London - Fancy giving your locks a new look, but too busy or stretched to make an expensive salon visit?

You’re not alone - self-colourants are the quickest-growing sector of the UK haircare market.

To capitalise on this, L’Oreal Preference has launched its first at-home dip-dye kit, Wild Ombres, which promises to give you the same two-tone tresses as sported by Kate Beckinsale, Hilary Swank and Cameron Diaz.

Brave Julie McSweeney, 43, who runs a cake business from her home in Eltham, South-East London, gave it a go.

She says: “I’ve been dying my hair myself since the age of 13. My hair’s been every colour, including black, red and blonde. This also means I’ve had my fair share of disasters. Four years ago, I returned from a holiday in Jamaica and my hair had lightened in the sun. I decided to add more home highlights to brighten it further, but because my hair was already scorched, it started smoking when I put bleach on it.

“My hair is naturally a shade of dark brown. I have, for a while, wanted to try a dip-dye - with the ends of my hair bleached blonde, fading up into my natural dark brown - but it can be really expensive in the salon. This new product is only £6, so I thought I’d give it a go.

“I was impressed by how easy it was to apply. The colour is brushed through dry hair - so it’s easy to control where I put the colour. I left it on for 45 minutes because I wasn’t sure how well my hair would take the colour.

“I love the result - although it’s not as light as I hoped it would be - I would have been happy with a brighter blonde, while this is more of a subtle chestnut red.

“My children and friends have told me it’s warmed my complexion and it’s knocked ten years off me. I’d definitely use it again.”

* L’Oreal Preference Wild Ombres comes in three shades. - Daily Mail