I’m going on holiday really soon and it hadn’t escaped my notice that a haircut was long, long overdue. When I phoned my Turkish hairdresser of 15 years, I discovered she’d very selfishly gone on holiday for 3 weeks. So, this is a total crisis for me – I’m not good with any kind of salon treatments, but a new hairdresser? Oh, man. A Big Ask. I have been offered cuts at any number of the big London salons (in connection with my day job), have discount cards for hundreds of them and have even been offered a stylist to come to my house to cut my hair. But nuh-oh, wasn’t prepared to make the change.
So, since The Aveda Academy had given my son a really cool hair cut, I rang them to step into the breach as crisis cutters. Poor them..my list went on and on, starting with ‘I don’t want my head massaged AT ALL’ and finishing with ‘and I don’t like a big blow dry, either’. But seriously, I was nervous! The PR had also remembered that I don’t like smelly stuff and briefed the staff..Aveda can be a bit ‘old peppermints’, so by the time I got there I’m surprised they didn’t turf me out there and then. On the Aveda website, The Academy is billed somewhat optimistically as in Covent Garden. In my mind, and on my map, it’s definitely in Holborn.
I was allocated Zak (real name Andrew…don’t ask!) who talked me through what I wanted doing with my hair – which was nothing basically, except make it a bit shorter. With my hair washed (and literally, my brain shook – there will be nothing untoward lurking on your scalp (or even in your ears probably) after such a very thorough washing – and that wasn’t even the massage) I was taken back to Zak and given a proper coffee (the Holborn salon has the great fortune to be integrated with a Le Pain Quotidien cafe). Turns out that Zak, aka Andrew, is an ex-circus performer who, in the course of a hair cut I barely noticed because of the conversation, offered to teach me to eat fire. I am very, very tempted. He’s an ex-juggler who sometimes still gets tempted to go back to circus life, he’s from Wales and used to have a labrador. I’d have missed this back at the basins if I’d opted for a fiddly head massage. Anyway, he snipped away and did the nicest possible hair cut, denied FLAT OUT that I needed any kind of colouring treatment (yes, there are some greys lurking), and told me about one (male) client’s cunning tactic with women. The client apparantly asks any woman he has his eye on how old she is and then says he thought she was older. In that way, she’s then grateful for his attentions – apparantly! Zak asked if I wanted – and let me smell – some heat protector; which I didn’t – it didn’t smell nice at all, so he just wiped it straight off his hands and didn’t miss a beat in the conversation (by then I was feeling inferior to his superb circus skills and was convincing him I could snowboard).
So, how could I have missed this? It was just fabulous – right from the greeting to the (small) blow dry – the coffee, the absolute attention to detail, the customer focus – and please, tell me where else you’re going to run into a Welsh fire-eating juggler who has a wicked way with a hairdrier and scissors?
So, I can, hand on heart, recommend the Aveda Academy, 174 High Holborn, London, tel: 020 759 7355. But, ask for Zak. That’s him, right up there.
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I hate going to a new Salon too…too set in my ways! Was distraught when my hairdresser from the age of 10 retired when I was 23 (retirement is not allowed…what if I have a hair emergency??)
But, man, Zac makes my current Hairdresser look really boring…I’m actually kinda jealous LOL!
That really made me laugh after a poop day! Thank you! A lady’s relationship with her hairdresser is a very special one. It involves a lot of trust. I can totally understand being nervous of going to a new salon/stylist. That being said, I adore the head massages ;o) Shame I don’t live in London any more, or I would have given them a try. I love Aveda products, so I imagine I’d like the salon.
i gotta admit i’m not a big aveda salon fan. i’ve been to this particular location before and after 3 times of walking out disappointed with the style and quality of the haircut i’ve moved on…from aveda products and locations.
my sister convinced me to go to the aveda academy in columbus (ohio, usa) and get pedicures and it was ATROCIOUS. but you sign a waiver saying the technicians are students and you cannot get mad if the quality is bad.
needless to say…i don’t bother with aveda any longer. i DO love rush salon on baker street though. i’ve never had a bad haircut or colour there!! of course…nothing tops my hairdresser in los angeles who i have been seeing for over 13 years. so i trust her implicitly and if she told me i needed blue hair…i’d probably do it. my dream is to somehow transport her to london for my express hair purposes!!
i’m glad you had such a great experience!!!
i have had many haircuts of zac, fantastic hairdresser, and a fantastic person.
Im glad you had a great experience with him, his company and chat is priceless, he is very dear to me.
Ohhh you should have got a big, Jewish mum (I can say that, I’m Jewish!) blow dry! Would have loved to of seen that!!!
Looking forward to seeing it Mrs!!! x
Rarely do I find it a great experience whenever I go to a new hair salon. I wish I could find one as great as Aveda too.
Zak has done my hair quite a few times and is an absolute star. His cutting skills are second to none, he listens to what you want and advises accordingly – in my case a no-maintenance cut, literally wash and go – and he always ensures that’s what I get and it last up to 6 months. I live in the north of England and visit my sister in London a couple of times a year and co-ordinate with a hair cut.
The guy is such a star that he even remembered me after 2 years of me not going as I’d had chemo and all my hair had fallen out and it took a while to get back to cuttable length. This was in spite of me only having been three times before! When I went in Dec, someone else did my cut as Zak was busy but he saw me and came over and greeted me like a long lost friend. The new cut was almost as good but hasn’t quite that finishing Zak touch !! Will be back in April/May time (or possibly March) and insist on the lovely Zak.