I had the pleasure of being invited to visit the Edward James Aveda salon on Northcote Road right by Clapham Junction for one of the classiest hair experiences of my life. My hair history is pretty rubbish I have to admit - I've flitted from one poor local hairdresser to another, never really finding one I could trust, and I once went more than two years without having my hair cut at all after a particularly bad experience with a short cut I didn't ask for!
Stepping into the salon at Edward James I immediately felt that I'd finally come to the right place. The salon was busy with lots of people chatting away having cuts, blowdries and colour. There was an arrangement of beautiful flowers on the reception counter, row after row of Aveda products lined the wall and amazing tree trunks strung with fairy lights were the focal point of the warm and buzzing salon.
I accepted a cup of tea in a huge and fabulous cup before being invited to have my hair consultation with Edward. I'll just get it out of the way now and tell you that he's cute and very charming. Slightly awkward because he's likely to read this, but it's an important detail that you need to know, right? Edward was extremely welcoming and put me at ease right away by telling me all of the good things he could see about my hair type, cut and condition, rather than focusing on the bad ( no squeals of "oh my God those split ends" here) like I've been used to. We chatted about what I'd like done and agreed I only needed a bit of a trim and re-shape and some more feathering around the face - we decided that we'd leave my fringe to grow out a little more before making it into a proper sweeping side fringe next time.
A lovely lady who I think was called Natalie (sorry lovely lady if that is not your name) then offered me a wonderful head, neck and shoulder massage with my choice of Aveda oils. I forget which I chose (heck I nearly forgot my name during the neck massage bit) but it smelt great - I think it was a 'revitalising' type scent. I'm scared of massages (seriously. And spray tans, and pretty much anything which involves being naked or touched too much by a stranger) so I very nearly turned this down but I'm so pleased I didn't. I find it incredibly hard to relax when I get any sort of treatment - if I have a manicure I'm constantly told off for tensing my hand - so Natalie (I really hope that's her name) had a tough job, but she clearly knew what she was doing. The neck massage was the most fabulous part, it really felt dreamy and I was a bit lost in the moment, all thoughts of my day at work and the sleeting outside had vanished. It made me wonder if I might brave it and get a full on massage one day, but for now this clothes on experience works for me.
Above is another customer getting the wonderful head massage. I hope she doesn't mind that I took this slightly covert photo. We had chatted in the waiting area when I arrived and it turned out that she had booked into the salon after reading a review on London Beauty Queen's blog and I was like "I've met her"! Hello if you're reading salon friend, and I hope you went for it and got that fringe!
I was whisked off to have my hair washed with some beautiful smelling Aveda products and guess what? More massaging! Sitting in a massaging chair whilst getting a head massage as my hair was washed could not have been more relaxing and luxurious, although it couldn't beat the amazing neck massage I'd just had.
Back into my chair I sipped away at my huge cup of tea which came on a unique tray with a little saucer for everything ( including your used teabag - it's all in the details) and of course I had to take the obligatory "I'm at the hairdressers about to get my hair cut" instagram mirror pic. I'm nothing if not predictable.
Edward started snipping and chatting away to me simultaneously whilst I greedily quizzed him for various hair tips. I loved how he was really honest with me about my hair type - again telling me what was good about it rather than what it couldn't do, but he was realistic too. I have heavy and straight hair, so it's notoriously difficult to curl and instead of trying to push a particular product on me he gave me tips on which types of curls would last longest for my hair (conical wand as the curls will be tighter and so will take longer to totally drop) and asked me about what I'd tried in the past. He recommended that when I use my heated rollers (my favourite method to curl my hair and I use the ones from Enrapture) that I shouldn't spray hairspray on on until I remove the rollers, rather than spraying each section before, which sometimes gives me a bit of a crunchy and dented result.
I was interested to know more about the salon and Edward's hair dressing history and we actually discovered he knew one of my friend's partners through working with Aveda. Edward used to work with Nicky Clarke before moving on to Aveda salons and then setting up his own space in Clapham with its cool boutique vibe. I managed to squeeze out a little mention of his achievements from him but he was very modest so I actually had to google him to find out that he won the Aveda pure image award in 2009 / 2010!
We chatted about hair I admired and obviously K Middy was mentioned - who wouldn't want Princess hair? I opted to have my hair styled like a royal which involved being blow dried with a round brush in small sections and the brush was left in wrapped around each length of hair to cool. Note to self: must buy twenty round brushes and grow longer arms.
Before, during and after 'selfies'.
And the finished result (sorry there was a bit of a bright light shining). I told Edward he had to be in this one - I got all bossy once I had my new bounce.
I became totally obsessed with my reflection from the moment this was finished - I just couldn't believe the lovely bounce and movement and was papping my reflection like a crazy woman. Edward politely ignored my madness and kindly took a snap of the back of my head for me - aren't those curls fabulous? I immediately instructed him to open a new salon next door to my office so that he can blowdry my locks within an inch of fabulous every day of my life. He said he'll see what he can do.
As Edward is the salon's creative director and owner, it costs a little more to have your hair done by him than I've paid for my hair in the past, but I can say with certainty that I'll return as a paying customer. I've never walked out of a salon feeling so positive about my hair before or feeling so excited about what I might be able to achieve with it next, armed with my great cut and a variety of top tips. Putting my bad experiences behind me I can now see that a trip to the hairdressers can be a really lovely and pampering experience - a cut and blow dry that comes with a complimentary massage and glass of champagne? Yes please!
I took a few snaps of my new 'do' with my proper camera when I got home. Bear in mind this was after my hair had been out in the wind and sleet on my journey home across London, but it's still bouncy and textured with loads of movement.
The Edward James Salon is a few minutes walk from Clapham Junction, which as I learned today on my first visit, is just two stops from central London. Find out more about the salon and the services on offer here - edwardjameslondon.com
I also got to take home two of the Aveda products which were used on my hair - smooth infusion which is like a blowdry serum and aircontrol which is a fine hairspray which smelt so nice that I actually asked what was being sprayed on my hair as I thought it couldn't possibly be a hairspray. I will of course be reviewing both of these once I've tried them out myself at home.
What's do you love most about getting your hair done at a salon?
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