I am a 20-year-old student from Cheshire, and have used many Garnier products in the past, mainly moisturisers and suntan lotions etc.

I was therefore feeling confident as I purchased a box of “Honey Blonde” Garnier Nutrisse Cream hair colour recently, since Garnier is a reputable company and, most importantly, that Davina McCall’s hair looks nothing short of excellent. Upon thoroughly examining the instruction sheet, I noticed that Garnier advised that darker hair (like my own) should be treated with the Garnier “Pre-Lightener” Cream before applying the lighter colour. Being the gullible half-wit this product is marketed to, I went and purchased the “Pre-Lightener” from Tesco and proceeded to dye my hair with it.

“Pre-Lightener”? Frankly, I may as well have poured the 2-litre bottle of concentrated bleach kept under my kitchen sink over my head and left it for a week, and the results would have been less catastrophic. As per the instructions, I intended to leave the product on my hair for 15 minutes, but luckily I glanced in the mirror after 10, only to find my hair appeared to be luminous at this stage. Who only knows what may have happened had I left it on for 15 minutes. I may be bald by now, or even have gaping burn wounds all over my bald shiny scalp. Luckily, I only suffered ten minutes at the hands of the Pre-Lightener, merely resulting in there appearing to be a “flock of crazed, manic canaries on my head”, according to a brutally honest friend.

Once the shrieking and crying had subsided, I calmed down, assuring myself that once I’d applied the “Honey” colour hair dye, my hair would appear somewhat more normal and as for Garnier, all would be forgiven. I waited (indoors) for 24 hours before applying the colour (as you recommended in your trusty leaflet). Following the instructions as carefully as I always do, I applied the dye, and looked in the mirror. Alas, not only was the flock of canaries still roosting on my head, they had now been joined by a few random ginger ferrets, who had positioned themselves sporadically all over my head. So not only did my hair to be a mecca for wild animals, but the texture would have made a scarecrow proud.

The next logical step was to call your Help-Line – which I think should be re-named to something more appropriate, such as anything not involving the word “Help”. I spoke to a disinterested lady on the phone and explained everything that had happened, to which I was greeted with a long silence. So I asked if I could just buy a darker Garnier hair dye to cover it, to which the lady replied, “No, because it will go khaki green”. Khaki green? A tempting option at this stage.

So, after two days of harassing, begging and pleading, my mother eventually had the kindness to lend me enough money to seek professional help at a hair salon. The hairdressers (three in total) advised a gradual build-up of darker colour, which had to be re-done three times, since the luminosity kept creeping back into the colour. This cost me over a hundred pounds, which I am still repaying now.

My hair is not weird. It isn’t dry or oily or abnormal by any stretch of the imagination. And yet, having followed the instructions to the letter, I found myself house-bound due to the sodding ‘do. It sickens me to think I spent money on ruining my own hair.

It has taken a lot of time and money to get over the Hair Lightening Incident of October 2009, and I am now left thoroughly disappointed in Garnier and also very wary of all Garnier products. Explain yourself, Garnier!