Blonde ambition


Anna Whitehouse, aka Mother Pukka and Matt Farquarson, aka Papa Pukka, with daughter Mae at their home in Leyton.

I’ve had a rocky past when it comes to dying the barnet. We’ve seen every vaguely blonde shade – from blinding platinum to eye-wateringly brassy ‘strawberry’ hues – known to man at some point in the last decade

So when I was asked to try out Garnier’s new Olia range, my concern levels were high. There was a flicker of reflection, remembering the fateful time I went for pure bleach after a Koh Pang Ngang Full Moon party circa 2002. Think Big Bird-meets-Hungover-Barbie with frizz-inducing humidity thrown in for comedic measure.

But I boldly went in, feeling that a decade has passed and, perhaps, those uncertain times were no more. Surely the science folk have worked this stuff out by now?

The big plus with Olia is that there’s no ammonia – it’s the world’s first ever oil-powered home hair dye and the absence of that tart vinegar-ey smell is a big fat relief (Already I felt more at ease after Thailand’s Bleach-Gate). In the past I’ve squirted the dye on and it’s generally ended up splashing all over the shop – I still can’t bring myself to think of my favourite hoodie that perished after a distressing dye collision.

Olia is delightfully creamy, leaving no possible splash-back and badly tie dyed hangover garments. I left it on for 20 minutes on the roots and 10 minutes on the lengths – all as instructed; I didn’t dare go off-piste.

Hopping into the shower, I hosed the barnet down and whacked on the intense conditioner – even before slipping this on, my hair felt softer than previous dye jobs. That’ll be the 60% flower oils; power to those blooms. The conditioner stayed put for ten minutes before revealing the slick tresses ready for the blow drier.

I’m not going to lie, I did fear the worse as I dried those tresses. Many years of experience had informed me the great reveal is sometimes not that great. But as my tresses dried up good and proper, that elusive (almost chinchilla soft) Scandi blonde started to appear. It wasn’t in-your-face platinum; just a soft, natural creamy blonde that had a hint of Heidi Klum to it. I’ll take that over Big Bird any day.


Colour code

I found my perfect colour B+++ Maximum Bleach through the shade finder tool on the Olia website that matches you to your perfect hue. With 100% grey cover and 35 shades to choose from, you’ll be coloured happy in no time. Try it yourself – just search for ‘The Olia Effect’ and find your happy hair place.


Anna Whitehouse

Founder of Mother Pukka, Anna Whitehouse likes super hero cape-making classes and dislikes the naming of celebrity couples (TomKat, Brange etc.) She tries (and often fails) to parent the shit out of life.



Turns out I’m not an afternoon person either.


  • Blog


Private: No access

Private: No access

Work it baby

Work it baby

Miscarriage of (in)justice

Miscarriage of (in)justice

Porn free

Porn free