So I was in a TV advert…

In February I started appearing in a national TV advert for Garnier alongside Fearne Cotton. As a working mum who just blogs part-time as a hobby this was quite a change in direction for me. I’m not one of those bloggers who gets sent lots of free stuff, in fact I dont attend press days or often get featured by brands but now I can say I’ve acheived a bit of a dream…I’ve been part of a huge advertising campaign. 

But how did this happen? Gosh, where should I start…

So this is me – Sarah face of shade 6.60. I am here representing the 40plus woman and anyone who fancies going a vivid red colour plus hopefully providing a relatable female image in a beauty advert – something that is sometimes lacking in beauty advertising.

I was first approached by Garnier after blogging about trying the dye for the first time as part of the Fearne Cotton fronted #TheOliaEffect campaign where you could enter a photo of your newly coloured hair to win a spending spree.  

This was my photo (find my blog on the home dye here) I shared. I thought the product was good and was pleased with the way my hair had turned out so thought, why not?!?


Needless to say I didnt win. But a month or so later I got an email asking if I would be interested in talking to them about my experiences with the brand. Ah, the power of an Instagram hashtag!!!

Long story short, after a few meetings (which I thought were for market research) then a Skype interview with the ads director in LA (get me!) I was asked if I wanted to take part in a campaign featuring ‘real women’ talking about their own experiences with their hair and using a home dye.  Anyone who knows me will tell you I love being the centre of attention (I’m always up first for Karaoke and love doing shows, presentations and interviews) so I couldn’t say YES fast enough!!!

Getting ready – lets just say making an advert is hard work! There was wardrobe fittings (you have get used to standing there in your underwear really quickly!), having my hair cut (always nerve wracking…what if they want to do a pixie cut?) and then a day of filming. Filming the advert was a really long day in London but I did have a chaffeur driven car pick me up and drop me home which felt pretty special. I had a call sheet and a look book but the rest was going to have to be all me. No script, no prepping or rehearsing – the idea was to capture real thoughts and feelings…quite daunting when you know its going to be used for a national TV campaign.

For those wondering, YES I dye my own hair at home with Olia but I was lucky enough to get it cut and styled for the ad by celebrity hairdresser Michael Douglas. He is just like he is on the TV – great fun, really down to earth and an absolute genius with hair!  My hair will probably never look this good again but at least I have the photos for evidence!!!

Shooting – nothing prepares you for walking on to film set knowing you are about to get filmed for national TV and knowing you have one chance to get it right. Its sounds silly but you really dont realise how many people it takes to make an advert. You are surrounded by people fussing over you, noise, distractions and lots of crew doing technical stuff – but ultimately once they shout “rolling” its just you and the camera. But I loved my time in the spotlight and would love to do more of it….and judging by how much I’m in the full advert I think I did pretty well!

And then theres the official ‘Sarah’ shot – this was my press shot and the one that is currently EVERYWHERE! Its so strange looking at is as I know its me but its the Garnier version of me…but what a hair colour, I really dont think I will ever change from this colour now. I was made to feel really special on the day, styled and pampered which is a wonderful feeling.  

Meeting Fearne – As you probably know Fearne is the Garnier Olia ambassador and is central to the advert. What you might not know, is as part of the advert they filmed a whole surprise section with her and me! I’m not sure if they will use the interview but it was great fun and although I was a bit shocked it was lovely chatting to her and talking hair, families and about the day.  Much of the prep for this can be seen in the Estee Lalonde behind the scenes film (find the link at the bottom of this blog) if you want to see me getting surprised by the person that inspired me to use Olia in the first place.

With the rest of the Garnier Olia ladies – obviously this is my account of making the advert but the campaign features quite a few different women aged from their 20’s to their 60’s. Some are in the TV advert and some are in the online campaign but here we all are post filming with all our fabulous coloured hair. It will always be a very special memory for me.

Filming with Estee Lalonde – Estee filmed a behind the scenes vlog and captured loads of what was going on. She also filmed Fearnes surprise meeting with me which is lovely as I was so full of adrenaline I can hardly remember it! I have Estee’s book, ‘Bloom’ so it was lovely to meet her and chat, be interviewed and generally hang out with such a successful style blogger.

The final Ad: online and television – and then theres the finished product.  I didnt know how much I’d be in the final advert but was thrilled with how much they used me…in fact I’m in it almost as much as Fearne. Plus I now have a catchphrase for life – “Look at my hair everyone!”


See the full ad here
See my film here
See Estees behind the scenes video here

I’m so proud to be representing the 40 plus woman in these ads. Not as a model, not as an actress, just as me! It would be great to see more ‘real women’ (and men) in ads and I hope other brands follow Garniers lead…

The Olia Effect

Wanting to update my hair colour for winter and looking for a new home hair dye, I decided to take the Olia challenge and home-dye my hair using the Garnier brand. Fearne Cotton has been promoting the challenge and you can upload a before and after pic to their website for the change to be entered into a competition to win a £5000 shopping spree!  Also if you buy the product at Superdrug you can claim your money back too – so basically try it for free.  I only found this out after I’d bought mine somewhere else but you can find out more here.


Its always a bit nerve wracking trying a new hair dye brand and after the 48hr allergy test I unpacked my hair dye and dived in hoping for the best!  I needed 2 packs for my long, quite thick hair and went for shade 4.6 Deep Red.

The instructions were pretty simple and the dye mixed up easily and the packing doubled as a stand which I though was quite clever. The application was easy using the teardrop shape bottle and the product itself wasnt too runny which was good.


I wasn’t as impressed with the large, loose gloves and much prefer the tighter latex gloves I’ved used with other brands so I think next time I will use a spare set of latex gloves rather than the ones provided. 


I waited the 30 minutes and then washed it off. Going for a deeper colour meant it too ages for the water to run clear but then I did use two packs.


Some tips for a home dye

  • Preparation! Make sure you have old towels, baby wipes and clips if you have long hair to make the process as easy as possible. Clear at least 45mins for the task – you dont want to be moving around too much once the dye is on.
  • Do an allegy test 48hrs before – better to be safe than sorry!
  • Use Vaseline to create a barrier between your hairline and skin. This really stops drips and having to wash tons of dye from yourself.
  • Use a timer – its important to follow the manufacturers instructions, leaving your dye on for the wrong amount if time can mean it wont look like you expect it too.
  • Make sure you use the provided conditioner to finish your hair, this is specially formulated to repair any damage the dye may of done while colouring your hair.

And this is the finished effect? What do you think?


I’m really pleased with the final shade and my hair was left feeling very smooth and silky as Olia is made with 60% oils and I could definitely feel that (I wasn’t sponsored to say this LOL, I didnt even get my money back remember!)

Would I use it again? 

I would! Its a great price and it left my hair feeling great but I think next time I will go a shade lighter/brighter as the Deep Red was a little too dark for my liking at first look. Thats pretty typical for me as it usually takes a few washes before I’m happy with a new colour, but now its colour protect shampoo every time.

Garnier Olia hair dye – £6.99 available in all good supermarkets and chemists.