Long awaited was my return to Vancouver, and even longer was my commitment to adopting purple treads. In the months leading up to a prospective West Coast vacation, I had fervently researched the desired style, eventually also confirming my salon of choice.
The appointment had been secured on the date of arrival, my decision utterly unaltered by the price and duration. I mean, I'm here anyway and wasn't about to lose out on the opportunity.
Turning onto Hollybridge Way, there was no longer shade within sight. 19-degree weather proved scorching under direct sunlight.
My stylist appeared shortly afterwards and ushered me inside. At this point, we commenced discussion on the desired outcome, consulting both my references images and his past projects. I had my eyes set on a trendy layered style that, admittedly, seemed to be popular locally than back home. While maintaining the top layer natural, the bottom layer would adopt a cool purple. However, unlike most partial dye jobs, I requested to maintain the bottom-most layer its natural shade.
As part of the booking, I had requested a trim as well. Once again, the stylist was diligent in confirming the length to be removed and ensured confirmation was received before proceeding. Likewise, he repeated this for each step of procedure before initiating, explaining the steps he would be taking.
For the first time in any colouring appointment, I was permitted to keep my glasses on. This was tremendously helpful, as I would retain, at best, 40% vision strength otherwise. Smartphone use could continue in parallel.
"When it grows out, it will look ugly." I began to explain my rationale, though he caught on quickly.
"Ah! So you can hide the parts underneath black hair!" He nodded, acknowledging my thought process. "You are smart."
My strands were a yellowy blonde after the first round of bleaching. A touch had come into contact with my ear, causing a burning sensation. The stylist quickly followed up with ear covers and carefully cleaned off any exposed areas of skin. The gap in bleaching relieved my ear tremendously, though I did find that particular section to be less pigmented than the rest, even after the job was done.
Two rounds of bleaching spanned approximately three hours. In this time, my battery was slowly depleted. My concerns were relayed to the stylist again, who set off in search of a USB Type C cable for Android. With majority of the staff being iPhone users, some time passed before he returned with the correct cable for my needs. It was a very courteous act, and I was truly appreciative of him taking the time to search the salon grounds.
"Did you want to colour these sides as well?" He gestured to the pieces that would frame my face.
I contemplated the idea for a moment, then responded, "What do you think? Will it look nice?"
He thought for a moment as well, then concluded, "Yes, I think it will nice."
"Ok! Let's do it."
Most of the other stylists in the vicinity could be heard communicating in Chinese, either Cantonese or Mandarin.
There was exceptional transparency throughout the process, for beyond detailing the next step, he would show me the packaging of each product being applied. When asked about maintenance procedures, he advised against heat styling where possible and usage of a "not-too-hot" hair dryer for regular hairdrying. I also learned of purple shampoo, which was to be used 1-2 weeks following the dye job to replenish and boost purple tones through staining.
Needless to say, I requested images of my fresh do. Surprisingly, so did the stylist! He eagerly snapped photos of my hair by the window on the ground floor before attempting a second round on the second floor studio. The space had been dedicated for photos, complete with a softbox setup.