The Ficcare Maximas Silky Colour Debate

Is it Wine? Is it Purple? Can Anyone Really Tell The Difference?

A customer recently contacted us about a Wine coloured Ficcare Maximas hair clip she received from last year’s Silky collection, concerned that she had maybe received a Purple by mistake.

As we had never carried the Purple, we became interested in her question. Turns out, there had been some debate about the differences between Purple and Wine on the old interweb, so we thought Stone Bridge ought to pitch in with our evidence.

Ficcare sent us along a Purple, we dragged our photographer away from his more important duties and we had a play.

First, I must tell you that how digital cameras interpret colour is an interesting science in and of itself. If our photographer had a blog, he could go on about this FOR DAYS. (Trust me on this … yawn) And just for the record, our photographer has been a professional commercial photographer for nearly 20 years. So he knows what he’s doing.

The other important consideration for colour in photography is that your eye (or more accurately, your brain) is influenced by the other colours appearing in the picture. Something can be made to appear more or less intense, or even different from its true colour depending on the hue of its surroundings.

Ficcare Maximas Difference Between Silky Purple and Wine hair clips

Ficcare Silky Purple V. Wine

So what you see in these pictures is not exactly what you see in “real life” if you had the two clips in your hands.

The colour on these clips has been created, to our eye, by increasing the amount of pigment present in the paint used.

When the two clips are side by side, there is only a slight degree of difference, with the Wine being only fractionally darker, while the Purple appears like an almost milky colour. This creamy quality is not something that seems to come across in our picture experiments.

There is in fact no difference in hue between the two. So the Wine isn’t more red or more blue; it is precisely the same colour, simply more concentrated.

What this means for the picture you see here is that the concentration of the pigment causes more light to be absorbed by the Wine colour, while the Purple in comparison is more reflective. So in a photograph, there appears to be a greater degree of difference in colour than there actually is.

Here are pictures of the clips taken seperately (but labelled, so we didn’t get confused during the shoot!) You can see that the colour and lighting has been kept constant between the two clips by the consistency in colour of the sticky note in the corner.

The two colours are so similar to the naked eye, we’ve had to write the colours on every storage bag to make sure they don’t get mixed up by accident.

So there you go.

Stone Bridge will never have the Purple available on our website, but we do have a couple large clips here, obviously.

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A Story About Your Hair

Do You Fight With Your Hair Every Day? I’ve Got A Story For You

Do you struggle with your hair pretty much every day? Do you find yourself looking at Cheryl Cole or some other lovely person on the telly and wishing you had hair like hers? Does your stylist ever discuss your colour with you, make a sideways face and suck through her teeth as she says “You have quite a lot of grey coming through …” in a cautionary tone?

I’ve got a little story for you, but first you should know a little background about my relationship with my own hair.

Melissa Hill, Founder of Stone Bridge Hair Accessories

Melissa Hill, Founder of Stone Bridge Hair Accessories

If you’ve been following my blog, the StoneBridgeUK twitter, or my emails for a while, you will know that I’ve got curly grey hair. I love my hair, but I wasn’t always in this happy place.

And occasionally I have moments of self-doubt, where I wonder if maybe I should be colouring it.

Like a number of years ago when my second daughter, Pippi, started at a new primary school, in Year 2. A little girl from her class came up to me and asked, “Are you Pippi’s grandma?”

Surrounded by other school mums, many of them with coloured hair covering their grey, that comment did throw me.

More recently, a friend of mine and I had an evening out, just the two of us. As soon as my husband had dropped us off at the restaurant, she grabbed my arm and said, “Now Melissa, don’t get offended.”

“Okay,” I said, as it generally takes a lot to offend me.

It turned out that a man she’d started dating mentioned that he knew who I was.

I still to this day have no idea who this guy is, but he noted to my friend that “Melissa is very attractive but she’d look so much younger if she dyed her hair.”

Now, you can probably guess my reaction to that statement, but basically the polite version is why on earth would I want to look younger to please someone else’s partner?

So, what I’m saying is being my natural colour is no picnic. And I don’t go around thinking all women should become earth mothers and be 100% natural “just like me.”

What I do think is if you are irritated by the promises peddled by people trying to sell you “magic-in-a-bottle,” I’m here to tell you that there is another way. And there is no magic involved.

Its called working with what you’ve got.

Here’s a little story I heard recently from business writer Michael Port. It’s a story about life, really, but it might help you look at your hair in a different way, too. And maybe make you think about who’s advice you ought to consider when it comes to the day-to-day care of your hair.

The Man, The Boy and The Donkey

Once upon a time an old man, a little boy and their donkey were going to market.

They woke early in the morning, as they had a long way to go. The old man lifted the little boy up onto the donkey and they started off.

After about an hour, they passed a group of people who tutted at them and called out, “Shame on you! Look at you, you fit young boy. How can you be riding and letting that frail old man exhaust himself walking. Shame!”

The two considered this and agreed the people were right. It was shameful.

The little boy got down and the old man took his place on the donkey. And they carried on.

Soon they passed another group of people, who shook their heads at the travellers. They shouted out, “Shame! Look at you! You are a perfectly fit man, making that child walk when you can walk yourself. Shame on you!”

The two considered this and decided the people were right. What they were doing was terrible and should correct themselves straight away.

So the old man and the little boy decided that they would both walk beside the donkey. That would be the most fair. And they carried on their way.

Soon, they passed a group of farmers who saw the two travellers and burst out laughing.

“Ha ha!” they cried out. “Look at those two idiots! They have a fine donkey to carry them and they walk themselves to death. Are they crazy?”

Well, the little boy and the old man gave the farmers’ advice some thought. Who knows about working animals better than farmers? The didn’t want to look like fools. So the two figured they should take the expert opinion seriously.

After some discussion, they agreed the best way forward was for both of them to ride the donkey. And so they carried on their way.

Not long, they came across another group of people who gasped at the sight of the two riding the donkey.

“How monsterous!” They shouted at the little boy and the old man. “How dare you put such a heavy load on that animal? Shame!”

The little boy and the old man were shocked at what they had been doing. These people were so right! They were appalling, bad people. Why hadn’t they realised this before? They immediately got down from the donkey and agreed to carry the donkey together on their backs the rest of the way to market.

By this time, they were approaching the market town, but they had to cross a bridge over the river.

Suddenly, the little boy lost his grip on the donkey, which slid off their backs, into the river and drowned.

The moral of this story is: if you try to please everyone, you may as well kiss your ass goodbye.

How This Relates To Your Hair

Who would I be pleasing if I started colouring my hair?

My stylist? Certainly. I’d be cheering her up every six weeks.

The other mums at the school? They would possibly feel less anxiety about my behaviour if I just conformed and tried to look like everyone else my age.

Unknown men who think I would look younger if only …. I’m sure they might get some crumb of pleasure out of it, but I fail to see how I benefit from their (minutely) increased happiness.

My children? I’ve asked them and they are emphatic they don’t want me to dye my hair.

My husband? He is indifferent to what colour my hair is. He just likes it long, thank you very much.

My staff and colleagues? I’ve asked them and my hair is my signature. They consider it part of my “look.”

And finally, what about you, my customer? Well, the benefit you get from me being natural is that I – possibly uniquely of any other woman you know – can totally understand the benefits and difficulties of both scenarios.

So, I’ve taken my donkey to market, as it were, in my own way. And the prize for me is contentment with my appearance every day. Personally, it has been worth the struggle.


Did you find this article helpful? Learn more about how you can stop fighting your hair starting right now today, without buying anything.


Visit Stone Bridge Hair Accessories UK


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Long Layered Hair? Claire’s Top Styling Tips Video: Barrettes and Ficcare hair clips

The First In Our Series Of Styling Tutorial Videos For Long Layered Hair

Breaking news! Claire ended her hair growing experiment and got a hair cut. Don’t worry, it’s still long, but now she’s discovering the joy of layers.

You can benefit from her journey if you’ve got a layered hair cut in her new series of videos. She looks at what having layers means when it comes to choosing the right hair clips for your hair and which styles work best.

Her first video looks at how to choose barrettes, hair slides and Ficcare Maximas hair clips that will work well in a long layered style.


Hair Accessories Shown In This Video

Bloom Cutwork large slide (NOT recommended for layered hair)
Classic Wide hair barrette
Classic Long hair barrette
Portofino Crystal barrette
Ficcare Maximas Silky Collection hair clip, in size small

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Need Inspiration For Putting Your Hair Up?

Four French Pleats in Four Minutes

I am frequently asked for ideas on ways to put long hair. So I set myself a challenge to show you four French Pleats in just four minutes.


Four Hair Accessories for French Pleats, Four Minutes

Hair Accessories Used In This Video

Ficcare Maximas Jewel Lotus hair clip in medium
(see also our Honnete French Beak Clip)
Double Scroll large hair barrette
(see also our Orleans French Large Barrette)
Arpege Short hair fork
Allegro French hair fork

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Headband Love From Lipglossiping

Our Headbands Get The Thumbs Up

Poppies Silk Scarf Style Headband

Headband To Love: Stone Bridge Poppies Silk

Beauty blogger Charlotte who is Lipglossiping, showed some love for Stone Bridge headbands today.

Her favourite pick? Our Poppies Silk Scarf headband, which also happens to have been designed by the milliner much respected in film and tv circles.

Good choice, Charlotte!

See All Our Scarf Style Headbands

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How To Use Our New French Banana Hair Clip For A Cascading Ponytail Hair Style

A Fast And Easy Way To Smarten Up And Add Volume To Your Ponytail

French banana clip in Mahogany

Our *NEW* Plage French Banana Clip

We’ve carried machined French banana hair clips for a while, and they’ve been so popular we thought it was time to introduce a more luxurious handmade version.

And here it is:

The Plage French banana clip.

If you’ve not used a banana clip before, here a video I made for you showing you how to make a simple cascading ponytail style.


Click here for more information about the Plage French banana clip.

For more luxury hair clips visit us at

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Brazilian Blow Out And Smoothing Treatments: Are They Safe?

Are Formaldehyde-Free Straightening Treatments Any Better?

We have a lot of customers who have and enjoy the very popular Brazilian Smoothing salon treatment. This treatment requires ongoing use at home of “keratin friendly” shampoos, conditioners and styling products to preserve the effects of the treatment.

On 4 March, 2011 the Cosmetic Ingredient Review Panel in the US, an independent organisation of scientific and medical experts, released a statement regarding the safety of cosmetic treatments like the Brazilian Blow Out that use formaldehyde (or any other member of the aldehyde group, I must add).

The Brazilian smoothing treatment, which is offered with a high price tag at luxury salons across Britain, works by using an aldehyde heated to high temperatures to bond protein to the hair cuticle.

At no point does the keratin “penetrate” or “rebuild” the hair. The molecules are too big.

I’ve written before about this silly idea that the beauty industry has figured out how to make molecules smaller so they can penetrate the hair cuticle. This is ridiculous.

The only way to make molecules smaller is with a particle accelerator, and these are generally underground campuses that span several square miles of open countryside.

The companies that could afford a facility like this would be on the order of Google or Microsoft, and they ain’t in the beauty industry, last I checked. And I don’t think the US government is pouring investment funds into hair straightening technology either.

But, I could be wrong. Governments get up to some funny projects.

What really happens is more like cooking egg whites in a hot pan. You are denaturing the protein in a way that creates an extremely hard and tough coat. As you’ve probably experienced yourself, this material is very hard to wash away. The aldehyde’s job is to make this coat stick well to the cuticle of your hair.

The benefit to you is you get straight hair that absorbs less water, so it dries faster for as long as your protein shield lasts on your hair. Once that shield starts to break up, water is able to enter your hair and your natural texture will return.

The bummer to this process is:

  1. Your hair must be literally cooked for the chemical process to work. This means any moisture trapped in your hair will boil, potentially bursting through the wall of your cuticle, causing irreversible damage all along the length of your hair.
  2. Aldehydes when heated release a poisonous vapour. You can have allergic reactions or become sensitised if exposed to these ingredients repeatedly. There are also a number of medical studies suggesting a possible link to cancer in humans if exposed to formaldehyde gas over a long period of time.

So the real risk is to your poor stylist who is doing a few of these Blow Outs every day. Do you really want to subject another fellow human to poisonous gas in the name of your own vanity?

The initial, early recommendation by the CIR panel is, “we strongly advise consumers and beauticians not to use professional hair straightening products in the home. Consumers … should be certain that the salon is properly ventilated and that the products and application process meet with [guidelines established] for workplace safety.”

The CIR and the FDA are looking at pursuing a more thorough review of the treatment and consider this “an important consumer health issue.”

My personal view is it is cheaper, healthier, more eco-friendly and better for your salon/life balance to get a hair cut that works with your natural texture.

Think of all the nice shoes, handbags, glasses of Pinot Noir or new French handmade hair clips you could get by just having a better hair cut.


Find out the real deal with your shampoo and conditioner. Sign up for my free series of Healthy Hair Care articles and learn how you can easily have healthier, better behaving hair within weeks without buying any new styling products.

Subscribe to my Hair Health Article Series here
(Don’t worry, you can always unsubscribe. I hate spam too.)

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