Decline of a London Hair Dynasty

I was feeling in a bit of a ‘decline’ this w-end. For anyone not familiar with this expression it is not quite as dramatic as the fall of the Roman Empire or anything but designates more of a temporary personal decline.  It was coined by my mom when our little Maltese Poodle returned from the doggie parlour having had all her beautiful white curls rudely shorn off. She crawled up under a bed in the spare room and didn’t come out for two days. Poor little thing felt too exposed.

My decline could quite possibly be linked to my own harrowing hair experience. My London hairdresser, Justin, and I had a special bond. Yes, we had years to build it but he understood me from the beginning. Knew what I was feeling even before I did, could advise me on whether the guys I was into were gay or not and most importantly, knew how to make me a pretty natural blonde (whilst consistently undercharging) such that people would ask: ‘You get your hair dyed – really?’ Seeking desperately to emulate this precious relationship I had been to great pains to review every entry in Yelp returned in a ‘hair salon blonde’ search prior to settling on Kris at the Little Hair Shoppe for $$. Given that prices range from $-$$$$ I thought I’d be in a safe zone.  It started out well – I warned him that I was VERY nervous to be changing hairdressers (I love and miss you Justin) and he responded reassuringly that he would be VERY gentle with me. He appeared to listen to my precise instructions on cut and colour and then got to work while I ate my sandwich and we bonded over what Rihanna had worn to the Grammies. $330 and 3 hours later I left thinking it had gone OK, but a yellow wall and soft light in the salon meant that I couldn’t be too sure.

That ‘just stepped out of a salon’ feeling was quickly crushed when my roomie’s dagger went straight in with a blunt: ‘But don’t you get your roots done too?’  $330! I could’ve bought a return flight and hotel package to Puerto Rico and got natural sun streaks for that price. I know I said I wanted it to look ‘natural’ but seriously…

The most frustrating part is that you can’t return highlights.  I’m usually a very savvy consumer and demand ultimate satisfaction from each and every my purchases but I’ve decided to put this one down to bad luck and New York naïveté and next time make sure I get an exact quote for ‘super long’ hair and remember to take Justin’s carefully penned hair script.  Even then, finding the perfect stylist is like finding the perfect boyfriend – you have listen to your instinct in the first five minutes of interaction with them. When I saw how Kris had his hair braided and heard him utter ‘I usually like to do chunkier sections’ I should’ve run as fast as I could to John Frieda on the Upper East Side.

Lesson learnt. Now I just have to mentally pull myself out from underneath that bed for the next 3 months.

For blondes lucky enough to live in London please do yourself a favour and go see Justin at Fresh in South Ken.

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