Fashion: Hair to dye for
"Changing your hair colour can make you feel very different and can give you a different outlook on life - it can be an emotional experience," said 24-year-old Toni&Guy technician Anna-Maria Hynes at the firm's Canary Wharf salon as she applies bleach to my neglected roots.
"If my clients don't leave the salon smiling and feeling good about themselves then I'm not doing my job properly."
The L'Oreal Young Colourist winner 2013, beat entrants from more than 1,000 salons to claim victory at the recent awards.
Anna was briefed to create an overall model look that flawlessly merged a well-executed haircut and inspirational hair colour, alongside editorial clothes with styling that reflected awareness of key trends from the autumn/winter runway collections.
The accolade has given the young hairdresser great exposure and a boost to her career.
She said: "My career means a lot to me. Winning the trophy helps get my name out there and opens up opportunities. I'm on the right path towards where I want to be."
Anna-Maria says a good colourist needs imagination, understanding and the ability to be realistic about what is achievable.
In my case she explains my natural light brown hair will always have a warm tone to it when dying it lighter - something I have attempted to fight many times with various home kits in numerous failed attempts at turning myself into a blonde bombshell.
She suggests I'm never going to be able to replicate Gwyneth Paltrow's icy blonde hue, and we discuss warmer toned blonde alternatives.
Anna-Maria said: "You have to be visually aware of training your eye to what suits people, you can tell a lot about a client's personality from their clothes and colours they wear. I will also always discuss lifestyle and how much time the person has to spend on their hair at home.
"It's all about building a reputation. I have a responsibility to explain and inform my clients about how to manage their colour. Good solid training and product knowledge helps too."
As well as technical ability Anna-Maria says much of her job is about listening to clients' needs and building a regular client base.
She said: "I have to work hard to build good relationships, Wharfers are so busy, but once you have proved yourself, clients start asking for you and keep coming back.
"The dip-dye look is still popular but I also do a lot of classical work like highlights for those who need to look a bit smarter.
"The mid-dye is going to be big this year, similar to the dip-dye but rather than colouring the ends of your hair the mid section is dyed. Pastel pinks and greens and candy floss colours will continue to be on trend."
I walk out of the salon feeling like a new woman. Grown out dark roots have disappeared and a refreshed brighter blonde gives me more confidence.
I head out for drinks swishing my new lighter locks. Now I just need to work on a Gwyneth-style physique, book deal and rock star husband.
Toni&Guy Canary Wharf, One Canada Square. Prices vary. For appointments book online at toniandguy.com or call 020 7987 6222.
You must pop in to the salon for a skin allergy test 48 hours before a technical appointment.