Photo: Instagram/Wella Professionals Japan

Formulated in Japan and designed specifically for Asian hair, Wella Illumina Color, was also tested on Asian hair to give it greater luminosity and protection.

We spoke to Jaron Lu, owner and creative director of 99 Percent Hair Studio, about this professional hair colour treatment. With 12 years of experience, he is part of the Wella Dream Team, a group of top stylists across Southeast Asia and Korea.

The hair colour shades are “named after emotions” as he calls it. Jaron uses a natural balayage technique – with different colours (both lighter and darker) to create shadow and light instead of using bleach to achieve the the traditional balayage effect in hair.

The mix of colours in different sections creates a 3D effect in the light with the colour gradient. Like in the photo below where Wella Illumina colours were used.

Photo: Instagram/hairbylilbri

Hair colour review

Before (below left) and after (below right) – you can see that my hair texture was pretty frizzy and dull before the treatment. My hair was so much glossier and looked much healthier after colouring.

Inside sections of hair were coloured with Orchid (purple), while Twilight (pink) was used on the outside layers of hair around the crown. The ends of the top layers of hair were tipped with Coral (copper) for a natural balayage effect. There are also other shades like Ocean (blue), Safari (brown), Forest (green) – check in with the stylist for your desired effect.

Post colour, besides some leeching in the bath, the colour has remained very vibrant after a few washes. Best of all, my hair was shinier and looked healthier than before.

Photo: Jaron and me, post treatment.

The technology behind it

Menuka RaiGhosh, Wella Professionals’ Education Capability & Touchpoint Manager, shares that Asian hair strands are thicker compared to Caucasian hair strands. This makes Asian hair have more brassy undertones when lightened.

To counter this, the Trilumina Balance technology is designed with blue-violet base tones, and removes less of the natural melanin pigment (what makes our hair look dark) in hair. This also means that you won’t be able to lighten the shade of your hair drastically without prior bleaching.

The new Microlight Technology encapsulates any copper particles present on hair strands, preventing free radical formation and therefore reducing damage to hair cuticles. This also helps with better colour absorption deep into the hair shaft as free radicals are not present to disrupt the absorption process.

The hair cuticle is protected and tests show a 40 per cent reduction in cuticle damage when using Wella Illumina. When the hair cuticle is healthy, it reflects more light and allows more light through instead of scattering it. The result is shinier, more luminous hair which also looks healthier.