Earlier this month, I had the urge for a change. I’ve always been the kind of girl that changes her hair a lot, but as of late I was in a major rut as to what to do with it. My hair was over processed, dry and dull. My colour could be described as a faded brown and my cut was a grown out, borderline triangle-shaped lob…so basically I was winning in the hair department.

I knew that I needed to go to a salon where quality was the focus. I had heard a lot of good things about Donato Salon + Spa, a salon that is constantly creating cutting edge and creative hair design. Plus, I loved that they the salon is so focused on education and the advancement of their talented team of stylists. Since I had no idea what I wanted to do with my hair, I needed to go to a salon where the stylists knew there stuff and would be able to guide me to find look that suited me. So just like that, I booked an appointment for a cut and colour at Donato Salon + Spa‘s flagship location at Square One in Mississauga.


Upon walking in, I knew instantly that Donato was more than just a hair salon, they were providing an experience. I was greeted by a friendly staff member at the front desk who took my coat and provided me with a coat check tag. There were even lockers in case you had been shopping and wanted to store your stuff securely.

After waiting for a few short minutes, I was greeted by the most bubbly blonde (with the most perfect hair –  this was a good sign!). Crystal Wilson is a colour technician and although she is only in her early twenties, she is a powerhouse of knowledge when it comes to colour. What I really liked about Crystal was that she was not shy to be honest. I came in looking for something bright…and red. Crystal told me how fast it would fade and how hard it would be to achieve exactly what I wanted without compromising the integrity of my hair. We ended up deciding on a violet brown shadow root with an ashy ombre. Crystal used bondplex in order to prevent my already damaged and dry hair from getting worse.

Here’s what Crystal had to say about my colour transformation:  “Tracey came in with hair that was quite over processed, but was also looking for a change in colour. She had previously lightened hair that was then covered with a solid colour a few months back. We decided to give her the “ombre look” by feathering in a “shadow root” darker than her natural colour for a more dramatic change. I formulated a dark violet brown and applied to the regrowth area while combing through on some pieces to blend the overall look. After the regrowth was applied I then mixed up lightener with bondplex. The bondplex allowed us to subtly lift her hair without having to worry about further damage. I balayaged in about 5 sections on each side to just break up her previous colour and add more dimension to the overall look. Tracey then sat processing for about 35 minutes. I used Oribe beautiful colour shampoo, then applied a toner all over her damp hair to neutralize the warmth from her previous base as well as the new lightened pieces and applied step two bondplex which sat for 10 minutes.”


After I had a beautiful new colour, I consulted with Loucas Reklitis, master stylist with over 13 years’ experience. It was so interesting to hear how Loucas fell into hair dressing almost by accident and is now a master stylist at Donato. It was easy to see why Loucas is so well-regarded for his talent. He took the time to look at my hair, get my input and suggest what he thought would work best to compliment my hair texture, thickness and my new colour. He did a combination of a wet and dry cut to ensure my hair looked exactly how we envisioned it. Throughout the whole process, Loucas kept everything light and fun. We chatted, laughed, and I even caught Loucas singing along to what sounded like a Rascal Flatts song.

Here’s what Loucas had to say about my cut: “For Tracey’s hair, I found it was falling very bottom heavy so I took the angle from the back up about three inches. I also textured and layered her ends to remove some of the bulk and build a more flattering shape. For products, I prepped the hair with EVO’s ‘Day of Grace’ Leave-In Conditioner (great to detangle, for protein and moisture) then I applied “End Doctor” split end sealant (great for heat styling protection, mending broken hair and overall health of the hair). I blew the hair dry with a round brush, took small sections and added a finishing touch of curl with an iron.” Donato Salon and Spa Hair Before and After

Now here’s where the Donato experience comes in. While you colour is processing you can receive a complimentary hand and arm massage and before you leave you can have your makeup touched up by one of Donato’s aestheticians. Talk about taking service to the next level!

Donato Team

While I was getting my new hair blown out and curled, Crystal put some product recommendations for me at the front desk. I loved that she took the time to hand select some items that would help me with my concerns – dry, winter hair and heat damaged hair. I ended up  purchasing all the items Crystal recommended, which included the ABBA moisturizing shampoo and conditioner as my hair was feeling dry from processing and overheat styling at home. My over processed hair combined with the dry, winter months were causing my hair and scalp to be more dehydrated and the ABBA moisture line is perfect for remedying this. I really liked the ABBA line since it is 100% vegan and good for your hair. As well, I took home the Label.m heat protection spray to maintain the integrity of my hair as I continue to heat style it going forward.

Donato Hair 1

I left Donato salon feeling like a million bucks. I knew I was given the best service from two very talented individuals in the hair industry. I was so glad that I was open to their suggestions as the colour and cut Crystal and Loucas picked for me were perfect. I’m already looking forward to my next trip to see them for a touch up, but for now I’m enjoying my new hair and all the compliments I’m getting!

You can find Donato at Square One, Yorkdale and Shops at Don Mills. Check out their website for more information or to book an appointment:

Editor’s Note: Thank you so much to my Donato Dream Team: Crystal, Loucas and Nick.'
Written by Tracey