Oh sodium hypochlorite, how I love thy magnificent restorative powers.

Brian Nice

I loved chemistry as a kid - all those colours, smells, bubbles and morphing textures - and today my passion lives on through quarterly experiments with my favourite chemical of all: bleach.

As it's painted onto my hair every three months, I really couldn't care less about the fumes/damage/dehydration. I'll be blonde again soon, and that's all that counts.
Sitting in the salon chair this week and reading the paper, I came across some coincidental factoids: a staggering 69 per cent of British women regularly colour their hair (from DIY at-home kits to pro salon treatments). As a nation, we spend £173m a year on tinting our tresses, a figure that has nearly doubled in the past five years.

Chances are you're one of them and just as addicted to the beautifying wonders of bleach and tint as I am. Naturally then, it's a crucial part of your wedding outfit and needs to be just as perfect as your dress fit, foundation colour and bouquet shape. Here's are the dos and don'ts of getting as glossy, gleamy and gorgeous as possible:

- DO book your appointment 10 days before the wedding. This allows for around 2mm root growth, which gives natural-looking volume, plus the colour still remains fresh and bright.

- DO invest in colour-care shampoos and conditioners - they really work. Those grands fromages chez L'Oreal didn't spend billions making them for nothing after all! They protect from the fading effects of free radicals with Vitamins and UV filters and, since tint and bleach destroy the moisture bonds in the hair shaft, there are added emollients and films that recondition and lock in hydration.

- DON'T leave it until the last minute. If you've never had tint/highlights before, book an appointment around 6 months before your wedding. This window gives enough time to a) change your mind and tweak your colour back, b) build a rapport with your colourist and c) get the colour just right to suit the time of year of your wedding, your dress colour, your bridal make-up and seasonal skintone.

- DO road test a "glazing" treatment. Most good salons offer this - it coats the hair shaft with shine and semipermanent colour (like putting a topcoat of nailpolish on your hair) and it lasts a week or two, so it's ideal if your colour tends to fade quite fast or if you want an extra gleamy boost for the big day.

- DO become a colour detective. If you're looking for a colourist, start looking around the room/office/party. Whoever has the most fabulous hair colour, ask the name of their salon and colourist. Word of mouth is by far the best way to find a great hairdresser!

PS: if you've found a secret colour maestro already and can bear to share them with your fellow bridettes, please visit our Chatroom beauty section and spread the love!