There’s nothing I like more than exploring London and its surrounding areas and Putney is one of those places that definitely merits a visit. For one thing, it’s THE place to go for one of the hottest new brunches – the mouthwatering Pulled Pork Benedict at Tried and True on Upper Richmond Road…If this doesn’t give you serious food envy, I don’t know what will! Putney is also home to one of my favourite London hair salons, the inimitable Edward James and his famous British Blow-dry.
The scrambled eggs with sevenseeded toast and chorizo at Tried and True were pretty good but the pulled pork benedict was definitely the star of the show.
After brunch I headed to Edward James, conveniently located on the high street in very stylish surroundings.
It’s more than just a hair salon though as there’s a lovely Aveda spa downstairs for total relaxation.
Up in the salon itself, you’ll experience pampering on a grand scale. Firstly, you’ll be asked what you would like to drink – whether water, sparkling wine or a cup of tea with biscuits. Then you’ll be given a relaxing massage using Aveda’s organic essential oils. I went in to the salon with a horrid cold but the neck, shoulder and arm massages made me feel almost human again!
Next I met Edward, who is the owner of the Putney and Clapham salons, a highly talented hairdresser but also a lovely, warm person. He was previously the General Manager for Nicky Clarke, then style director at Gina Conway and has worked with Aveda for 8 years. Edward asked me a few questions about what I was looking to achieve with my hair style and colour as well as how I normally style it. I really got the impression that he adapts his styles to each individual and I’m not surprised by his popularity with celebrities. In fact just after my visit he was due to style the locks of some of the BAFTA attendees. Then one of his colleagues led me through to the hair washing section of the salon. I was pleasantly surprised to see that they have reclining hair washing beds like the ones I’d experienced in Bali – with one additional surprise, they incorporate an electronic massage system that gently but firmly massages you whilst your hair is being washed! After this, my hair colour was applied – I’d opted for the Lunch Lights treatment for time-poor women who need a colour lift in under an hour. Using new colour blending techniques, it works on the natural root colour and will lighten up to 2 shades.
I was also lucky to experience the British Blow-dry, a patented procedure created by Edward and guaranteed to give your hair a shiny, smooth appearance. I must admit to being a little apprehensive about the British blow dry beforehand. A few years ago, Brazilian blow drys were popular until it was found that some were using formaldehyde. However, the British blow dry uses no formaldehyde and is perfectly safe. It also has the advantage of leaving more volume in your hair and being much gentler. Edward applied a smoothing keratin protein with a paint brush, to strengthen and smooth the hair. He then gave my hair a cut, framing my face with soft, flattering layers. My hair was looking fabulous by the time he had finished – soft, manageable and shiny with a lovely reddish gold colour. But would the British blow dry stand up to the challenges of everyday life once I left the salon?
Challenge number 1 was the pouring rain as I left the salon. Normally, my hair would frizz instantly at so much as a hint of moisture in the air but this time it held its own. My next challenge was to see whether I could achieve a salon-worthy look at home. With no blow drying skills of my own, and a limited amount of time in which to blow dry it, I was pleasantly surprised to achieve a sleek look in a very short space of time. The Aveda Smooth Infusion Masque certainly helped to get the effect.
My final hair trial came on holiday in Switzerland recently with no access to my usual hair products or styling equipment. Actually that could be a blessing as Edward told me that my usual rotating electric hair brush can be quite drying. For the first time ever, I had smooth hair throughout my trip with the added bonus of needing less conditioner than usual. I was really impressed with my blow dry, lunch lights, cut and most importantly the whole experience. Lunch lights cost £30 whilst the British blow dry starts at £90 depending on the level of stylist – well worth it for up to 3 months of better looking hair!
Have you ever tried the Brazilian or British blow dry?
Edward James London, 77 Putney High Street, London SW15 1SR and 18 Northcote Road, London SW11 1NX