By Amy Sharpe
When the sun finally showed its face last month after an endless winter, I no longer wanted my straggly long hair to be dragging me down.
In the same way that some people want to trim their love handles at the first sign of sun, for me it was the locks that needed trimming.
I wanted a light and fresh do – a ‘spring clean’ for my head.
So I popped into The Chapel in Islington, London to ask their stylist Luke for his thoughts on giving my mop the chop.
Looking around The Chapel – a converted pub spread over two floors – it seemed more like a chic bar than a salon.
Instead of the uniform line of mirrors, chairs and nervous-looking clients I expect to see when I go for the chop, The Chapel was spacious, bright and airy, with just a few mirrors hanging from the ceiling.
And there was a bar in the corner – always a plus.
“I want a spring clean!” I told Luke, sprawling into one of their sofas.
Having a cosy chat with a bevy in hand made a refreshing change from the usual consultation experience, i.e. making awkward eye contact with hairdresser in the mirror while I talk/being strangled by a black cloak/realising how misshapen my head looks when my hair is scraped back.
This felt more relaxing.
During our chat, Luke pulled out an iPad and, a few taps and clicks later, I had a range of styles at my disposal.
Granted, most were way too edgy for my styling abilities, but I enjoyed the visual aspect of choosing from a selection, rather than relying on my own dodgy descriptions – ‘um, quite a bit shorter but not too short’ – or a crumpled magazine cut-out.
Like me, Luke has naturally curly hair, and he seemed confident he could create something low-maintenance for me.
“I’m thinking a long bob and warmer colour,” he told me. “We won’t go too short though – with curly hair it could end up springing outwards rather than downwards”.
He was referring to what I call the ‘sheep effect’ – a look which plagued my childhood for many years before I grew my hair long.
Luke led me to the salon’s underground colour studio, with its panels of vibrant shades and bottles of dye embedded in the wall.
There, Luke coated my locks in a dark brunette shade of Redken Gloss.
Rinsing it out 30 minutes later, Luke explained that the products were especially good for creating a healthy, shiny look.
Plus, the shade was semi-permanent, which meant no unsightly regrowth. Music to the ears of someone like me, who lets years go by between haircuts and can’t be doing with root-covering.
Back upstairs in the spacious salon of hanging mirrors, Luke snipped a good three inches from the length, while I sat back and got immense satisfaction watching all that dead hair fall to the floor.
I felt rejuvenated and more summery just looking at it.
With the length taken just above my shoulders, Luke then used a ‘weave cutting’ technique, taking tiny snips from seemingly random levels of the strands to create a textured, choppy look.
Then, he dried my curls upside down, using a diffuser.
Flipping my head back, I revealed a somewhat poodle-like arrangement – and feared Luke was planning to send me on my way with those granny curls.
Thankfully, he was on hand with some Redken Frizz Dismiss to tame the frizz.
Then, he used basic tongs to tease my tangles into something a little sleeker.
“The trick is to twist the hair while wrapping it round the tongs – otherwise you’ll end up with ringlets like a Victorian doll,” he revealed.
Finishing the look with Redken Diamond Oil High Shine Airy Mist he sent me on my way with a huge smile on my face.
Of course, sod’s law meant it was raining – so not exactly the spring weather to match my lighter new look – and my curls got damp and fell out immediately.
But I’d recommend a trip to The Chapel for anyone looking for a spring clean. The breezy, relaxed experience was enough to get me in the summer mood, regardless of the British weather.
Please visit their website for more info http://www.thechapel.co.uk/islington