Salon Review: Bespoke Fusion colour at Eleven
Thanks to a feature in a newspaper a few years ago that suggested visiting Jason Welch at Eleven was the only way to go blonde in London, the colourist now has a client list packed with fair-haired fashionistas.
So it was ironic that I visited him to do the opposite. I turned up at the gorgeous Soho salon as a blonde and asked him to take my battered, stressed and damaged locks to a more manageable shade of golden brown (the mags call it 'blondette' but I can't bring myself to say that with a straight face).
Here I am before the visit - I always go to a hairdresser with my hair air-dried so they can see the natural texture (read: mess). I'm not the kind of girl who blow-dries every day so any cut or colour has to work with my messy waves.
My inspiration for the new look was Sarah Jessica Parker circa 2008, and I took the below picture to give Jason an idea of what I was looking for. I wanted a subtle, faded look, as if my hair had been bleached in the sun and slowly grown out during the colder months. For the first time in years, I was going to be reunited with my dirty blonde roots!
Natural brunette SJP gets her look with Balayage, which involves a stylist painting on random highlights through the hair where it catches the light, rather than using the traditional foil technique. Jason is a Balayage expert, but since I had light hair that needed to go darker, I would be testing out something even cooler, his own custom colouring technique, known as Bespoke Fusion.
What this basically involves is a mixture of different dyes applied in a completely custom way tailored to the client, to give depth and gloss. It allows for a multi-dimensional, expensive-looking finish that you just wouldn't get with a single tint or at-home treatment that can often end up flat.
Jason chose to use a mix of Redken colour glosses on my hair, which are demi-permanent (he wanted to give me something that was easy to reverse should I miss my lighter shade). Colours were painted onto sections and sealed in foil to develop, with some ends left poking out so they stayed light. I ended up with hair that was coloured five different shades in total - a darker shade towards the roots, two shades of golden brown through the lengths, some of my previous blonde poking out from the untouched ends, plus a tiny bit of lightener through the roots to break up the darker shade and stop it looking too blocky. the whole thing took about an hour and a half to apply and develop. Then there was just time for a sexy salon blow-dry that lasted as long as it took me to step outside into the rain!
Here's a sneaky in-salon Instagram - note the chic chocolate brown Eleven cutting gown!
I was really happy with the end result. As I showed it off to friends in the coming days most of the comments were about how expensive the colour looked because it was so multi-dimensional and glossy. One savvy friend even said "It looks like Sarah Jessica Parker's hair" (result!). I went from high maintenance blonde to effortless, natural, worn-in golden brown, which feels very right for Winter. I really love the colour despite being a blonde devotee - I wanted proof that dark blonde doesn't have to be dull and I definitely got it. The way my hair is coloured is a nice subtle alternative to ombre; there's a definite lightening towards the ends, but I don't look like I've dipped my hair in bleach, nor do I look like I need my roots doing.
As for Eleven, it's a lovely salon with plenty of character and a really friendly team. I felt comfortable and welcome from the moment I walked in, and Jason was an absolute dream - knowledgable, funny and very, very talented when it comes to colour. If you're looking to do something different, or if you're bored of flat colour, I absolutely recommend visiting him for a treat, just be careful - this could be the beginning of a very expensive habit!
Eleven salon is at 11 Blenheim St, London W1S 1LL. For appointments call 020 7491 2390. For more info visit Eleven-Hair.com. Bespoke Fusion colour with Jason Welch starts at £165.