A pared-back salon located a stone’s throw from Sydney’s CBD, Que Colour has cemented its reputation as a must-visit for the discerning beauty lover looking for understated and expertly-executed hair colour.

The last time I had my hair coloured was 2015, so I was more than a little nervous when entering the iconic Que Colour salon in Sydney’s Darlinghurst. I’d become quite attached to my fuss-free virgin hair, and the absence of regrowth anxiety I’d become accustomed to in my bleach blonde days. Would I be committing myself to a lifetime of regrowth and straw-like strands? Post-appointment, I can confirm: I quite simply shouldn’t have fretted.

I’m greeted by Monique McMahon, the salon’s founder, when I arrive. Its minimalist luxe, exposed-brick interior fits right into its urban environment, located in a pretty street just off bustling Oxford Street. A clutch of women we’d interviewed for WHO profiles – including Rachael Finch, Delta Goodrem, Dannii Minogue, Bec and Bridge’s Bridget Yorston, and MUA Filomena Natoli – all had breathlessly sung Monique’s praises, so I knew that I couldn’t be in better hands.

Given my experience with dying my hair had been spectacularly brief, I let Monique suggest what would work best (my tactic of choice when I have an industry expert at my disposition). Her verdict was to work with my existing hair ‘colour palette’ of sorts, and to bring out the colour that was already present, rather than introduce in a completely new shade.

To demonstrate the idea, she takes the ends of my hair and bends them up against the roots. They’re slightly lighter, likely because of sun exposure and some heat tool damage. She explains that she wants to work this pre-existing blonder tone through the rest of my monotonously hued strands for some much needed interest, while still keeping things looking natural.

Monique proceeds to execute her ‘shimmer foil’ technique throughout my hair, a method she’s finetuned of peppering gentle hints of colour rather than creating very obvious stripes. “For your hair, we’ll stay away from bleaches and use tint foils that reflect light for that high shine, 70s-inspired glow,” explains Monique, which sounds entirely like my ideal hair scenario. “Then some surface painting to enhance the naturally lighter ends and connect to the new colour.” This surface painting, done by hand, allows for a more organic, less defined finish to the colour, which translates as naturally sun-kissed strands.

After a conditioning mask and scalp cleanse with Christophe Robin’s Cleansing Volumising Paste, the very clever Hilary assesses what my hair needs in terms of cut. I’d walked in with long, shapeless hair – I essentially felt I looked like a frizzier version of an Afghan hound. She suggests some shaping to give the impression that my face is more oval-shaped (the most proportional face shape), and some invisible layers throughout the body to create natural movement. Plus, a good six (!) inches chopped off. My new shorter hair is completely liberating and I’m not quite sure how I lived with so much of it beforehand.

Hilary finishes my hair off with Que’s signatured brushed-out blowdry (think 90’s Cindy Crawford) with a soupçon of undone French style, using Christophe Robin’s No Frizz and Volumizing Rose Sprays for a slick and full finish. It’s pretty much the hair of my dreams and I quickly make some (socially-distant) plans on my trip home – there’s no way that this hair can be wasted on an iso-evening inside.

Story by Tess de Vivie de Régie. Photos supplied by Que Colour.


Que Colour
178 Liverpool Street, Darlinghurst, 2010
(02) 9331 4444

Comment (3)

  1. August 20, 2020

    Hilary cuts and colours my hair too. Not only is she’ talented , she’s a beautiful person inside and out!

  2. January 28, 2021

    Hilary was my favourite too. Unfortunately she has left the salon and if anyone has her contact details or knows where she is working now please let me know.