Reality check for rainbow hair

rainbowSo I’ve covered how to care for blonde hair, and how to fix damaged hair, but I wanted to address a personal favourite of mine – rainbow hair.  By this, I mean any unnatural/pastel/crazy/bright/unicorn/mermaid/add-your-own-adjective hair.

I’ve been MOST shades of the colour wheel over the last 12 years (in fact – I think I’ve now come full circle!) and every week I have more clients requesting brighter shades, so I would like to pass on a few tips on what to expect, and how to extend the life of your colour.

  • GO TO A TRUSTED COLOURIST.  Now, I’m not saying this to promote my services, but I’ve seen way too many botched jobs in my life to not stress this fact. Even if it’s just to apply lightener/decolouriser (bleach, in non-salon terms) to your roots every 6 – 8 weeks.  I often do my own colour, but I’ll always have the roots done in-salon.  Once you overlap bleach onto already lightened hair, you run the risk of a chemical cut (i.e. your hair snapping off!), and your hair will have the consistency of chewing gum.  Niiiice.  So step away from the box.
  • Your dream Pinterest colour might not be achieved.  Sorry to burst your bubble.  It could be that your hair is too damaged, too porous, too stubborn.  BUT!  If you’re willing to be patient, and really treat your hair (refer to this post for product recommendations), you might be able to get Pin-worthy hair after all!  Your colourist will suggest lifting your hair in stages, and then toning brassiness down after each session until you get to the desired lightness to go all out bold.  Trust them on this! As a side note – loads of Pinterest hair pictures have been digitally altered and does not look like that in real life.
  • Expect to pay for quality.  These colour processes usually take up to 4-5 hours, in which your colourist could’ve seen other clients.  This is also where experience comes in, especially when it comes to advanced techniques such as balayage.
  • To get the purest colour, your hair needs to be lifted to the colour of the inside of a banana peel.  ANY stronger yellow, orange, or red in your hair will affect the result, and you could end up with a murky colour.  You’ll then need to lift it lighter.  I’d always recommend waiting at least 6 weeks, whilst doing intensive protein treatments, before going for another lifting process if the first session haven’t done enough.
  • Lavender/silver/light blue and generally all other pastels are sometimes the hardest shades to achieve (and incidentally the most sought after shades).  This is because your hair needs to be lifted to an almost pure white blonde, Khaleesi style (same reasons as the previous point). These tones are very delicate, and would need to be re-toned quite often.
  • Your hair might be a bit more sensitised.  Be gentle with it.


  • You wouldn’t throw a £20 000 couture gown in the washing machine, would you? Stop washing your custom coloured hair with the equivalent of dishwashing liquid then!!  Make sure you use colour safe professional products, (the no sulphate shampoos and conditioners from Pureology are ideal) and definitely boost the protein levels by using strengthening treatments – Redken’s CAT still is my favourite.
  • Maintenance.  You will most probably need to do touch-ups quite often.  Depending on a few factors, your colour will start to fade after a few washes.  An easy trick (for a straight-forward colour) is to fill up a small bottle with conditioner, and add a few drops of your colour.  Shake, and use once a week instead of your normal conditioner – you might want to use gloves for this!
  • Step away from heat.  This includes the sun, excessive blowdrying, other heated tools, and hot water.  Also, try to stretch your shampoos out as far as you can to keep the colour stronger for longer.


Treat your hair like the delicate fabric it is, and it will reward you with double-takes, a confidence boost, and the best ice breaker there is for awkward events where you don’t know anyone.  Have fun with it!!

For the bright-haired babes out there – what do you wish you knew before you went bold? Any tips you’d like to share?

BLOWDRYING 101 – Part One

Blowdry 2

Further to my ‘How to make the best of your hair’ posts, I wanted to go into more detail, explaining how to do a salon-quality va-va-voom blowdry.

Often, it could just be one or two things that you might not do at the moment that will make a world of difference!

Starting at the basics:


Elbie van Eeden

1. Hairdryer:  A good quality hairdryer is going to make a LOT of difference.  I use hairstylist favourite, Parlux 3500 Compact.  Although it’s one of their lighter models, it’s still pretty heavy to do a  blowdry if you’ve got loads of hair.  You could also look at Diva hairdryers, or trusty Babyliss.

2. Nozzle:  That little pointed attachment you got with your hairdryer? Hope you kept it! This is almost as important as your hairdryer itself.  Frizzy hair will greatly benefit from using one.  If you don’t use a nozzle, the dryer will blow your hair all over the place, and open the cuticle (the outer surface of your hair) making the hair appear even more frizzy.  A nozzle will help you direct the airflow along the length of the hair from roots to ends to smooth the cuticle, create more shine and give hold to the hairstyle.

3. Hair sectioning clips:  You could get these from most beauty supply stores. Crocodile clips work well if you have a lot of hair.  As soon as you start sectioning your hair in smaller  pieces to blowdry, you’ll have much more control.  You will also end up saving time in the long run.

3.  Brushes:

  • Tangle Teezer:  Believe the hype.  This will brush through your hair painlessly, getting rid of knots and cause less breakage in the long run.  Use on wet or dry hair.
  • Basic Round Brush: This versatile brush works best to manipulate hair, to create volume and movement/loose curls.  Choose one with a heat-retaining barrel to help with keeping the desired shape.  I use these ones from Denman.  I like having a little bit of weight in my handle, I feel that it gives me more control when blowdrying.  Vary the size of the brush head depending on how much hair you are working with and how loose or tight you want the volume/curl.
  • Boar Bristle Brush: Whether you’re using it to create a sleek ponytail, or to blowdry, the densely packed bristles of a boar brush are great for smoothing hair.  This brush is great for blowdrying hair straight, as it smooths and straightens at the same time.

4.  Hair product:  Not everyone agrees with me, but I still insist on using some kind of heat protection in your hair before you use any heat.  You wouldn’t (well, shouldn’t!) lie in the sun without sunscreen, would you?

Some of my favourites (although these change!)

  • For smooth locks:  Kérastase Oléo-Relax – Trust me on this one.  a little goes a LONG way.
  • For mega volume:  Redken Guts 10 Spray Foam – Spray the mousse directly on your roots, no mess = genius!
  • For everyday heat protection:  Redken Satinwear 02 – a non-oily heat protectant, especially good because it won’t make you feel like you have ‘product’ in your hair.

I hope that this inspires you to look through your existing tools, and possibly invest in a few new ones to make your life easier.  I will go into more detail as the series continues, but feel free to let me know in the comments what your go-to hair tools are!


Time for a change?

*EDIT* – The promotion is now extended until the end of March, if you book to have a cut and colour done during weekdays between 9:00 and 16:00 you’ll still get 15% off!


Some of you might already know that apart from doing make-up and hair for shoots and weddings, I’m also a fully qualified hairstylist and colourist!  I’ve started my career training to be a salon stylist, and have been doing hair for the last 10 years.  I love a challenge, and my clients range from having chic highlighted bobs, to rainbow hair (I’m looking at you, Mrs Rock ‘n Roll Bride!)

I’ve added a price list below, and today I’d like to offer a 15% discount in Jan/Feb if you have a cut AND colour done (includes highlights).  Spaces are limited.  Based in South East London.

For more information, please email me at: info(at)elbievaneeden(dot)com

Elbie Hair Price List

How to make the best out of your hair – Part Two


I have originally intended to write only one post on hair products, hair issues, and basically how to make the best out of your hair.  After a quick survey on twitter, I’ve been bombarded by hair problems that made me realise that I’d have to do more than one post (in fear of boring you to death by squeezing it all into one!)  So without further ado, here’s part one.


(You could stop giggling now, you’d be surprised at how many people still don’t do it right!)

Step 1 – Wet hair (I’m cringing because it’s so obvious!!)  The water temperature should not be too hot.  ALWAYS try to use a shower head, you’ll struggle to get your hair squeaky clean washing your hair in a bath.  (Bad hair day cause  #1!)

Step 2 – Pour a SMALL amount (50p size for medium length) of shampoo in to your palm, work it through your hands like a moisturiser, then apply it EVENLY through your hair and scalp, using your fingers to work it through in circular motions.

Step 3 – Rinse, and repeat step 2.  This is important – the first shampoo gets the dirt out, the second wash makes the shampoo’s active ingredients work.  You’ll also notice that if you use small amounts twice, you’ll do better than using one big blob.

Step 4 – Rinse, and TOWEL DRY your hair by blotting – not rubbing – with a towel.  This step is often left out, but you’ll notice the difference, as the conditioner will now be less diluted when applies.

Step 5 – Work a small amount (£1 size for medium length hair) of conditioner through your hands, and apply it to the midlengths and ends ONLY.  Your scalp produces its own oils, what I normally suggest to clients is to apply conditioner on the ‘ponytail’ part of the hair.  You might see a massive change in flat hair if you do it this way!  You could also gently run a comb through your hair, as the conditioner will make it easier to comb.  Try to leave it on for a few minutes.  This would also be the time you would use a hair mask/treatment once a week, or as suggested by your stylist.

Step 6 – Rinse out thoroughly, until you feel that squeaky clean feeling.  Try to do the final rinse with cooler water for extra shine.  Then towel dry again by blotting your hair with a towel.  For longer hair, try gently squeezing the hair with the towel.  I flinch whenever I see people vigorously rubbing their hair!  Your hair is at its most vulnerable when it’s wet, and rubbing it is just going to damage it.

It sounds like a lot of effort, but soon it will become second nature.  I would love to hear your thoughts and experiences after trying this!

Now I need your input.  Feel free to comment on topics you’d like me to blog about.  I’m planning to cover common problems, styling tips, product suggestions, but it’s great to hear what people really struggle with!

Kirsty Mitchell – Virtuoso, Friend

Over two and a half years ago I’ve met someone who would become one of the most important people in my life.  Sitting in Kirsty Mitchell’s living room, she showed me the most beautiful bonkers moodboard and had even crazier ideas popping out of her mouth. I knew I’ve found a creative soulmate, and Wonderland was born. We truly are neighbours in lala-land.

This lady has been through so much in her life, being really ill herself and then having to lose her mother, who was her best friend.  She decided that she would do a series in tribute to the memory of her mother.  (Please read the wonderful interview at My Modern Metropolis, as well as her About section on her website for more about her background)

Working with her has really opened my eyes, and believe that all the fluffy ideas in my head could become reality.  Every time she comes up with a new idea with a spark in her eyes (‘I’m thinking of a teeny tiny girl sitting on top of a giant cake with colours bursting everywhere’ was one of the milder ones) I would have a silent giggle, because I knew that it would be a lot of work, but we WILL pull it off in the end.

Along with her long-suffering (new!) husband and a couple of close friends, we do pretty much everything ourselves.  Making props, painting trees (with not-toxic water-soluble paint, I might add!), getting up at the crack of dawn to help model Katie on to her stilts in the woods, her mixing batches of paint for the perfect colour, the list goes on and on!  Kirsty is the mastermind behind it all, and her background in costume and fashion design ensures that there’s always a way to make the seemingly impossible, possible.  Add to that her sheer determination, and her visions magically become reality.

I love this girl to bits, and I could not believe the response that Wonderland got (published globally, both online and in print), I’m so privileged and proud to be a part of it.  This has changed my life, my self-belief, my drive, and I can’t wait to see what 2012 has in store!  She just quit her job as a full-time fashion designer for a well-known fashion brand, and this year there’ll be much more time to finish the series, promote it, and a lot of other exciting things…

The reason I chose today to write about Kirsty and Wonderland is that after ten months of not publishing ANYTHING, today will see the launch of new pictures.  Head over to her BLOG  for the story behind the new pictures, behind the scenes pictures and more.

Signing off with a few behind the scenes pictures of the Wonderland series, feel free to pop over to her Facebook page for more!

(Georgie likes to help)

Jasmine Star Workshop – A Make-up Artist’s Review

So a couple of months ago Kat from Rock ‘n Roll Bride asked me if I would like to get involved in doing the make-up for a workshop. Not just any workshop, this would be supernova wedding photographer, Jasmine Star‘s first UK workshop.. Needless to say, I jumped at the chance!

Jasmine is a hugely successful photographer based in the States, and her workshop was an inspiration to everyone who attended, whether you’re a photographer or not. I think that’s mostly because the core of it is to identify what makes your brand, YOUR brand. To isolate what sets you apart, and to use it to your advantage.

The little bits that I manage to hear in between doing the make-up were brilliant, I had so many eureka moments on the day!

Thanks again for Jasmine and her husband, JD, for inspiring us, and Kat for organising it all!

Some of the photographers who attended the course wrote reports, check it out HERE

Oooh! And make sure you watch the fabulous video made by FX Films (and yes, he makes everyone look gooood)

Behind the Scenes Crew:

Venue: One Marylebone  (Alicia)
Flowers: Pollen Nation
Cakes: Restoration Cake  (mini cakes) and Janet Mohapi-Banks (large ‘rose’ cake)
Furniture (chairs/tables/screen/sofas): Great Hire
Caterers: The Recipe 
Hair: Severin Hubert of The Hepburn Collection 
Make Up: Elbie Van Eeden
Behind the Scenes Video: Richard Wakefield of FX Films
Organiser/Instigator: Kat Williams of Rock n Roll Bride
Models: Rachel & Dan


(All pictures courtesy of Jasmine Star Photography)

Gemma – Rock the Frock – Worcester

I met Gemma through twitter.  She was getting married in Greece, and wanted a Rock the Frock shoot when she came back. (Multi-wear wedding dress?  Hell yeah!)

She wanted to have fun with the shoot, and got  The Barbers on board (check out their flashy new website!) I’ve worked with them at Abbie’s wedding, and they’re so much fun to have around!

We decided to go for two looks, one dreamy, unpolished look, and the other full-out 80’s glam!!  As you can see from the pictures, we had such a great laugh, and it didn’t feel like ‘work’ at all! The weather didn’t play along too well, and we were stranded in a field under umbrellas for a while, but gloomy background gave the pictures a moody look, which worked quite well. I kept the look quite simple and pretty for the first look, but went OTT on lashes, green glitter liners, pink lips AND blusher on the second look! I used some padding in her hair to get the quiff shape, and used crimpers for texture. This was too much fun, I would really encourage brides to do a shoot after the wedding – there’s nothing to stress about, and the creative possibilities are ENDLESS!!

More on the shoot at The Barbers’ Blog

Dress: Honour by Suzanne Neville

Neckpiece:  Butler&Wilson

And she’s back…

(outtake from Rock 'n Riot shoot, with the Rock 'n Roll Bride herself! Photographer:  Emma Case)

(outtake from the Rock ‘n Riot shoot, with the Rock ‘n Roll Bride herself!) Photographer:  Emma Case

Ok, I know it’s been AGES since my last blog entry, but I guess life happened.  And we struggled with web access for over a month! (But that’s another long story…)

Ooh! But I finally quit my job, so I’m now Elbie van Eeden – FULL-TIME FREELANCER.  It kinda has a nice ring to it, doesn’t it?

Exciting week ahead!!  Tonight I’ll be meeting up for drinks with Kat from Rock ‘n Roll Bride, wedding photographer extraordinaire Jasmine Star, all of the photographers attending and the rest of the ‘behind the scenes crew’ taking part in tomorrow’s (!!!) workshop, which I blogged about here.  I can’t believe that this day has come around so fast!! I’m very excited to be a part of this, doing the make-up for tomorrow’s shoot, and working with so many talented and inspiring individuals.

I will keep you updated with the ongoings via twitter, and might even sneak a couple of pictures in!

And in future, I’ll try my utmost best to be a better blogger… PROMISE!


Our own wedding featured on Rock n Roll Bride!!

I was beyond excited when Kat, creator of asked if she could feature our wedding on her site.  My story with Kat is a precious one, and I’m eternally grateful for what she has done for my business.  It was mainly because of her that I started to focus more on weddings in the first place!  And also, because of her, I have had the most awesome brides (don’t ya think?)

I started to follow Rock n Roll Bride shortly after my own engagement about two years ago.  (I think I’ve literally Googled ‘alternative wedding ideas’ or something along those lines!)  I started to follow her on twitter, soaking up on all the pink-haired goodness, and she started following me too, after featuring some of the Wonderland project that I’ve been working on with Kirsty Mitchell. (Click here, here, and here to see the posts.)  We started talking, organised a shoot, and BAM!  An instant friendship was born.

So in short, it’s been quite a journey, and I’m privileged to have our wedding blogged on her fabulous site.  (Oh, and it IS relevant, as I’ve done my own hair and make-up!)

For the full post, click here:



Photography: RVDS

For a full list of credits, please see post