The promise: Colorgraphics delivers hair fashion in a flash. Matrix's new in-salon service can be fitted into your lunch break for natural-looking highlights or statement-making colour. The new one-step "mix and go" approach from America's number one salon brand has the ability to lift up to six levels and uses heat-accelerated technology to speed processing times. The Lift and Tone service helps retain blond colour and uses customised toners to add warmth or suppress unwanted undertones. The Lacquer service, which I had, applies semi-permanent fashion colours.
The practice: Salon owner Penny Ainsley talks me through the Lacquer service. Six shades - yellow, orange, red, purple, magenta and clear - can be applied full strength or mixed for a wide palette of pure tones or pastels which infuse hair with glossy pigments said to last up to 12 washes. I decide I'm willing to amp up my cool brunette colour with a red-violet mix.
After a shampoo and condition and the bonus of a good scalp massage, the colour is tidily applied. It's time for tea and magazines, but before I get through my pile it's back to the basin. Obviously on my dark base, I was not expecting hair as vivid as the sample hanks in the Colorgraphics book, but I'm surprised how much it has taken hold. There's a rich gloss and though I'm not a redhead, in the light the red-violet tones are vibrant.
The place: Ainsley's, 1-8 Osborne St, Newmarket, ph (09) 524 7985, ainsleys.co.nz. To find your nearest Matrix salon contact 0800 657 666.
The price: From $50, but price, adding on a blowdry, varies between salons, so check upon booking.
The verdict: Give it a whirl. My mix is still going strong 10 washes in, without the brassy bits or pinkish fade you can get from some reds.
Sodashi Thermal Infusing Facial at Pullman spa. Picture / Norrie Montgomery.
The promise: Experience "nature's face lift" from Sodashi's Thermal Infusing Facial, a luxury natural aromatic anti-ageing treatment that will leave your skin hydrated and toned. Features a thermal mask to better enable vitamin and mineral penetration, plus extended flowing massage of the face, neck and shoulders.
The practice: Skilled therapist Niho explains the Sodashi approach, which includes an especially gentle exfoliation using lemon and lavender essential oils and hot towels. She also checks that I am happy with being encased for 25 minutes in the volcanic clay, mineral and organic salt mask.
This goes on cold, but warms slowly to body temperature into one of those rubbery numbers that peels off easily. The wait passes too quickly thanks to her lovely massage. Afterwards, refreshments are offered in the Pullman's relaxation zone. The spa's pool and gym facilities are worth factoring in before your spa visit, they're indoors, but flooded with natural daylight.
The place: Spa at the Pullman Auckland, cnr Princes St and Waterloo Quadrant, ph (09) 355 1242, pullmanauckland.co.nz.
The price: $180 for 90 minutes. For an introductory time, enjoy the bonus of a 15-minute complimentary scalp massage if you quote Sodashi-Viva on booking.
The verdict: Sodashi is the perfect fit for an upmarket spa looking for a convincing but indulgent natural line. The facial left me feeling at one with the world in line with Ayurvedic intentions and the product feel is superb. Sodashi was started by New Zealander Megan Larsen, now a long-time Australian resident, in 1996 and is found in luxury retreats in Asia, the Middle East and Europe. Larsen, who is a regular visitor to Auckland to see family, explains she picked the name from a Sanskrit dictionary and that it means "wholeness, purity, radiance and totality". She has it bottled.