I’ve had a life-long love/hate relationship with my hair. It’s the darkest shade of brown that you can almost call black as you can see in the above photo, and for some reason, I’ve never been completely in love with my natural colour. So, I’ve been through colour after colour to try to change myself into a soft brunette to effortless balayage to a blonde. It certainly hasn’t been an easy (or cheap) road, and the grass always seems greener once I realise blondes have SO much more maintenance than natural brunettes, yet I forget every time and still do it. I certainly haven’t forgotten the last time I went blonde, because it was mortifying – my hair was so completely orange and brittle that I’m surprised it didn’t all fall out and I still had friends. This time around, my blonde attempt had to be done by the best of the best. I not only wanted the best salon I could find in Sydney, but I also wanted the best colourist who used the best products, because although ‘it’s only hair’ and ‘it’ll grow back’, I was not going through another orange disaster followed by months of treatments and weeks of apologies for not being seen in public. So, I found the absolutely wonderful Kristina Russell who works out of the amazing salon Edwards and Co. in Sydney’s East and took a leap of faith to be the best blonde I could be. Surely, anything had to be better than the below:
So who is Kristina Russell, other than a complete and utter legend? She’s an absolute superstar in the world of hair colouring. She’s renowned for her unique approach to colouring hair as if it’s a blank canvas, or in my case, a canvas that has had a lot of shit thrown at it. She’s been hairdressing for over 20 years, so I had to ask her about the initial attraction to the hair colouring game, to which she explained: “I always loved hairstyling and painting, a lot more than high school… this naturally led to the difficult decision of whether to become a hairdresser or an art student. My love for hair and the fashion pack led me directly to an apprenticeship in Hairdressing. Many years later , I auditioned for fashion college and studied Textile Design & Printing for a few years. Both compliment each other well, especially when teaching how to mix colours. I love to paint & surround myself with colour, so a career as a hair colourist is the perfect place for me”. Kristina really approaches hair colouring like a true artist, which led me to ask how far that love for colour goes? Kristina said “my haircolour work has been described as an artist that approaches hair as a black canvas, and layers many techniques within it to create dimension. This approach has come from long relationships with artists in alternative fields such as graffiti, dance, fashion and tattoo. My obsession (or passion) is colour!” And I for one, don’t dispute that for a second.
So when someone is that good at their craft, why wouldn’t they share their gift? And of course, Kristina started teaching on stage as an apprentice. When she began, she said that “immediately I was hooked! I have toured as an as an industry Educator in the USA, Asia, Europe and across Australia & New Zealand. Every time I teach, I learn something new about myself and the industry. It becomes and incredible exchange of ideas. I love seeing students pick up my tricks and then share their version on social media”. Her work has been published in over 30 countries and in countless publications, which of course leads you to wonder about recognition and awards, which she again absolutely nails. In 2010, Kristina’s creative influence on the industry and successful colour business practice earned her the coveted title ‘Australian Hair Expo Colour Technician of the Year’, which she says elevated her to the world stage. Kristina said that “Australian hairdressing events and awards are rated amongst the top in the world, and therefore it is an excellent way to share our home-grown talent. My focus is split between personal grounding and professional growth, and sometimes this includes learning new skills or competitions”. And the work speaks for itself:
You too can be lucky enough to have this master work on your hair, as she is based in Sydney’s Edwards and Co. – an innovative warehouse studio that showcases only the most talented and renowned hairdressers. You feel inspired walking into Edwards, as it’s a collective group of people all at the top of their game working together, learning from each other and demonstrating some of the most difficult skills with effortless ease. Basically, it’s a space where all the most talented and niche freelancers come together to offer a truly personalised service and run their own show – you can be coloured, cut, styled and have your nails done all by the best of the best. If they also housed a chef, I don’t think I’d ever want to leave.
It was clearly a no-brainer to trust Kristina working out of Edwards and Co. with the task of lifting my hair out of the orange tones and into the creamy blonde realm, whilst also educating me on my hair homework, which is basically as vital as the process itself. I knew about toner and I knew that coloured hair is basically considered damaged hair and I knew that my ‘blank canvas’ was the worst blank canvas for poor Kristina to attack, as not only did I have colour mistakes in there, but I had grey hairs/damaged, untreated ends and orange tones that I was asking her to correct. It felt like less of a task to request her to name her first born Nicola. Yet, she took me on – the overly dramatic client with hair baggage who’s got hair issues from being hurt by hairdressers past, and gave me not only the best experience I’ve had in a salon, but a newly found hair knowledge that makes me walk around just that little bit more smug (if that was possible). I now know how Kim Kardashian West was able to go blonde in one day. And I now know that hair-stress is completely avoidable if you put your trust in someone that was the ‘Australian Hair Expo Colour Technician of the Year’. And I now know that blondes not only have more fun, but they have a lot of hair homework, which they’ve been busy doing while brunettes do actual homework and hence, blonde jokes were born. Stay tuned to firstworldbeautyproblems.com, with a complete rundown of products, process, technique and results are all shown with complete honesty, transparency and numerous excited squeals.