I spend an average of two thirds of my waking hours thinking about changing my hair. Despite knowing that no living being should spend anywhere near that amount of time thinking about their appearance, I like to think that this is offset by the fact that I spend the remaining third thinking about whether or not such a change is necessary/realistic/within the parameters of my quarterly self-care budget. If I answer a hypothetical ‘yes’ to all of the above, I’ll do one of two things: call Edwards and Co. and ask for the next available appointment with Michael Kelly, or DM him myself.

Our conversations usually start with a picture of a Danish influencer of sorts sent by me and end with a heartbreaking “Let’s talk tomorrow” from Michael. I brace myself for the rejection because I trust him wholeheartedly, but I fear I’m asking for the impossible: I want to take my fine hair from ashy brunette to “low-maintenance” blonde. “Tomorrow” finally comes, but I’m embarrassed to show Michael the rest of my impossibly blonde reference images. I show him anyway, and his response is optimistic. I’m even told it’s a one-visit job. He is Michael Kelly, after all.

Colour sorcery aside, Michael is very entertaining. On this occasion he insists on buying me lunch, so we sit and eat our chicken soba salads while my colour processes. We talk about the impending same-sex marriage vote and I ask for his opinion of some Marni sandals—then it’s back to work. Six hours of highlights/babylights/basin balayage/toning later, I’m finally led downstairs. Even for someone who used to coat her hair with midnight blue Manic Panic and hope for the best, this is suspenseful. Those who are familiar with Edwards and Co.’s Alexandria salon will know that there are no mirrors on the upstairs level, where all colouring is done. My fingers are crossed, but I know I’m in safe hands.

In what was close to seven hours in the chair, my hair went from, you guessed it, ashy brunette to “low-maintenance” blonde! In other words, as much as one could possibly look like Marie Hindkær without being Danish. Michael and I are both equally thrilled with the result and spend the next 30 minutes trying to photograph it in the sliver of natural light left in the salon. I’m also notified the next day of the fact that I’d made it onto Michael’s Instagram—a long-standing goal of mine. (My before shot is there, too, if you’re curious.) I thank him a million times but it never feels adequate, which you won’t understand until you experience the MK treatment for yourself.

What I feared might be intensive maintenance is surprisingly lax. At-home Olaplex (No.3) is my saving grace, and my family collection of Mason Pearson brushes comes in handy. I use the Olaplex weekly (I sleep with it in), and mask with Christophe Robin’s Baby Blond twice a week. And when I need a refresh, you know who I’ll be messaging.

Words, Betsy Greaves.