London can be a fairly expensive place to live and so it is imperative to learn about as many free and cheap experiences as possible.
One of my personal favourites is a visit to the Vidal Sassoon Academy on Brook Street, just near Bond St tube station. For a fraction of the cost of a normal cut and blow dry – £12 instead of £100+ – I get my hair done by a student, with the assistance of a Vidal Sassoon tutor.
I thought I’d detail my experience at the most recent cut to give some idea of what to expect for those who have never been.
Having only had trims on my hair for a couple of years (thanks, Mum!) I walked into the Academy with tresses over twenty inches long, I was prepared to lose a fair bit as my hair is thick and heavy and a good chop was long overdue.
Given a seat in the salon along with four other ‘models’, I was allocated a young Swedish woman named Anneli to be my hairdresser for the afternoon. Her tutor was Danielle, who lit up the room with her bright personality as she bounced with enthusiasm between models, talking to each about their hair types, lifestyles and what they had in mind.
One model had been sent in by the colouring team – they’d refused to add colour to her damaged hair. Most of the models were after the traditional Sassoon bob – geometrically precise creations. Anneli was given my long mop as she’d been cutting short hair already that day.
Running her hands through my hair, Danielle asked if I would like some of the weight taken out, and some ‘discipline’ put into what was really just long grown-out hair. I was happy with that and she explained to Anneli that she would use an AC matrix on my hair – square at the back and triangular at the sides. This meant that I would have a sharp line with layering in order to give my hairstyle movement, but making sure that it still looked long.
During the cut, Anneli was the consummate professional, quietly efficient as she cut off five inches from the ends of my hair, and then took vertical sections out at right angles to cut them into layers. After rounding off the edges at the front, she blow-dried my hair using a cocktail of three products and a paddle brush, finishing with some straightening irons to give a shine boost.
I was impressed with the end result – my hair felt light and swooshy as I flipped it about, and certainly gave a little spring to my step as I wandered off down the street taking selfies!
The only caveat for me – of course there has to be one – is the amount of time it takes as there is some sitting and waiting whilst the students consult with their tutor. But seeing as it comes with such a hefty discount for a haircut at an iconic London stylists, I am happy to take along a book to read!