As someone who has dabbled in just about the whole hair-lightening spectrum, trying everything from subtle highlights to balayage and even full-blown blonde, I’ve definitely done my time in the salon chair. I love updating my look but regularly surrendering most of my Saturday to do so is just not an option.
When I heard about L’Oréal Professionnel’s latest innovation, Instant Highlights, I was intrigued. The service promises to deliver tailored, in-salon highlights in half the time*, so when I was offered the chance to try the service firsthand, of course I said “yes!”.
Here’s what I loved about my L’Oréal Professionnel Instant Highlights experience:
#1 / How unique the process was
At the start of my appointment, my colourist, Britt Horsten at Sloans of North Sydney, talked me through the new three-part system, which includes the Instant Highlights Lightening Créme, the self-regulating Instant Highlights Tool, and specifically-designed foil pieces that work optimally with the system. Basically, it is nothing like the normal hair-colouring process I am used to.
To begin, Britt started sectioning my hair and applying the Instant Highlights Lightening Créme using a brush and foils. While this part is similar to the usual highlighting process, this is where the similarities end.
Next Britt brought out the Instant Highlights Tool, which basically looks like an oversized hair straightener. However, as Britt explained, the tool doesn’t heat up to super-hot temperatures like a straightener does. And, the plates don’t actually touch like those of a straightener: The plates are positioned slightly apart so they don’t clamp or pull on the hair. Britt positioned the tool either side of a foiled section and started gently waving it up and down to heat the hair and help the colour to process faster.
Once Britt had repeated this process on all my foiled sections of hair, I chilled for 10 minutes before being taken to the basin for rinsing and toning. There was no waiting under a heat lamp for hours wondering if I’d been forgotten about. Just like that, the highlighting process was over!
#2 / How quickly I was in and out
As I mentioned, I’m no stranger to lightening my locks and am very familiar with the process. So, in the spirit of full disclosure, I was VERY skeptical about the promise of highlights in ‘half the time’*.
According to Britt, the Instant Highlights system allows hair to be lifted up to six levels and the application and processing time combined can take as little as 30 minutes. Now that’s a big claim.
Did it deliver? I’m amazed to say, yes! After Britt rinsed the Instant Highlights Lightening Créme from my hair, I snuck a peek and was surprised to see some fresh blonde highlights peeping through.
As for how long the whole appointment took, after my consultation with Britt, my locks were highlighted, toned and blow-dried to perfection. I was then sent on my merry way just one hour later! Talk about an express ‘lunchtime’ service!
#3 / The colour result
The L’Oréal Professionnel Instant Highlights system is ideal for creating a smattering of natural-looking highlights, which is the look I was going for. After chatting through the options with Britt, I settled on some subtle highlights to update my look and enhance my existing highlights. The result was exactly what I was hoping for. My hair looks so much fresher and now has extra dimension, which I love. My existing highlights (which were getting a little grown-out as it had been quite some time since my last appointment) are now looking much more blended and revived.
Good to know: L’Oréal Professionnel Instant Highlights is also perfect for creating balayage, babylights and face-framing highlights. It’s not suitable for doing a full head of highlights though, as a maximum of 15 foils can be done per service. But it is ideal for touching up highlights between your normal appointments - you’ll never have to put up with grown-out roots again!
To make sure this new colouring system is right for you, you should have a personalised consultation with your L’Oréal Professionnel colourist before you begin to discuss your hair goals and get their expert opinion on what will suit you individually.
#4 / How safe it is on hair
Colour processing takes time to work its magic and we all know that if you attempt to lift the hair too many levels, too quickly, it can result in fried hair, breakage, long-term damage and ALL of the bad hair things. So, after learning about the process and how quickly my hair could be lifted to a lighter level, my first question was “but will it damage my hair?” And thankfully Britt reassured me that my hair was in safe hands.
The Instant Highlights Lightening Crème is formulated with L’Oréal Professionnel’s Pro-Heat Technology to process hair in a fast but safe and controlled way. Britt also applied L’Oréal Professionnel’s Smartbond to further protect my hair during processing. I’m happy to report that Britt wasn’t lying – the sped-up colouring process didn’t fry my hair, and in fact, my hair has felt extra soft and manageable ever since my hair-lightening appointment.
It was very interesting to see the L’Oréal Professionnel Instant Highlights system in action and I was shocked by how quickly the colour processed. I was in and out of the salon during my lunch break. I’m really happy with the colour and am excited to know that I can now change up my look without forfeiting half a weekend to do so!
Want to try L’Oréal Professionnel Instant Highlights for yourself? Check out the salons below:
Otherwise, visit the L’Oréal Professionnel Salon Locator to find your closest Instant Highlights Salon.
Have you tried the L’Oréal Professionnel Instant Highlights service? Share your thoughts and experiences with us in the comments below.
Image credits: Sevak Babakhani
**Instrumental test vs L’Oréal Professionnel Lightening service without the heating tool.
Isobel is BEAUTYcrew’s Junior Beauty Writer. When she's not busy hunting for the latest beauty news, you’ll find her arranging her skincare collection in search of the perfect “shelfie.” Isobel was previously an intern in the beauty department at ELLE Australia.