Calgary, AB, Canada


Lightening my hair; The Process

March 27, 2018

Hi everyone,


Today I am talking about all things hair. I finally decided to itch the scratch that is; lightening my hair. I've been dying to freshen up my unprocessed hair and wanted something fun.


 I really want to be transparent with the process of colouring my hair and the reality of the damage, cost and upkeep. 


So, here we go.


I started with virgin, untouched hair. All of it was my natural colour. I have very red, thick, course hair- so I knew going in it that it would take a while. I'd thought about going lighter for an insane amount of time, so I finally took the step. I reached out to hair-stylist Candace here in Calgary that I had worked with on multiple photoshoots. I totally trust her and loved all of her previous work. It also helped that she knew my hair type. A relationship with your stylist is so important! It makes things easier so you can really describe what you want, and don't want for your hair. I showed her images for inspo and she was 100% real with me.


The process took about 3 hours. We didn't go full in on the bleach for less damage. Let me tell you I was SHOCKED to see how light my hair had gotten in one sitting. My hair is the same softness and thickness as it was when it started. Candace totally crushed it and I couldn't be happier. It totally brightened up my look with little to no damage!





 (makeup in photo is done by Nicole Saxton (@nicoledoesmakeup)


Below are a series of questions I asked her! All are so important to know.


What is the #1 thing you want every client who is colouring their hair to know?


C: -I think the number one thing I'd like every client who is planning on colouring their hair to know is to have realistic expectations! There are many contributing factors to how hair is going to take colour and it's so important to have a thorough consultation with your stylist prior to your service where you discuss your previous colour history and what results you're hoping to see. Depending on what your goals are you might be able to easily achieve them within one colour service, or it might take several appointments to get the exact look you're hoping for.


Number 1 product for processed hair?


C: My absolute favourite product for processed hair is the Davines NouNou mask- it's both incredibly hydrating and repairing which is exactly what highly processed and brittle hair needs.


What kind of upkeep do you recommend for lighter hair?


C: The best part of the current balayage trend is how low maintenance it can be- essentially balayage is a free hand painting technique where the highlights look like they are kind of floating in the hair. Because of the placement, most people can go anywhere between 4-12 months without having to re-lighten their hair. That being said, I usually recommend that my clients book in for a toning service every 6-10 weeks to maintain the desired tone in the hair, as they can fade out and leave the hair with a slight unnatural yellowish shade. At home care for your coloured hair is incredibly important as well. Using shampoos and conditioners that are sulphate and parabin free will help extend the life of your colour, and using a hydrating mask to reverse any of the damage that can happen when lightening will also keep your hair looking and feeling healthy. Most product lines also carry a violet/ blue based shampoo and conditioner that you can use weekly to help neutralize yellow or orange tones in the hair and keep your blonde looking as natural as possible.


What is the average price range for lightening your hair?


C: Lightening service's can range in price depending on how much work and product is required. Typically you can expect to pay a minimum of $200 for a balayage service, but it can be more or less depending on if you're coming in for maintenance and just require a few foils, or if you are looking for a total colour correction.


How many sessions does it usually take to get your hair lighter?


C: Results of a lightening session can vary from person to person and can be affected by a number of different factors. A clients natural colour and texture can play a big role in how their hair will lighten- for instance someone with naturally blonde, fine hair will lighten much easier than someone with dark brown, coarse hair. Another major factor in how hair lightens is a clients previous hair colour history. If there's any cosmetic colour left in the hair, even if it's from a year or two prior, it can make it much more challenging to lighten to a natural looking tone. For some client's it can be totally reasonable to expect to get their desired results within one lightening appointment, and others might take 3-4 sessions to get there. This is why having a really thorough consultation with your stylist is such an important part of colouring your hair!


What are some common misconceptions of colouring your hair?


C: I think nowadays with social media platforms like Instagram, we see a lot of really amazing before and after hair transformations. It's a really great tool to see what kind of work other stylists are doing, and also as a way to find inspiration photos to bring in to your stylst, but what you don't see is the hours of work that go into each of these services. Often times, these transformations take place over several appointments or may be one really long appointment that spans 8-10 hours. This is again where a stylist needs to manage their clients expectations and educate them to know that what you see in a picture might not be realistic for your hair or it might take time to get there.


Best way to pick your stylist?


C: Social media is a great tool to find a stylist these days. Most stylists have an Instagram or Facebook page where they are posting photos of the type of work they do and you can find someone whose aesthetic matches what you are looking to have done. Another great way to find a stylist is to be referred be a friend whose hair you admire- there's already an element of trust because you've seen the quality of work that that stylist has done. Most stylists I know offer a complimentary consultation for new clients who have questions or concerns about an upcoming appointment. It's a really great way to get a feel for your stylist and make sure you feel comfortable leaving your hair in their hands. If you have any concerns that they aren't understanding your hair needs or wont be able to give you the results you're looking for, it's a good time to cancel your appointment and start looking elsewhere for a new stylist.


What should you expect your hair to look like in a few months?


C: What your hair looks like months after your service will depend on what type of service you had done and what your at home maintenance has been. For instance, a full bleach and tone (lightening all of the hair to a solid blonde tone) is incredibly high maintenance and requires a lightening service no longer than 6 weeks after your initial appointment. A balayage service is intended to grow out in a softer way and can be left for up to a year in between with only a few quick toning appointments in between. Consulting with your stylist is important to figure out what kind of colour service is best for you and your lifestyle needs.


How can I book an appointment with you?


C: I own a private studio at the Citizen Salon Studios called Parlour Beauty with my partner Breanne Sinclair. You can find us on Instagram at @parlourbeauty_yyc and call/ text to book with us at 403-660-3875 or email us at


Best styling tool?

C: My absolute favourite styling tool is a 1 1/4" curling iron- I use it on most of my client's after performing a colour service to create messy beach waves. Curling the hair once it's been coloured really shows off all of the different tones and dimension in a way that straight hair just can't. I curl large sections from the mid-strand up to the roots, leaving the ends out to create a modern and messy look.


Best styling product?


C: My favorite styling product is the Dry Texture Spray from Davines's More Inside styling line. It's kind of like a dry shampoo but has a medium hold factor to it that keeps the hair looking messy and adds some overall volume. It's ideal for all hair types as it's completely weightless and is applied dry so it doesn't make the hair frizzy like some hairsprays can do. It smells absolutely incredible and is fragranced with a lavender and cyprus combination. It's our number one selling product at Parlour and we can barely keep our shelves stocked with it!



makeup by @nicoledoesmakeup


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