and stop feeling anything at all. It’s really quite tolerable. I am a huge wuss, so if I can do it, trust me, anyone can do it.

Bleach-outs are not without risk. Even with the most experienced stylist there is always the possibility of chemical burns, especially for those with sensitive skin. In my time as a blonde I have had many, but have never had complications from them. They heal quickly, although the pus that sticks to your hair can be REALLY gross. The best way to avoid them is by finding a good stylist and staying with her/him. Once they learn how your skin reacts to products you won’t have to worry about anything unexpected. Also, there are great new products on the market for people with sensitive skin. L’Oreal even has an ammonia free bleach that can be used on much more sensitive scalps.

Simona keeps an eye on my hair the entire time, checking it to make sure that it lightens to the right level and not any more. Once we have attained this level we head to the sink for a rinse. There, she shampoos my hair with a “post colour” shampoo that ensures all traces of bleach are gone and evens out the porosity of my hair. Next step is the balancer. So what is balancer you ask? A balancer, or toner, is what is used to add colour back into my hair. It is adding the tone or shade to my hair. Generally a semi-permanent or demipermanent colour is used. These colours will gradually fade over time. Without a balancer I would just have that nasty at-home bleached-out look. Think of a famous rapper who shall not be named.

The balancer is only left on for a few minutes and then rinsed off. Simona takes great care to choose a good, rich, deep-conditioner to use for my scalp massage to ensure that some of the damage caused by the bleach is repaired. Once that is rinsed, we always cut my hair to make sure that it looks its best and that any damaged ends are removed. She styles it and I’m back to looking like my fabulous blonde self.

Me and my fabulous stylist Simona

Having bleached hair does require some at-home maintenance to keep it looking its best. There are two accessories I simply can’t live without.

1. A purple shampoo. I use L’Oreal Professionnel Silver Shampoo. I use this once a week to eliminate any yellow or “brassy” tones from my hair.

2. A good conditioning mask. I use Noctogeniste Serum Nuit by Kerastase. This ensures that my hair is soft and shiny, and not rough like straw.

Being blonde may sound like a lot of work, but remember…we do have more fun.

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