I’ve been a brunette most of my life.
I’ve dabbled with blonde ombre highlights (like every millennial woman on the planet), flirted with bright colours by way of money piece strands (bubblegum pink and electric tangerine, if you were wondering), and in 2021 I underwent a red hair transformation.
But after shaving all my hair off at the end of last year (lockdown vibes amiright?), I wanted to embrace a different vibe and subsequently, a new look in 2022.
Thankfully, I didn’t have to go begging for attention from a hairdresser.
Apparently I have the manifestation powers of a wizard, because soon after setting my sights on a new hair colour, I was invited on a press trip to the EdwardsAndCo salon in Brisbane’s Fortitude Valley.
Charmayne Robinson (@charmayne_edwardsandco) AKA Master Colourist and Educator for EdwardsAndCo took care of my freshly shorn head, and seemed more than game when I informed her I wanted to bleach both my head and brows.
I threw around the word ‘Nordic’ as if it meant something, she gave me actual professional advice that I was honestly very grateful for (I may work in beauty, but when it comes to colouring hair, I am clueless), and we eventually settled on a neutral shade of white blonde referred to as ‘Pearl’.
Situated within arm’s reach of snacks, and a master colourist at work mixing my pearlescent bleach colour, I threw on a gown and settled into my throne at the designated hair colouring table.
The hair-bleaching process
Charmayne Robinson possesses a colourist’s brain, which means she can run complicated equations using hair colour formulas and summate her theorising into beautiful hair hues.
So when it comes to explaining the colour theory behind the whole hair bleaching process, I’ll leave it up to a professional.
Robinson “pre-lightened [the hair] using Redken Blonde Glam Cream Lightener, with 20 volume peroxide”, after which, my head was wrapped in plastic wrap and a humble headscarf for 30 minutes to process. Chic stuff.
The bleach was then shampooed out of my hair and I received a very enjoyable head massage, before Robinson “glossed [the hair] using Redken shades EQ with bonder inside in the shade Ivory Pearl.”
I also received a much-needed shape up and trim (plus, a few tips on using clippers at home) from Sam Taylor (@samtaylorhair).
The brow-bleaching process
As for the brows? A process all their own. “Brow hair tends to be more coarse than head hair,” says Robinson. “I used the same product to lighten, with alternating brush strokes for a deeper saturation.”
As well as covering my arches with a trendy set of tin foil eyebrow guards, Robinson “removed the lightener and reapplied every 15 minutes to avoid skin irritation around eyes.”
After rinsing and shampooing the brow hairs, she “glossed with the same product” she’d used on the hair on my head.
As for upkeep of my newly bleached brows? Robinson advises that “regrowth will start to come in at around the 2 week mark.”
To counter this, she suggests “toning slightly deeper to blend until [they’re] grown out, before bleaching again at the 4-6 week mark.”
She also recommends consulting a stylist prior to lightening and ensuring “there is no brow lamination or tint in the brows”. This basically means you should wait at least six weeks after laminating or tinting to avoid overprocessing the brow hairs.
“Don’t be tempted to use a high volume developer” either, says Robinson. “Go with something more gentle, then rinse and reapply until you reach your desired shade.”
Call it a moment of depersonalisation or an out of body experience, but when I looked in the mirror for the first time after bleaching everything, I truly did not recognise myself for a split second.
The change was that drastic.
After my brain had time to adjust to the so-called ‘Nordic’ blonde version of myself staring back at me in the mirror, I felt elated.
Since returning to Sydney, I’ve been reacquainting myself with my makeup collection.
My eyebrow pencil no longer has a purpose in my routine and I’ve become a big fan of channeling ‘90s-era Kate Moss with grungy, thick, mascara-laden lashes.
I like to think I know myself pretty bloody well, but being surprised with a new layer to the experience that is ‘me’ has been refreshing to say the least.
Check out the whole bleaching process HERE.
This is a behind-the-scenes look at the rest of our weekend with Edwards & Co x Redken:
Briar is a Content Producer at BEAUTYcrew. Her 'down for anything' attitude has resulted in more than a handful of hair transformations, and she doesn't mind being used as a guinea pig for the industry's most unusual products and treatments. Her work has also appeared on Girlfriend and Beauty Heaven.