It’s going to be one bumper week for posts on the blog this week! I was invited to YouTube HQ by Dailymix over the weekend, for a network launch event, that I will be posting about in the next few days.
I’m breaking it up into separate posts, so that I can go to town on the content and hopefully give you the best possible account of each experience. So onto the hair as it’s as good a place to start, right?!
I wanted my hair to look nice for the event, and as I have mentioned before I find traveling with all my hair accessories quite troublesome… my bag is often heavy enough with make up and shoes! A few bloggers in the past have reccommended the Aveda Institute, quaintly nestled in Holborn. As the salon is literally a minutes walk from the building that is also home to YouTube, it seemed like the ideal choice!
I booked through email about two weeks in advance, and I would recommend doing this especially if you have to be somewhere and need to be guaranteed a spot. Although, with 70 members of staff at it’s helm they seem to be very well organised.
When you enter a new salon for the first time, it can often be quite daunting but honestly, from the moment I opened the huge sleek glass door (with “Pull” written on it for fools like me who always open doors the wrong way…doh!) I knew I had walked into somewhere special.
I was greeted by the sight of very neat shelves full of Aveda products that seemed to blend seamlessly into different sections of styling counters. I was promptly approached by a stylist with a warm smile on his face asking if I was “Julia”(nope!), and then he directed me to the tills to check in. After checking in, I was told to wait on the yellow bench and after asking where this was, the lady said “oh, are you new here?! Let me show you around!” – which I thought was so incredibly thoughtful and welcoming.
After sitting down for all of thirty seconds, I was approached by a lady who would be washing my hair, who took me over to another lady would be styling my hair afterwards called Joon. This was cool as Joon decided how she was going to style my hair before washing, and asked me how I would prefer it to look, whilst also giving her expert opinion and actually ended up giving me a brand new take on my style, yet most importantly having it still feel like “me”.
Perhaps the most unusual thing of the process is they actually give you a scalp and neck massage prior to shampooing whilst still sat in the styling chair. The first lady took care of this, and had her hands covered in a special relaxation product placed infront of my face, telling me to breathe deeply to inhale the product (an Aveda branded one, although I am not sure what the exact name was). It smelled quite deep yet rejuvinating and definately had a spa like quality to it. She then worked this in though my hair and scalp, and the back of my neck. I was also asked if they could get me anything, such as a drink or any magazines.
Onto the hair washing, and the area where this happens is enclosed in it’s own little area, and it feels quite private and quiet. The interiors of this section are dark wood, but in a very calming sense and it really puts you at ease. They also have separate foot stools which are really comfy, and make a change from typical salons where your feet remain on the floor.
After the washing, it was back to Joon in the chair and no I was not left waiting with soaking wet hair as I have been in many salons before – she was straight there to take over and very attentive throughout. She firstly went over again what she planned to do, and made sure I was happy with it. She also asked if my hair tends to hold a style well, which I think showed real attention to detail as infact my hair doesn’t hold styles all that well due to it being quite deceptively thick and heavy.
For an “express blowdry” the service was not in the slightest bit rushed – at no point did I ever feel like I was just another client, or that they were on a tight schedule. Infact, Joon in particular really took her time to get to know me and ask me questions about my blog after I mentioned why I was getting my hair done. She even brought over another member of staff at one point who was also pale, and told her about my blog too! I couldn’t quite believe just how lovely they all were to me, especially as they must see thousands of clients pass through their doors each week.
What fascinated me from a hairdressing point of view, is that Joon blowdried my hair in a completely different way to how I or my regular hairdresser normally does. She actually dried it straight using mainly a paddle instead of a barrel brush, as I normally do so at home. She explained this was to minimise volume at the root, yet the volume would still be achieved as she planned to use flat irons to add subtle curls throughout.
At first I was unsure how this would look, as it’s a completely new take on how my hair has been styled previously. I was genuinely amazed as it started to come together, and equally impressed that Joon didn’t rush or use the hairdryer on a super high setting to get through my hair quickly because it’s so thick (as has happened to me before with similar services and ended up burning my scalp!)
The experience did take a little longer than the 30 minutes it was supposed to, however I genuinely couldn’t have cared less as I was enjoying every minute of it. I let Joon know I had to be there at 2, and she made sure that she finished my look on time and nothing seemed to much trouble for her.
When she passed me the mirror at the end, I don’t think I could have felt any happier with the result. My hair felt light, bouncy and fresh yet not laden down with product either, infact she barely used more than a little hairspray on me. My hair has continued to feel nice, and smell nice too.
Whilst in the building, I was also complemented by about 4 different staff members on the dress I was wearing and “how nicely it worked against my skintone”. I thought this was a lovely touch, as you could tell they were being genuine with you, which unfortunately is something you don’t always find in salon environments. It also meant alot, as I was there to represent pale skin and having people tell you that you got it right, made me feel confident in not only how I looked, but also in what I was there to achieve on a personal level.
I guess to sum it up, a visit the Aveda Institute is something that really should be on your bucket list. Yes, I would really go that far as to say that! The whole process from start to finish was relaxing, welcoming and every member of staff you encounter genuinely treats you as a friend, not just another head to wash and style. The passion they have for their craft really shines through, and this is clear to see as they actually care about you and want to get to know you. Joon even offered to take the pictures of my hair at the end, I mean how nice can you get?! If you are reading this, thankyou so much!
The one thing that leaves me gutted, is that I am from up north and The Aveda Institute is down south. But as I told the lady at reception before I had even left the building, I’ll be back!!!
The Aveda Express Blowdry costs £33 and can be booked through email or phone.
*A couple of the pics taken from the Aveda website.