I must admit, I’ve had my fair share of hair dye disasters – dating as far back as childhood. Those summer holidays spent sat on the beach with my big sister, squeezing lemons over our heads in the hope of achieving sun-kissed, “beachy” highlights – only to end up in a sticky, pip-infused mess. That one year I went overkill with the Sun-In lightening spray and had clumps of hair break off in the shower – I’m not exaggerating. The other time I attempted to transition from blonde to brunette and somehow ended up battery acid orange. I won’t even go into the nightmare experience I had at a local hair salon in Hong Kong when I emerged with a light blue tinge (no, I did not ask for the Marge Simpson!)
Needless to say, when it comes to hair, I’ve learned the hard way that attempting to “try something new” is not a good idea, and some things should just be left alone. However, time is a healer, so when I heard that Capelli Salon in Repulse Bay was relaunching and bringing celebrity stylist, David Malo, over from Melbourne to head it up, my little ears pricked up. Surely my locks would be safe in the talented hands of the man who has styled models for Chanel, Givenchy, and Victoria Secret at New York fashion week – not to mention the likes of Celine Dion and Mariah Carey! Confident with his track record and keen to add a little “glow” to my dark blonde mane in time for summer, I decided to break my no-dye rule and book myself a session with Malo. After sending him several photos of my hair, at his request (already very impressed), he suggested that a Balayage treatment would “look amazing”.
What is Balayage?
Not being a follower of fashionable hair trends, I’ll admit to having no idea was Balayage actually was, but hey, this man has worked with Mariah, so I was more than happy to let him loose on my locks. Named after the French word meaning to sweep or to paint, Balayage is a technique used to create sun-kissed natural looking highlights with softer, less noticeable regrowth lines – and no trace of lemon pips – hallelujah! The colour is not applied at the roots, meaning the highlights can be left to grow out naturally without having to pop back for re-touches. This has made it a more popular (and cheaper) option for women the world over, not to mention Hollywood A-listers who are after that effortlessly gorgeous and oh-so-natural look.
All it takes is a three to four hour session, costing around $2,500 (depending on your hair length) and you’re pretty much set. That may sound fairly pricey, but when you add up the potential cost of frequent trips to the salon for those highlight retouches (around $1,000 a pop), it’s much lighter on your wallet in the long run. With all this in mind, I was instantly sold – after all, who can be bothered with maintaining roots? And who can even afford to have hefty highlights done every 6 to 8 weeks? Well, maybe Mariah, but this is the real world – and a pop diva I am not. That said, I did feel like an A-lister when I set foot in the Capelli salon, which leads me on to the venue.
With its trendy, modern black and white decor, giant, gold framed mirrors, and shelves of branded hair products, the Capelli salon has celebrity written all over it. Of course, the big pile of gossip magazines helps to create this feel too. The fact that the salon is located to the side of the beautiful courtyard of The Repulse Bay Arcade (pictured above), makes you feel like you’re a million miles away from the chaos of the city – another reason this is the perfect go-to pamper spot.
Sat down in a comfy chair in front of the gigantic mirror, with a cup of ginger tea in one hand and the latest issue of Marie Claire in the other, I let my hair down (quite literally) and let Malo begin to work his magic. “I think we’ll go for a more biscuity colour to suit your skin tone and light up your features”, he said as he began teasing small sections of my hair and painting on the carefully mixed dye just a few inches below the root. I wasn’t entirely sure what “biscuity” looked like, but hey, he’s the expert.
“The good thing about Balayage is that it’s not stripey, it’s a seamless form of colouring and you pretty much just leave it to grow out naturally,” he explained as he folded each painted section into foils, leaving me with a full head of silver. After twenty-odd minutes sat under the spaceship-like heater, it was time to hit the wash basin to remove the foils and indulge in a relaxing head massage as Malo added a specially mixed toner and deliciously fragrant products to protect my newly coloured tresses.
Sat in front of the mirror with towel dried hair, I could see no difference whatsoever in my hair colour – ooh, this could be awkward. However, as Malo (pictured above) began to comb and blow dry sections, beautiful tones of blonde began to emerge and I finally learned what “biscuity” looks like (FYI, a kind of golden brownish/caramel colour). Twirling each section with a big curling brush under the hair dryer, Malo went about making the finishing touches to my summery makeover, adding the occasional spray to hold it all in place.
Three hours later and I left Capelli feeling like the hybrid of a Disney princess and a pop star – only without the vocals to match. It didn’t matter, I still felt fabulous. So if you’re looking for a touch of summer glow in the most low-maintenance way possible, Balayage is absolutely for you, and this man knows how to paint! No roots, no touch ups needed, no breakage, and most importantly – no lemon pips. I left very happy in the knowledge that I won’t be seeing Malo for quite some time – well, perhaps until I start looking like Rapunzel.
The Balayage treatment with Malo costs around $2,500 (depending on hair length) and is available Monday to Saturday at Capelli.
Capelli Salon by Sense of Touch, G115-G116, The Repulse Bay Arcade, 109 Repulse Bay Road, (+852) 2592 9559