We answer all your cotton candy hair questions: what, where, how and how much
I’ve cashed in my fair share of time, money and effort in the name sporting a mane of pink hair on my head.
Let’s backtrack: the first brave attempt dates back to late 2018, when I decided to throw all reservations out the window in pursuit of a dusky rose gold. That attempt fell through (and resulted in a nightmarish orange-yellow), no thanks to my haunting history with black boxed dye. I finally nailed the attempt in January, but quickly fell into the charm of a thousand shades of blonde shortly after. Another attempt came in mid-2019, when my blonde-turned-light brown hair screamed normal a little too loudly for my taste. I used a one-week temporary dye that I had bought half-off in Korea (highly recommended for anyone who wants the color and not the commitment). I was convinced that my seven-day fling with the punchy peach look would be my last brush with pink for the foreseeable future––but perhaps I’m more predictable than I thought. Just a month or so later, I fell for the appeal of pink hair yet again.
Enter: Marqed Salon.
Situated along Connecticut Street in San Juan, the celebrity hairstylist-owned salon is a magician’s workshop as much as it is a hair salon. While the salon has been in business for less than a year (they opened their doors to the public in December 2018!), there’s plenty of credibility under the Marqed belt. For one, it’s owned by Mark Anthony Rosales, who is arguably best known for being Gabbi Garcia’s go-to hair guy.
Marqed is the hairstylist’s second foray into building his own salon. His previous endeavor, Thesis Salon in Bonifacio Global City, didn’t quite pick up––so what’s he doing differently this time around? “Thesis Salon didn’t communicate strongly enough, maybe because I’m lacking purpose towards my clients. I was motivated only to earn,” he admits. The establishment of Marqed Salon didn’t only signal a change in location, but an overhaul in mindset, too. “I want to make an impact on my clients [and show them] that hair can be therapeutic.”
Once you look good, you’ll feel good, too. This thought is the salon’s compass, as well as the foundation of their #Hairapy campaign.
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The chance to get personally get my hair colored by Mark couldn’t have come at a more opportune time. I hadn’t had my bleach job touched up in at least three months, hadn’t seen a professional colorist for just as long. Truth be told, I was beginning to entertain the idea of returning to black hair, too, which explains the two-inch root regrowth and stumble-into-the-wrong-light-and-it-shall-appear brassiness that lived atop my head. Considering the uneven color, the damage done and dealt by hair jobs past and the ambitious peach cotton candy color I was hoping to achieve, it’s safe to say the team had their work cut out for them.
The first step of any Marqed treatment: hair scanning. “I can proudly say that we are the only salon in the Philippines that uses advanced technology to diagnose the hair and scalp,” shares Mark. Anchored in the belief that amazing hair starts with healthy hair and scalp, a thorough diagnosis kicks off the Marqed Salon process.
Like a stethoscope pressed to the chest, a camera-equipped tool is pressed to every part of the scalp. A magnified image of all the secrets your head is holding is then projected on the scanner’s monitor for the specialist’s diagnosis. The hair and scalp will then be identified as either dry, oily, dandruff-prone or healthy, which will then serve as the compass for the Marqed Salon staff as they go about their services. By some form of grace, my chemically-treated hair and scalp turned out to be healthy for the most part, with the left side of my scalp being more prone to dryness.
The next order of business: bleaching. According to Mark, “bleaching is the process of stripping the pigment from the hair shaft with an oxidizing agent.” It sounds deeply scientific––and as with anything in beauty, it is––but with only trusted and reputable brands stocked up in their arsenal of mixing potions, Mark assures that customers are safe in their hands.
Case in point: after two rounds of bleach, the virgin hair at my roots still had a yellowish tinge to them, but it was the Marqed Salon team themselves who advised against another round of lightener.
I was willing to go through another wave of finger-curling, spine-tingling stinging (even with my high pain tolerance, it hurt) in pursuit of a more ideal outcome, but the stylists present stressed the importance of prioritizing hair health. With that, we went straight to coating my double-bleached locks and yellowish roots in pink dye, let it soak up the color and then washed it out with a little help from Schwarzkopf Professional’s BC Bonacure 4.5 Color Freeze Treatment Masque to restructure and repair some of the damage dealt.
Lo and behold, the result of five hours of meticulous processes and buttache-inducing chair-warming:
While still slightly yellow-tinged at the roots, Marqed Salon definitely came close to nailing what I had in mind. From a warmer pink at the crown, my hair faded down to a pale, pastel shade. It was definitely the most striking of all the hair colors I’d sported and I loved it. I felt a little like a walking strawberry snow cone––in the best way, of course.
Now, the question on everyone’s tongues: just how much would a change like this cost?
“For hair color, the price varies based on the length of the hair,” says Mark. “For short hair, it’s P2,500. For medium length, it’s P3,500, and for long hair, it’s P4,000.”
The determining factors for price don’t just stop at hair length. Hair condition and the necessary lightening processes also account for the amount you’ll be dropping at the end of the salon service. In my case, my hair had already been bleached (more times than I can remember, if we’re being honest) prior to my visit to Marqed Salon, so those crossing dark to light color spectrum for the first time might need more bleach, more dye and more hours in the chair.
When it comes to bold brights and soft, pastel hues, it’s only normal for color to fade after just a couple of washes. That first post-salon wash is always extra nerve-wracking because it’s difficult to predict exactly how well color will stick to the hair strands, but remember this mantra: Maintenance. Is. Key.
“We advise our clients not to wash their hair daily,” explains Mark, stressing that the more the hair is washed, the more the color is likely to fade. To reinforce fading color, consider picking up pointers from our favorite pink-haired photographer, Andrea Beldua, who mixes a few drops of pink dye with her conditioner.
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Other quick tips from Mark include washing with cold water, steering clear of shampoo with sulfates and stocking up on the dry conditioner. For those entering the colored hair game for the first time, don’t fret: the Marqed Salon team provides a post-service prescription with all the nitty-gritty aftercare details. “Marked Salon’s service doesn’t end after our clients leave our salon,” says Mark. “We update them about the treatments they might need and remind them if they already need a retouch. That is how they #GetMarqed.”
Art Alexandra Lara