Quite Literally. Kate Middleton and I technically have the same hairdresser. Well… I say “technically” maybe I should elaborate on what essentially is a truthful white lie. Whilst Kate Middleton may not have had her actual hair done at the Jo Hansford salon, rumors do have it that the in-salon manicurist was responsible for her nails pre-Royal Wedding. Whilst admittedly this isn’t quite the same as sharing a hairstylist, Jo Hansford is also the woman and expert behind the tresses of celebrities such as Liz Hurley and Camilla Parker Bowles (I know she’s a late comer but she counts as royalty right?). The Jo Hansford salon is a bit different in that the staff are trained up to be a specialist in either colour or cut which sounds all very wise to me. Therefore you can only imagine my glee when I was offered the chance to review the salon as well as a colourist and stylist.
All booked in and counting down the weeks until I could rid myself of what was rapidly turning into two-tone hair, my appointment luckily quickly came around. One rainy Thursday afternoon I found myself on the corner of Grovesnor Square outside a large Georgian townhouse with wrought iron fences and manicured flowerbeds lining the glossy windows whilst grey tarpaulin sheltered me from the rain. The Jo Hansford salon literally shon out like a beacon of hope promising me and my dull and tired hair comfort and warmth from a miserable, London afternoon.
I wasn’t wrong to assume that the Jo Hansford Salon would be my sanctuary, on entry I was greeted with shining marble floors, fresh bouquets of expensive flowers, copies of Vogue strewn across glass tables and a smiling receptionist greeting me like I was completely expected, despite the fact that the large two story salon was full to the brim of Mayfair ladies. I was then whisked to the “cloakroom” where my “cloaks” were hung up to dry. Whisked off again, I was sat down and presented with a lunch and drink menu (huh? That’s right I can lunch whilst I have my hair done?) and immediately offered a coffee. Still not having to wait even a second to be tended to, I was introduced to my colourist, Ashley, who like the receptionist greeted me with her most genuine smile.
During my consultation with Ashley (who by the way is the friendliest, chattiest in the non “where do you holiday?” hairdresser I’ve ever met) she sought out the advice of none other than Jo Hansford herself. Enthralled to meet the woman behind Liz Hurley’s gloss, I was slightly taken aback when she grabbed a fistful of my hair and shamed me with her honest and fair words, exclaiming “what is this? What have you put in your hair? It’s dead… you need seven inches off but that will make you cry won’t it? Why do you have a block colour of blonde on the ends? It doesn’t even suit you”.
This was the kind of harsh directness I had been longing for. Years of colouring, Bastiste, back-combing, straightening, curling and hair-spraying had left my locks in a complete mess with a colour as Jo so quite rightly put just did not suit me one bit. Dark, dingy roots and over-processed block of blonde and broken ends needed to be banished and cut. Ashley, with the welcomed matriarchal advice of Jo who treats all her staff with the devotion and care of a mother hen, suggested the full head of highlights that I am used to as well as pulling a much softer and darker blonde all the way through to neutralise the block colour. It sounded like the perfect compromise and restoration to Blonde Glory.
Whilst Ashley mixed up various colours I was introduced to my stylist, Roxy who was equally as friendly and pacified me that she would cut off two rather than seven inches and make my hair as healthy as possible. Once Ashley got going with the colour she talked me through the process which was different to any other I had come across. Ashley explained that at Jo Hansford all the girls (who are so well trained that they have all loyally worked for Jo for a minimum of three years) are taught to build colour up like bricks, working towards your natural parting. Each strand of hair was perfectly painted whilst the foils were folded into a more triangle than square like shape and then wrapped tight with another strip of foil to stop the colour from bleeding. As you can see below, the foils are firmly held in and sticking out at all angles making me resemble the cookie monster.
Once every foil was painstakingly applied (which took a good two hours) I was left for 20 minutes under the rorating halo dryer so the colour could process. When finally cooked I was taken to have the colour washed out and offered the most sensual and luxurious head massage which left me half-asleep in the chair.
Once awoken and all towel dried, Roxy came over to start styling and cutting my hair and like a child on Christmas Day I couldn’t wait to see the final colour. As soon as she started drying I could see the full effects of Ashley’s handiwork… a full head of golden joy. All the block, brass colour that had built up overtime and had been completely toned down to a gorgeous, even, Sienna Miller style blonde whilst the crown was light, bright and sun-kissed. I could also see the full effects of the Jo Hansford technique, a perfectly highlighted hairline, each individual, highlight accurately placed giving the appearance that this really could be my own, natural colour. Without out a doubt it was the nicest I had ever seen my hair and I could barely stop myself from squealing with glee.
As soon as Roxy got cutting, I could see that Jo was (unsurprisingly) correct. I needed a good amount taken off to put the thickness and health back into my locks. Roxy tidied up each individual end, taking slightly more off at the front where the hair shaft had been damaged. Roxy also recommended that to maintain the quality and minimise the damage already caused I should have my ends trimmed every three weeks for the next few months.
The girls at Jo Hansford are masters of beauty. The change even a week on is still so visible, my hair falls perfectly after even a rough blow dry whilst the colour looks as fresh as the day I left the salon. A full a head of highlights starts from £205 which I admit is pricey but quite frankly when the overall finish is this perfect the price seems justified. Jo clearly cares, on leaving the salon the girls informed me that Jo was keen to get me back in to make sure I maintained the colour and health, fearing that I could get back to what I had before. Come on Jo… not a chance! Not only am I absolutely thrilled with the colour and cut I was pleasantly surprised to find that an up-market salon in the heart of Mayfair is so welcoming and friendly rather than stuffy and exclusive. The overall experience in itself gets a 10/10 and regardless of price I wouldn’t hesitate to make Jo Hansford my local salon.