I don’t even want to get started on the issues I’ve had with my hair because A) you’ll be here all day, and B) you know them already.


Long story short: Too much bleach – hair breakage catastrophe – unwanted and lopsided bob.


Last Year I discovered the joys of Viviscal and Millionaire Hair Mist which I firmly believe have helped to improve the condition of my lacklustre hair. Coupled with the awesome L’Oreal Pro-Fiber in-salon treatment, after almost two years, I finally got my hair to a point where I could begin to consider an actual style again (or maybe wreck it again).


Understandably nervous, I found myself terrified to let anyone touch my hair, even if just for a blowdry and selecting a competent and trustworthy hairdresser became something of a double-edged sword for me. That is, until I discovered somewhere hiding in plain sight. Step forward Collective Hairdressing; sound familiar? Collective Hairdressing is the award winning ‘Hair’ in Newcastle Hair and Beauty Clinic and the brainchild of Paul Clayton. Not only that, it’s ranked as one of the best salons in the UK, sounds pretty good so far right?


Recommended by my fabulous Editor in Chief at NE Love magazine, I headed to the salon for a full head of highlights to even out my drab and patchy colour. Paul is straight to the point, he tells me my colour is bad, but before I start to panic, he tells me we can fix it. We’ll be using Smartbond with the colour, a revolutionary product from L’Oreal in the same arena as Olaplex. If you bleach your hair, there’s no doubt you’ll have heard of Olaplex, it’s success in the hair colouring world has been so huge that it’s now considered a staple for anyone considering highlights or bleaching services. Smartbond is a similar product, which works on the hair bonds in a different way and without the internal chemical reaction. All you need to know is that the result is visible. Cosmetic hair colouring with bleach is risky business, particularly if hair is already brittle, Smartbond seeks to change that and opens up a world of colour to clients who couldn’t previously consider it.



Back to my story…..


Me and my brittle hair sat down and tried to relax. Paul painted my hair with a bespoke pale ash colour mixed with Smartbond using a mix of freehand and traditional highlighting techniques, to give a natural effect mimicking where the sun would naturally lighten the hair. I’m left with a selection of magazines and a cup of strong black coffee whilst the colour develops; the salon is loud, mainly with regular clients who all seem to know each other, shouting over to talk to one another and salon staff offering Cadbury’s Miniature Heroes around the salon. If there’s one word to describe Collective Hair, it’s ‘buzzing’.


Once developed, the colour is removed and a cool ash toner applied to neutralise any yellow tones and give that cool icy grey tone that I adore. When we’re ready to blowdry, Paul confirms that Smartbond isn’t a miracle cure, it doesn’t prevent all breakage but it does minimise the damage caused by bleaching. It’s a three part regime, the third part requires home maintenance in the form of L’Oreal Smartbond Conditioner – think of this as a way of recharging the benefits of the treatment.




Time for the big reveal. I can feel my stress levels rising, mainly because I’m fussy and pedantic, basically a hairstylist’s worst nightmare. I’ve been burned (literally and figuratively) by Stylists in the past and its wreaked havoc with my psyche.


I needn’t have worried, cool blonde tendrils frame my face, it’s urban and youthful and above all else, I’m super happy with the result. As far as salon experiences go, this was pretty damn awesome. From consulatation to completion, taking into consideration my lifestyle and my desired result, Paul created a bespoke colour without overly compromising the already poor condition of my hair.





In terms of pricing, Collective Hairdressing is competitive. Obviously when it comes to bespoke colour there are varying factors and so a consultation is essential to determine what you’re likely to pay. The good news is that Collective Hairdressing are partial to an offer, and if you click here you’ll find a downloadable voucher that’ll give you your first cut and blowdry for half price, followed by a technical colour service for half price – you’re welcome Voyeurs. If you’re a student, you’ll also be able to enjoy 20% off services Monday to Wednesday, pretty damn sweet right?!



What I haven’t mentioned is that this is a two part venture – you know I like to switch things up with my hair and dreamy pastels are my favourite.  This visit was all about achieving the perfect base, ready for another visit and a dalliance with Bed Head’s uber pale lilac just in time for London Fashion Week….