75 New Cavendish Street, London W1

020 7636 1401

At John Frieda you don't just get new hair - you get the advice you need to have good hair every day, writes Judy Johnson


Salon Spy: John Frieda New Cavendish Street

5 stars


As a natural blonde who favours an updo to having long, annoying locks fluttering around my face, it's fair to say I am pretty low maintenance when it comes to my hair. The problem with being so nonchalant in the barnet department is that I'll often go months without a cut, wind up wearing a messy bun every day and, more recently, with a full fringe which was rendering my contact lenses pointless since it was so long I could hardly see.

Fringe maintenance is hard work. It takes time in the morning to get it just right, you can't leave it to dry naturally unless you want to sport the nineties 'curtains' look (dear old Leo di Caprio is the only one to pull that off) and the minute you walk anywhere, windy or not, it moves and you look ridiculous. I loved the fringe when it was perfect; but with a hot summer approaching and one too many photos of wonky bangs, I decided it was time to move on, and perhaps even back to my trusty and low maintenance side-swept fringe.

So off I trotted to John Frieda for a makeover. My last haircut was dramatic for its bang-on-trend bangs (if I do say so myself) but I had high hopes for this one too since it was now long enough to play with and I was doing what I had always avoided previously: getting highlights. My natural colour, I'm told, is the colour people pay for and so I've always avoided hitting the bottle. But expert trichologist Glenn Lyons advised me that a hint of colour would bulk up my super thin hair and give it a little life and body. I was sold.

The New Cavendish Street salon is easy to miss; subtly signposted and with a sleek exterior, this location is known as the 'gentleman's club' of the two London branches as it attracts the gents and is less all-singing, all-dancing than its Mayfair sister salon. I preferred this quieter, cosier version though; as someone who fears the hairdresser's chair the warm colours and plush setting was as inviting as it was stylish.


To start off my new look I saw Nicola Clarke. A look at her client list reassured me on any nerves I had about the foils; Madonna has her on speed dial and she regularly colours the coiffs of Kate Moss, Kate Winslet, Gwyneth Paltrow and more. Friendly, approachable and incredibly down to earth considering her heavenly hair goddess status, Nicola understood what I wanted in no time at all - simply, for my hair to look as it would if I'd been sunning myself on an island for the summer. Setting to work with her foils she regaled me with tales of her celebrity work, from begging Sam McKnight to let her assist him at London Fashion Week when she started out to jetting off and working on films with Jake Gyllenhaal and co. I could have spoken to her all day; her career is fascinating and if you're ever lucky enough to be in her chair you're in for an entertaining salon session.

Once I was highlighted from root to tip I swapped over to the safe hands of Josie Chaleyssin, who has been with the company for no less than 20 years (though does not look old enough). Glam, friendly and easy to chat to, I trusted Josie to do whatever she wanted to bring me back to my glossy best. After listening to how I look after my hair (I don't, really) and my lack of volume woes, she opted for a shorter length (it instantly lifts my face shape - she's a genius) and a few choppy layers so that the thickness was at the crown instead of the nape of the neck.

One thing you should know about Josie: she is the queen of volume. After chopping my hair into a far more trendy 'do, she not only showed me how to backcomb away the parting that I so hate but also explained how to use root boosting products to get the look I've always wanted. I drank it all in and realised that hair doesn't have to be high maintenance; it just has to be high.

I left the salon with volumised, bouncy hair in a long bob that moved around thanks to cleverly clipped layers around the ends. My highlights were a little blonder than I expected but they brightened up my colour just in time for the sunshine and earned me compliments everywhere I went, and with a few days’ washes they calmed down to the natural hue I was after.

Even better, Josie's advice was so useful that I've managed to get that salon feeling a number of times after investing in a root booster (I use Tresemme Blow Dry Lotion, a great budget option). The makeover is complete.

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