Gina Conway – Blissed out hair heaven

by Katie on April 20, 2010

Yesterday, I headed south down the Fulham Road (not my usual stomping ground) towards the Putney end and to the Gina Conway Aveda concept salon (Tel. 0207 731 7633). Bemoaning my ensuing greying roots and lengthening hair, the lovely people at Gina Conway offered to show off their skills, their salon and their ability to do ‘red’. ie They made me an offer I couldn’t refuse. No need for bloody horses heads in beds, I jumped at the chance. 

This could be the biggest pick me up I’ve had in a long time. No point having great new Issa and vintage dresses if your hair is a fright mess. And, knowing that the quickest way to a feel good factor is a fresh cut and colour, I looked forward to it all weekend.

I did have a few hiccups on the way there, though. At stupid o’clock on the Thursday previous, following a bad day, I arrived (at a completely different and much more down market salon) and proceeded to tell them I had been booked in for a ‘patch test’ pre colour appt. (ie this is when they dab a small amount of chemical onto your skin behind the ear to see if you’ll react – like a pre hair colour, lab mouse). I must have been a trite scary and authoritarian as they proceeded to sit me down and actually do the test while looking up the (non existent) appointment in their system. I sat in the salon a bit dismayed as it wasn’t quite what I expected – booming trance music, grimy unkempt salon assistants and unswept hair on the floor. I called the PR girl who told me in the pleasantest way possible that I was in the wrong salon. She must have been thinking, ‘what a complete dufus!’. I certainly was. Salvaging my pride and embarrassment, I skulked off to the correct salon. A mystic mirage. This light and airy salon was blissed out hair heaven itself. Cool efficient assistants in black, chilled Bestival type music and squillions of lovely Aveda products and treatments. Much more me.

The Gina Conway salons (Fulham Road, Westbourne Grove and Wimbledon) epitomise West London living: Light and easy, non threatening, hinting of luxury while being eco conscious and mostly well balanced in life and soul. They appeal to young mums, single women of the type to do yoga and pilates, work on a magazine title, drink green tea and buy shopping at ‘Whole Foods’. (NB. I’ve heard on the Notting Hill grapevine that Elle Macpherson is a client of Gina Conway, Westbourne Grove) I’m none of the latter but the chilled out comfortable vibe will make me re-consider my hair salon of choice.

My lovely colourist and stylist, Felicity, greeted me and then, after a brief consultation, left me in the hands of Claire who presented me with 3 oils which I sniffed and chose the one I favoured. I choose Beautifying Lavender. The magic fingered Claire then gave me a blissful stress relieving head, shoulders and upper back massage pre treatment. I could get used to that. Following this and suitably relaxed by then, the swift and calm Felicity tinted my full head of hair with a double red colour treatment which was 97% plant derived in Aveda’s natural way. I was left to flick through up to date magazines while listening to the salon’s soundtrack – Massive Attack’s ‘Blue lines’. It made me want to dig this out of my CD collection and made me think of multitudes of fashion shoots I’d been on where this was the album du jour of various photographers.

While waiting (the tint takes around half an hour), I was then treated to a hands and arms massage by Carly using the double-entendre Aveda hand therapy cream, ‘Hand Relief.’ Carly works in the Gina Conway beauty rooms, a little hidden oasis of further calm downstairs from the hair salon. At Gina’s Wimbledon salon, there’s a large hair salon, a copious and bright beauty salon and even a Yoga studio where the classes are small for intense almost one-on one tutoring. There’s also a ‘chill out’ room so clients can relax in between cuts and colour.

There’s something incredibly consoling about putting yourself in someone else’s hands for care and attention. The effect is calming enough without massages and treatments which further aids the slip into de-stress and contentment. Then, there is nothing quite like the feeling of seeing your hair and your self being transformed in front of your very eyes. Felicity adeptly gave me an all over trim while taking over 2 inches of dead locks from me. This immediately made me feel lighter and brighter and the colour was radiant and lifted my mood.

What I came away with is a feeling of being treated by professionals. These are attention to detail, caring staff who know their stuff. They respect their clients and the product they sell and are enthusiastic without being over-bearing. Over all the feeling is welcoming and balancing and we can all do with more of that.

Speaking to Felicity, she said she loved working at Gina Conway as it allowed her to be inspired and creative in her role while enjoying working for an Eco conscious business and an inspiring role model. I can understand that. I now understand the appeal of Gina Conway salons.

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

meredith April 21, 2010 at 7:57 am

looks lovely!


RedlegsinSoho April 21, 2010 at 7:15 pm

Looking forward to seeing those fabulous tresses! x


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