A Hairdresser is for Life (and not just for Christmas!)
I have now reached the ripe old age of (ahem!) forty-one years old, so I’m nearly grown up. In almost every way that is. By now I should have found myself, should be happy with the person that I am, should feel the most confident I’ve ever felt. I have found my path in life and I’m following it. We have a family doctor, a dentist and I have my favourite restaurants that I return to time after time but one thing that I should have found a long time ago is still evading me -my hairdresser.
It’s not that I’m not vain (I’m as vain as the next), nor is it that I cut or colour own hair (god forbid!) and I can’t really blame it on time or lack thereof. For all of my adult life I have had long, blonde, highlighted hair which means reasonably regular upkeep. Okay, I must admit that I have gone months without colour but I’m lucky, I’m quite fair anyway and nearly a year once without a cut ( not great as ends do split but long straight hair can just about take it if in good condition).
So, that’s my hair story- a bit of neglect but not enough to notice. I’ve had a lifetime full of hairdressers; notches on the bedpost you might say. From supposed best of the best for blondes (Jo Hansford) to the achingly trendy Shoreditch salons, via Daniel Galvin for while, a few debauched nights at a colourist friend’s flat in Westminster with foils flying everywhere to Camden Stables and very fine candy pink extensions plus the local L’Oreal colourist of the year winner (she was my prior favourite actually). The cut always came a poor second. When you want to stay blonde, you tend to concentrate on colour, especially if you have long almost straight hair. When I was a little girl my Mum always made me keep my hair short, she said it was because my hair was fine (it is but I have loads of it) and that it would look better shorter.I thought that I looked like a boy. So, ever since, my hairstiny was my own, I’ve kept my hair long. Typical me really. The rebel. Anyway, long straight hair isn’t that versatile if you don’t suit a fringe so it was always layers and a trim for me.
My hair history a mess, I decided to do something that had been long overdue-search out a hairdresser for life. It’s about time that I grew up and I just wanted to emerge time after time from having my hair cut and coloured feeling great about myself and looking a million dollars. It’s time to settle down!
Living in London I have access to the best of the best, so off to a good start. I did some research and then did some more. I must be honest, I started out from a colourist point of view but as you will find out later, I found both a colourist and a stylist. A few emails here, a tweet there and Debbie Bhowmik immediately shot to the top of the list. Her client list reads like an edition of Hello! and friends had mentioned friends who were such loyal followers that they had been with her for over twenty years. Once dubbed the ‘concorde colourist’ by the Telegraph due to her huge celebrity fan club her talents with colour, especially blonde, make her a star in her own right. I tracked her down at Michaeljohn in Mayfair. Determined to succeed in my quest I also booked in with the hugely talented Vlad (Rapic) for my cut; Lead Creative Director and Top Dog he is also the nicest man I have met in a long time. his chairside manner is exemplary.
I have to admit that Michaeljohn is one of the only top salons in London that I had never been to. I suppose I thought that is wasn’t ‘niche’ enough for me and I had never asked for recommendations before, otherwise perhaps I wouldn’t be writing this article now. Both Vlad and Debbie work out of the Mayfair salon. An easy hop on the Jubilee Line to Bond Street and an amble past the designer shops and I was there.
So here I am. the vibe in salon from the moment I walk in is relaxed and luxurious. No attitude here. I find that a lot of top salons have prima donna clients and sometimes prima donna staff. I’m not always interested in showing off and actually what I want is amazing hair. Both Debbie and Vlad come to see me within minutes of my arrival and gowning to discuss what I want. Both of them there with me, they discuss together what we should do. One hand knows what the other is doing for once! How refreshing. I have my own ‘team’. It makes utter sense for both stylist and colourist to confer and most half-heartedly do but this was true professionalism at it best. I felt in brilliant hands and not the slightest bit nervous of the super light ‘scandi’ blonde and the fabulous Italian/french much shorter cut that I was about to receive. In fact I was very excited and as I write this I am still excited and more so looking forward to my next visit where I want to step even further out of my comfort zone (if that is at all possible).
Off I went downstairs and sat chatting to Debbie about hair and Thailand whilst she worked away seemingly at the speed of light on a very full half-head of highlights. I immediately had 100% trust in her having done the research and now our consultation. She immediately knew that I wanted not a trace of warmth and that when I said ‘edgy’ I meant it. Most hairdressers are too safe and no matter how often you mention the word ‘edgy’ , they always err on the side of caution. What is the point? maybe that’s why I’ve always been disappointed. With Debbie, her expertise and ability to match colour with complexion meant that it was impossible to fail.
After what seemed like a very short time (I’m generally one of the most impatient people around), a yummy smoked salmon sandwich and a glass of wine (or two!), I was ready to take my pew upstairs in the salon for Vlad to work his magic. Again, he put me totally at ease. Such a great guy, as he told me, everyone learns the same techniques, it’s just the delivery. You can see exactly why he has a clientlist of Hollywood stars too. A genuinely lovely guy to spend time with from the outset, I was sold. I didn’t blink a eye-lid when he produced five inches of hair from the first cut and again I didn’t look back. He worked quickly (but not rushing!) and expertly to leave me with an actual hairstyle and a modern one at that. I have suffered from hair annoyance for many years, meaning that I literally never wore my hair down as it irritated me. He told me that I looked like a ‘Notting Hill Yummy Mummy’ when I walked in, I suppose he was right but I left looking like their younger, much edgier, sister. I now wear my hair down with pride and no annoyance.
So, maybe good things come to those who wait and there is always someone out there for everyone! Debbie and Vlad, registry office OK? unless you do synagogues!