Monday, 26 July 2010
At times, I'm truly reminded that mine is a somewhat charmed life. Recently, I spent the most delightful four hours in the company of Billie, Kay and Kim at the Chapel Hair salon in Islington, and was made to feel so much at home, that I didn't really want to leave.
Having read up a little before my visit about the "trend-setting" owners Billie Crago and Georgia Denton, discovering that the salon has won at least five "Salon of the Year" awards, and reading about how "cool" the design of the salon itself was, I don't think I can be blamed for being a little apprehensive about my upcoming appointment. Add in the fact that on the day itself I was running a little late for my appointment, I was expecting a sniffy reception at the very least. I could not have been more delightfully put wrong, from the super-friendly receptionist who set me up with a drink and a gratefully received Tunnocks teacake, to my colourist Billlie, my stylist Kim, and my mani/pedi diva Kay, everyone was friendly, relaxed, chatty, and a joy to spend the afternoon with.
I was there to trial their "Summerlicious" offering, which aims to get you ready for your holidays, or just get you all spruced up for the warmer weather. For a special price of £200, Summerlicious includes the salon's signature "floating" highlights, a pedicure, manicure, a makeup consultation and, of course a cut and blowdry. On arrival, you're whisked into the consultation area (above), for a chat about your likes, dislikes, skintone, hair requirements (mine was, deal with the madness, and make me look less dull, please), and colour requests for nail polishes, and just general chitchat about how the salon works.
Once all that's decided, your summerlicious appointment starts with your pedicure. These take place in the dedicated colour room, which is in the basement of the salon. Equipped with sofas, footrests, and a fireplace, it's a wonderful little cave to rest and relax in. Kay, the salon's beauty person, is simply an amazing therapist, chatty and friendly, with an astonishing knowledge of brands and products, talking to her was a joy, so much so that I almost forgot she was playing with my feet. You regular readers will all know how I feel about feet, so I won't go on about it here again, but suffice it to say that Kay took all my quirks into account and this was probably the pedicure that's had the least amount of flinching and wincing (on my behalf!) as a result. The salon use Leighton Denny manicure products, and my toes were painted a fetching milky coral-peach shade called Just Perfect. It is.
Billie was taking care of my colour, which basically meant taking care of my grey roots - I've been greying since I was 18, and I find it infuriating - and then using her signature "floating" highlight technique to do the rest. This technique is great for darker hair, as the lights start further down the hair (slightly away from the scalp) therefore minimising regrowth, avoiding totally that attractive stripy look on your parting, and just imparting a sunkissed glow towards the ends of your hair. Aimed at mimicking a natural sun-bleached effect, they're far less obvious than traditional highlights, and less high maintenance as a result. Billie very clearly knows her stuff, and was happy to talk all through the technical aspects of the treatments of the salon, and her passion for her craft was apparent at all times (ask her about her head collection!). While Billie was applying the colour, Kay was painting my fingernails, and it was also obvious that these people are a real team who enjoy working together a great deal.
Once your nails are painted, and your highlights are in place, you're led to a sofa by the fireplace with a glass of wine and a magazine whilst your colour is developing. Most relaxing, and much better than being left in front of the mirror to stare blankly at yourself. Billie had prescribed a particular "Chemistry" moisturising treatment for my hair type once the highlights were rinsed off, which has left me with silkysoft hair, and I was off to see Kim for my cut. Kim has curly hair herself, so I knew I was in safe hands, during my consultation I'd noticed that Kim understood my concerns with my "mad" hair completely, and so I was happy to just leave her to the cutting whilst I was chatting to Kay again about summer makeup trends (which is again, all part of the service) She also gave me a great blowdry, bouncy and full without being too bouffant.
Even after four hours in the salon, all too soon it was time to leave, but all good things come to an end, I guess. Admittedly I was leaving a lot more relaxed - and groomed! - than I was when I arrived, which is always good thing, bearing in mind my natural state of being!
So-so things about The Chapel:
The name Summerlicious. It's a simply amazing offer, but the name makes it sound a bit cheesy.
Good things about The Chapel:
Lockers for your bags, a simple, but absolutely brilliant idea.
Keys for said lockers on bracelets so you don't lose them.
The salon itself is beautiful but not at all intimidating when you're in there. Make sure you check out the Hollywood bathroom ...
Great things about The Chapel:
The pricing structure - for all hair services, you are charged by the hour, no matter what you're having done, you have a consultation before hand (free) and you're told how long it will take, plus if your service doesn't take the whole time, you pay less.
Summerlicious itself. An utter bargain, and a real treat!
Oh yeah, the traditional look at my hair (this is a couple of days later, and all styling errors are my responsibility as a result):
Summerlicious costs £200 and takes approximately 3.5 to 4 hours. The offer is running till September, so book it quickly! You can have a look at the Chapel website here, and their blog is here.
The Fine Print: Get Lippie was invited along as a guest of the salon, for review purposes. I really have to stop talking about my mad barnet, as I suspect I'm on some sort of "insane" hair marketing list and that's how people find me.