Balay-hell! I’ve gone blonde
Lighter and brighter, thanks to this no-nonsense Newbury salon where the customer is queen.
It’s taken me a while to find my groove with hairdressers. For ages, I used to sit down in the chair, nervously laugh and say ridiculous things like ‘oh, I’ll leave it up to you.’ I know. Nutcase.
This, as you can imagine, led to lots of *fun experiences* including a blonde pixie crop that made me look like Bart Simpson, many fringe-cutting disasters, bad colouring, bad perms and my childhood short back and sides (I have two brothers and my dad snipped our hair). Sheesh. The teen years were torture.
As you can imagine, I’m a bit picky now. My hair’s wavy, naturally a bit ginger, has been coloured for years and needs proper care and attention. I need to be in a hair relationship with someone who gets my style, who understands my hair and allows my precious few hours of sorting out roots to be calm, relaxing and in a lovely environment.
Let me introduce you to Julian’s in Newbury, set in a Inches Yard a cute courtyard with a cluster of shops in the shadow of the council offices on Market Street. It’s a fairly inconspicuous salon, but it’s something of an local institution with more than 30 years snipping and styling. The creative team of stylists in residence are on it. Well trained, well mannered and genuinely wanting to help you fulfil your hair goals.
Before anyone touches my hair there is a full consultation. Most salons I go into, you have someone running their hands through your hair, asking what you want, but not really listening to the answer. This doesn’t happen here. The lovely Sam, sat next to me and we had a proper chat about my barnet, my lifestyle, my cravings for change and desire to be just and inch wincy bit ‘on-trend’.
Alarm bells should’ve been going off. I mean this is how you end up looking like Bart Simpson. But Sam took on board everything I said, and made suggestions that would suit my face shape and my personality. Now just to keep you up to speed I’m having my hair cut today and coming back for my colour. Yes I know it’s not how it’s normally done, but a patch test was required, so I am scheduled to return to cover up the grey creeping down my head.
Off to the wash basin, no lumpy massage chair, just a simple footstool and a nice head massage during the wash. We’re not writing the rule book here, but I also didn’t have a stream of water running down my neck. That happens a lot.
For my cut, stylist Samantha listened to my desire to keep my LOB (aka long bob), totally understood my hair’s texture without adding too many layers. Once blow dried and then tonged to achieve a glam, casual wave (as opposed to scary curls when left to dry naturally), I couldn’t have been more thrilled. It was as good, if not better, than many of the top London salons I’ve been to over the years.
When I go back for the colour, the grey hair is priority number one, but I also want to have a slightly warmer tone that’s also not too *ahem* ginge. I usually have a brown tint with a few blonde tips. Not today. Sam suggests I try balayage (balay what?). It’s a freehand colouring technique that produces fatter, less symmetrical highlights, giving you that beach babe look. So while she deals with the top of my head in a light brown, she then sets to work painting on the caramel. The result was multi-tonal, it looks nice, natural and relatively low maintenance. My blinkin’ curls are never going to put me in the low low maintenance category. *Sigh*.
Before I leave the salon, I’m given a goody bag. All new customers get one. After rummage I find a good-sized sample pots of the shampoo and conditioner used on my hair in the salon plus a book of discounts to use on future visits. But the BEST thing was the 25% discount offered if I recommend a friend who will also get 25% off when they book an appointment. Whoop Whoop.
Julian’s is all about looking after customers and making sure every time you walk through the door you always have something to smile about and bootiful swishy swishy hair.
The upshot is that Julian’s to me, though a strongly local salon in the sense that it’s not uber-posh or pretentious, is a top notch salon where customer service is as important as a damn fine cut and colour. The prices are very, very reasonable and you can book appointment online juliansonline.co.uk. Happy days.
Extras: No bells and whistles of hand massages and vibrating chairs here, but Julian’s has exceptional customer service with a goody bag including samples of the products used on your hair that day.
Prices: A hair cut with a Salon Ambassador costs £56-£63, a Salon Director £52-£58 and stylists £41-£52. Blow dry £23-£32. Full head colour £75 and balayage £79-£99.
Awards: The only Newbury salon to receive the Salon Spy and Good Salon Guide five-star awards.
Parking: The Kennet Centre public car park is your best best, but if you’ve got lots of change then the council car park is right next to the salon