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Put to the Test: Instant Highlights by L’Oréal Professionnel

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Our beauty editor puts the latest highlighting service at Rodney Wayne to the test.

If you’re anything like me, going to the hairdresser feels like a luxury. Rodney Wayne creative director Richard Kavanagh says it’s how a lot of women feel. “People want to feel good and look good, but realistically we’re all time poor,” says the hair guru. While we all want healthy, luscious locks for summer, finding a time to schedule in a three-hour-plus colouring appointment can be tricky, especially as the hectic festive season looms closer. This is where L’Oréal Professionnel’s latest innovation Instant Highlights comes to the solution.

The Service

Designed with those who are time poor in mind, Instant Highlights is a very clever in-salon colouring service that delivers real results without you having to give up half your day. The big promise is that the service will enhance hair colour in half the time of normal highlights. “There’s no need to compromise how you look and feel with the service,” says Kavanagh.

There are three different techniques that colourists use in the salon: balayage refresh, instant contouring and soft highlights. Balayage refresh has been designed to be done in between regular balayage appointments. “It’s an opportunity to quickly freshen up your colour,” says Kavanagh. Instant contouring is designed to work with your facial features. “Most women who want a taste of highlights want that sunkissed feel around the face, this is perfect for that. It’s about strategically using highlights to frame the face and bring out your best features,”  Kavanagh explains. And soft highlights is a subtle blend of highlights throughout the hair to enhance your colour. 

The service involves around six to 12 foils being put in your hair. An innovative heated tool – which looks a little bit like a hair straightener – created especially for the Instant Highlights service is then run over the foils to speed up the colouring process. “The tool is designed to heat up to 140 degrees Celsius and it’s regulated every .2 seconds,” explains Kavanagh. “It means that it’s always safe for hair,” he adds. “The special plate doesn’t make direct contact with the foil so it gives an even temperature which results in a beautiful consistent look.” 

Maintaining hair health throughout the service is imperative which is why the formulation used in Instant Highlights contains nourishing oils and L’Oréal Professionnel’s Smart Bond (you can read more about Smart Bond here.) “Combined with Smart Bond and the oil formulation it is a lot gentler on hair. Hair feels amazing and beautiful after,” says Kavanagh.

Kavanagh explains that the service is able to lift up to six levels of colour – hair colour is broken up into 10 levels with one being the darkest black and 10 being the lightest blonde. “It’s a great way for those who are new to colouring to dip their toes in the water,” Kavanagh says. Who it’s not suitable says Kavanagh is those who want a full head of highlights or a full balayage from scratch. “It’s for contouring around the face and refreshing current balayage.” 

The Verdict

I’ll admit a trip to the hair salon is much more of a rarity than it should be for me – much of this comes down to the fact that it takes an incredibly long time to colour, cut and blow dry my very thick, long hair. So, the Instant Highlights service at Rodney Wayne appeals to me for obvious reasons. 

I’m in great at hands as Milly Briant, artistic team member at Rodney Wayne’s Fort Street salon, talks me through the service. Briant says that while there are three different techniques that can be used with Instant Highlights, the beauty of the service is that it can be customised to suit the client. For example, my balayage is definitely in need of a freshen up but Briant suggests a few subtle highlights placed slightly higher at the front of my hair to frame my face.

Because my hair is long and very, very thick I’m never going to be in an out of the salon in 45 minutes. That being said, Instant Highlights does deliver on its promise. I’ve been known to have spent more than four hours getting my hair done in the past, and a great portion of that time has always been waiting for colour to develop. There’s no waiting around with the Instant Highlights service – the foils are placed, the heated tool is applied and then just like that the colouring part of your service is done.  

The end result is just what I needed: my balayage looks fresh and my hair looks sun-kissed. “If you’ve got a big event coming up and you have deadlines and everything else to balance but you have to go that event but you don’t have the time for your regular colour service, Instant Highlights is perfect,” says Kavanagh. It’s easy to see why this will be an incredibly popular service in the lead up to Christmas – all the more reason to book in at your local Rodney Wayne now. 

The Instant Highlights service is available at Rodney Wayne nationwide now. You can book your appointment at your nearest Rodney Wayne salon here.


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