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Green hair can be good

If you're bored of your barnet, head to Gilded Hair, an eco-friendly, boutique salon in Wokingham pronto. See how they transformed my hair from straw to phwoar.

Gilded Hair Wokingham eco friendly salon Berkshire reception area

Boutique hair salon, Gilded Hair at Holme Grange in Wokingham, has long been a Muddy fave – and judging by its three Muddy Awards, you love it too. What makes it stand out from the crowd? The quirky retro vibes aside, owner Jo Gilder is on a mission to offer style and sustainability.

She’s Berkshire’s eco warrior princess, creating the first plastic free hair salon in Berkshire and one of the most sustainable salons in the UK. By default hair salons aren’t exactly known for being kind to the planet – just think about the water wastage, energy use and plethora of chemicals in all that pastel rainbow hair dye. But taking steps to make these processes greener is possible.

Gilded Hair use Eco Heads which purify and reduce water usage by 65%, they only use amonia-free ColourMe Kevin Murphy products, they offer a shampoo and conditioner refill service where customers can return empty bottles for a discounted top up, bio-degradable, compostable towels, sugar cane colour bowls, reclaimed fixtures and fittings and much more.

In an age where we refuse straws, cart our shopping around in reusable totes and style out a water bottle, we’re also looking for ways to reduce the environmental impact of our beauty routines. No compromise needed, the idea here is that you can polish your eco-friendly halo and still have hot hair. Let’s put it to the test.



I’m brassy! Not a trumpet I want to blow, to be honest. But after 6-8 weeks of having my hair coloured, it turns a hideous tinge of orange. I’m not sure if it is down to years of experimental colouring or that under all that dye, I’m actually a secret red head. If only it was the glossy Nicole Kidman strawberry blonde, but it’s not. It’s like my hair turns rusty after being left out in the rain. Throw in the pube-like grey hairs sprouting at the top, and you can imagine the monumental task poor Jo faced. I want it a little less blonde, a cut that is low maintenance, but not mumsy and long enough to pull back into a pony tail for those can’t be arsed days. Crikey anymore demands and I’ll be giving Donald Trump and Kim Jung Un a run for their money.



On the outskirts of Wokingham town centre, you’ll find the delightfully quirky Holme Grange Craft Village. If you’ve not visited, it’s a must. It’s a far cry from the monochrome safety zone of many high street salons. Think William & Morris wallpaper sitting alongside jungle, a mid-century velvet sofas and chairs, vintage record player playing real vinyl and a Gilded Hair selfie wall. It is like no other salon you have ever visited. Now there’s a challenge.

Jo Gilder hairdresser gilded hair blonde hair hat and environment t shirt

Jo Gilder is a big-hearted, ever-so-slightly-eccentric owner and creative director of Gilded Hair. She’s an ambassador and educator for Kevin Murphy products and has launched her own hairdressing academy. Jo started her career in a Sunningdale salon when she was 14, after she’d spent her childhood shaving kids’ heads in the neighbourhood with her mum’s Ladyshave! She’s been cutting and colouring for 30 years, trained and worked at all the big salons both locally and in London, and still works backstage at fashion shows. To say she’s busy is an understatement. But I’m not sure she would have it any other way.



Gilded Hair Muddy Berkshire Rachel and Jo Gilder

The colour (by Creative Director Jo): A thorough cleanse of the hair, then a ashy brown colour was used to knock out the blonde and look more natural. It’ll also be lower-maintenance as the regrowth won’t be so obvious. Jo kept the existing highlights but toned them down. Gilded Hair uses Kevin Murphy products which are ammonia and PPD free – perfect for my fine, over-processed hair.

The cut (by Creative Director Jo): Inches came off the bottom, layers were put in and the whole thing was reshaped with the front angled down to frame the face. It’s all very well leaving a salon with it perfectly styled but Jo made sure the cut would work with my everyday quick bedroom upside down blow-dry too – sleek or boho, it looks good.



Quite frankly the Jo’s worked a miracle on the colour. Bye bye brassy Bet Lynch, hello cool brunette. She knocked the orange out of my hair and used a darker tone to cover the grey, blending through and leaving some of the existing highlights to shimmer and shine. The cut has shorter layers which has taken a bit of getting used to when I have been blow drying at home, but Jo always gives great advice to help you get that ‘just stepped out of the salon’ look every day. She even does a monthly blow dry and braiding masterclass, if you want to blow like a pro.



My colour was about £65 (colour prices start at £50 to £90 for a full head of highlights) and cut £65, so £130 total – I think this is very reasonable for work of this standard, given many salons in the area (let alone London) nudge £160 for the same. We’re also loving the work-friendly opening times – 9pm close on Wednesday and Thursdays and you can book Sunday appointments too. Body swerve the roast and get hot hair instead.

Gilded Hair, Holme Grange Craft Village, Heathlands Road, Wokingham, RG40 3AW; 0118 327 6073,

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