When I first heard that L’Oréal Professional would soon be launching a colour protection treatment I was intrigued. Having already come across Olaplex, the hair protector Kim Kardashian’s colourist swears by as the reason why her hair remains healthy despite frequent (read drastic) changes, I wanted to put the upcoming product to test during an exclusive preview.
Smart Bond, the French cosmetic giant’s answer to inevitable colour damage is meant to be used by professionals when dying your hair; a two step process, the first application, to be mixed with bleach is applied to protect hair while the second step seals in colour and adds a lustrous shine. That is atleast, what the product is touted to do.
To really put Smart Bond to test it wouldn’t just do to go light with my hair. Already possessing a head full of highlights I really wanted to push the envelope to gauge whether the claims made by the brand stood true or were just that, claims. Taking a risk and a leap of faith, I opted to go for a pastel pink shade all over, with my roots retaining their original colour.
I was hesitant when I first arrived at Ruby’s Splitends salon, where the activity was being hosted but the team assured me that I was in good hands with my stylist for the day, Liu Bei, a Chinese national who had been living in Pakistan for six years, working at a salon in Islamabad. Bei’s own cropped hair was dyed a phenomenal graduating shade, silver fading into the palest blonde. Looking at his hair I thought to myself, if he can manage that on his head then I’m sure he can manage mine. And my assumption was more than accurate.
After a quick consultation where Bei examined my hair and I shared a reference photo of what I wanted from him, he informed me that the shade of pastel pink I had in mind would wash out too quickly so he’d start me off on with a brighter shade which would then fade into the pastel colour I wanted with each wash.
Step one of Smart Bond was mixed with the bleach and applied to my hair. To cut the colour from my tresses they had to be bleached twice, with the entire bleaching duration lasting a little over two hours. Once the bleaching was finally done it was time to wash my hair and apply the pink pigment. Needlessly to say I was quite nervous and from how Bei reacted after the entire colouring process was over, I’d believe so was he!
The pigment was applied to my wet hair in the washing basin after the bleach had been thoroughly shampooed out of it. The actual colouring process took less that 15 minutes and it was on to the glossing and step two of Smart Bond next.
In wet hair, my vibrant pink lengths stood out a little too starkly against my dark roots and I felt a twinge of apprehension creep in. Did I just make a huge mistake? I luckily had no time to dwell on he thought as Bei was back, sculpting my damp locks into a sleek asymmetrical lob with a round brush and blow drier.
After drying and tonging random strands along the front, Bei set my hair in place with a fixing spray that prevented fly-aways without making it stiff. And it look and felt fabulous, if I may say so myself. I could have never imagined enjoying a wacky colour like bubble-gum pink in my hair but I was genuinely thrilled with the results; not just from the colour but also by Smart Bond.
While pink might be a shade I opt for only once in my life, I know I’ve been converted by the protective capabilities of Smart Bond and will definitely return to it again while colouring.