A Walk on the Lighter Side: My Hair Makeover
"I feel like Cousin It."
That was my sad response to an innocent "How are you?" from my sister just two weeks ago. I had hit the proverbial beauty wall -- I'd been growing my brunette hair for 14 months in preparation for my wedding and it was reaching epic length with no Kardashian-style bounce and luster to be seen. Every time I begged my stylist to snip off just a few inches he'd shake his head and tell me we needed all the hair we could get for the big day. So, I slogged on for months rocking endless top knots and the same brown hue month after month. While some women revel in long locks, mine felt like a high-maintenance frenemy with a mind of its own. Some days I'd wake up and resolve to put sexy, Victoria-Secret-waves in it only to end up with a sore arm and half a head of waves before tying another topknot.
Once my wedding festivities ended I practically ran over to our beauty department to plead my case for a drastic hair makeover. I'm a hair-color junkie at heart. I've been every shade of brunette you can imagine, I've had blond highlights and jet-black locks, I even took red for a spin in college -- so I was totally game for a new look. Our lovely beauty team came through with an appointment at The Patrick Melville Salon in New York City's Rockefeller Center where I'd have my color and cut done by hair legends Rick Wellman and Patrick Melville.
I arrived prepared with an inspiration photo of model Barbara Palvin sporting gorgeous highlights in varying degrees of honey blond and a warm brunette hue at her roots. Rick Wellman set to work immediately to make my color dreams come true. He used a technique that he pioneered call Biolights. This technique for adding highlights to hair involves using biodegradable cotton pads in place of foil during color application. The technique gives hair incredible dimension without using foil.
Despite the fact that my drastic color change took about two hours, I didn't experience any of the usual tingling or hot sensations I've previously felt with foil. Wellman explained that the cotton pads don't conduct heat so there's less risk of over processing the hair. He also said this technique allows him to give women their most-requested hair color style of the moment: Natural-looking, sun-kissed color -- the kind you see in kids' hair after a long summer. When the Biolights finished processing, Wellman's assistant, Wendy, applied two gloss treatments with demi-permanent color to my roots and ends. The darker color warmed up my roots to give the Biolights a rich base and the lighter gloss refreshed my ends.
When Wellman was finished working his color magic I headed over to Patrick Melville for my cut. He explained that the key with my fine hair was not to over-layer it. He finds that stylists will often over-layer fine hair in an attempt to give the appearance of movement and volume. But strategically placed layers are actually much more effective.
While my hair was still damp he spritzed it with a heavy dose of Kerastase Spray Volumifique and then things got crazy. He walked over to a bottle of pink gel, pumped out a blob about the size of a silver dollar, and raked the product through my hair. I was utterly perplexed and concerned -- the last time I'd put gel in my hair was the early 90s. Why was this hair genius putting gel in my hair!? Wouldn't that drag it down? What did he know that I didn't?
I keep my worries quiet and watched as he slowly gave me the best blowout of my life with a Mason Pearson brush. When he finished I stared in utter disbelief -- was this really my hair? My fine strands looked downright thick, voluminous, and plentiful. Whatever this gel-voodo-magic was I needed it, stat! After a little begging on my part, Melville revealed that the magic product is called Peter Hantz Styling Glaze. Melville says it's been his secret weapon for years to add grip and lift to lazy strands. He finished my style with a clamp-less curling wand and my transformation was complete.
After snapping about 900 selfies, I left the salon beaming. The color warmed up my complexion and I felt fabulous bucking the go-darker-for-fall trend. The cut was utter perfection -- the more I work with it at home the more I love it. Wellman and Melville are true artists. I left their salon with a huge confidence boost, ready to start life as a stylish Mrs.