As the end of my London trip is fast approaching, I decided to treat myself to a long overdue treatment, trim and blowdry. There are quite a few salons in the city specialising in Afro hair, but I’d read good reviews about The Hair Lounge, owned by Charlotte Mensah, 2014 Afro Hairdresser of the Year. She has a very high profile, featuring monthly in Black Hair Magazine, and the salon advertises itself as an expert for natural hair gals so I booked an appointment leaving my styling choice open – either a blow dry or a twist out/ curly style.
The weather was absolutely blistering and I dragged myself into the salon in Westbourne Grove shivering like a leaf. I was expecting to have a sit down consultation with Charlotte or one of her stylists, based on what I’d read about the salon online. That didn’t happen. It was more a step by step approach – “What would you like done?”, “We only use one type of treatment for natural hair – the shea butter treatment” etc. In that respect, it was exactly like all the other salons I’ve been to. I would definitely have liked more variety of treatments, I do protein treatments at home and they work, so moisturising treatments shouldn’t be the only thing on offer.
That said, the customer service was excellent. I was offered and handed a yummy cup of mint tea and chunky slice of sponge cake during my treatment. And my stylist Marie was very friendly and warm, without being too talkative.
My biggest criticism is that she was too SLOW! I went in at noon and didn’t leave till 4! Considering there was only one other client there (being styled by Charlotte) that’s really not acceptable for a salon of that standard. Just because I wasn’t in a rush doesn’t mean I want to be in there all day…
My blow dry was nice and she trimmed and layered my hair well, taking several inches off and leaving it looking thicker than normal. She used a flat iron very lightly so as not to damage the hair. This meant my blow dry didn’t last long but I didn’t mind that.
At £130, was it good value? I would have to ask myself if my hair was handled or styled any differently to other salons I’ve been to and it wasn’t. Despite The Hair Lounge promoting its natural hair care expertise when I asked the stylist to finger detangle before combing, she said it would take too long. Considering I was her only customer and that she then took ages to style, she definitely could have prioritised this!
Not an unpleasant experience and I’m happy with the results, but next time I’m in London I’ll definitely be shopping around.