As a teen, I was obsessed with straightening my hair until it had zero kinks and stuck straight to my head. It was only then that the “LG” Elise could be seen in public. At some point in my later teens this changed and I never did my hair. My mum would make comments saying I should at least brush it, but mascara, brow gel and a subtle variation of the Kim K contour took priority over my hairstyle.

Although I am still taking the initiative to brush my brows into place, I figured it was also time that I did something with my hair. After all, I work in fashion, so shouldn’t I have hair that is at least somewhat fashionable? With this in mind, I teamed up with local Victoria stylist, Renée Lalonde from the newly opened Copper & Ash Collective, to create hair that is actually cool enough to be on a fashion blog. So, without further anecdotes of my past hair endeavours, I am excited to share how Renée turned me into a cool kid by changing my hair.

Renée Lalonde Hair

I was introduced to Renée from a friend whose hair colour she had done and I loved. Once I met her, it didn’t take me long to realize that not only was she awesome at hair, but that she would be fun to hang out with too. I might be getting a bit ahead of myself in the story here, but Renée stood apart from other stylists who’ve worked on my hair in that her passion really did shine through. During the time I spent at the salon (the process took several hours), I heard all sorts of fun stories about the very young Renée experimenting with her hair and how her mum said that she would become a hair stylist long before she knew so herself. I also learned several geeky hair facts and how modern scientific developments are changing how we process our hair. More details on this to come later.

All in all, Renée Lalonde is an informed, passionate and skilled stylist whom I am proud to support as a young, female business woman here in Victoria.

Copper & Ash Collective

Copper & Ash is a collective of four local stylists, 3 of which are partners in ownership of the salon. From my experience, regardless of the industry, you can always count on receiving great service from a space where the staff are also invested in the business. In the case of Copper & Ash, this notion really shines through. The salon is created by them, for them and they are proud to be a part of it.

The space is essentially the personification of what is currently cool. Located on lower Pandora, the mixture of brick walls, unfinished wood, industrial accents and trendy details such as succulents make Copper & Ash “hip” to say the least.

In fitting with local values, the salon has also made sustainability a priority by becoming a registered Green Circle Salon. In doing so, the salon has reduced their waste by 95%. All chemical residue is properly disposed of as opposed to going down the drain. The hair which which ends up on the floor after cutting is used in booms to soak up oil spills – talk about getting creative with recycling!


In case you forgot, this is what my hair looked like beforehand. It was seriously brassy (not in a good way).

The Bleaching

Although I fully trust Renée, the idea of bleaching my hair to the point of no pigment was still a little bit scary. My worry can be seen in the photo below.

If you want to know what straight up bleached hair looks like, refer to the next image. This was pre-toning, so it’s still pretty yellow. Bleaching has a bit of a bad reputation for the damage it does to hair, but a lot of this damage can be restored as quickly as it happens thanks to modern developments.  Using a product called Continuum, Renée essentially repaired the ionic and hydrogen bonds which are the most common bonds found in hair, but are normally broken during the bleaching process. By repairing these bonds, the appearance and texture of my hair was actually improved. Who knew your hair could go into a bleach and come out feeling as good as it did going in? It is the holy grail of hair treatments.

Platinum Blonde

After the bleaching, my hair was toned to a beautiful, white blonde. But it didn’t stay this way for long.

The Ash

Now comes the fun part: turning my hair grey. I wasn’t looking for blonde, I wasn’t looking for silver, I wanted grey and grey is what Renée gave me. Using the Ash toner from Davines, which is 97% natural ingredients, my hair became the shade of grey I was looking for without the use of any harsh chemicals. How cool is that?

My Haircut

Renée cut my hair so it sits just above my shoulders and is a little shorter in the back. This is the ideal length for me because it has that “long bob” look while still giving me the option of putting it in a ponytail. The best of both worlds!

My Cool New Hair

Several hours later, my hair was finished and I was seriously in love. A few days have passed since I got the new colour and I have never received so many comments about something in my life. People on the street ask me where I got it and I even had someone come running out of Aveda to talk to me about my hair. I think it’s safe to say that my hair is finally making a statement. I couldn’t be more happy with the service I received from Renée Lalonde.