The best hair salons in London
To quote Fleabag: 'hair is everything. We wish it wasn't so that we could think about something else occasionally. But it is.'
Here are the best hair salons in London to indulge pre-Christmas.
Gone are the days when a simple trim-and-dash squeezed into a lunch break felt like a good haircare regime.
Instead, all over London, there are salons that offer the cutting-edge cuts and nourishing treatments we know to expect, but with a plethora of extras that'll have you wedging the front door shut and refusing to leave.
From salons akin to a royal's living room to utterly bespoke cuts, from champagne on tap to a comprehensive top-to-toe menu of add-ons, here is our round-up of simply the best hair salons in London.
Simply put, stepping into Van Clarke's central London salon feels like waltzing into the residence of someone with exquisite taste and the deep pockets to match. After managing John Frieda's flagship in Mayfair, Michael opened his salon in 1988 and enthuses that simply everyone can have longer, stronger, younger-looking hair.
He pioneered the Diamond Dry Cut, a completely bespoke technique that calls for scissors only when your hair is clean and dry, ensuring the result will perfectly fit your face shape and suit your hair type. By working with the natural movement and texture of your hair, these cuts simply fall back into shape, come rain, shine, or whatever the glorious British winter can throw at you.
This is properly transformational haircare and, once sampled, it's simply impossible to go back to a cut-by-numbers do. The salon also offers a plethora of beauty services, including luxury pedicures, massages and microblading with the brilliant Samantha Trace.
Michael Van Clarke, Marylebone – book here
One of the top hairdressers on London, Luke Hersheson’s incredible new stand-alone flagship store has been open for mere moments, and we predict that, before long, it will be the go-to for the city's most gorgeous and glamorous residents.
Of course, it's oozing with the 'cool girl' energy we expect from the brand, but has also thrown the concept of a traditional salon straight out of the window. This is a space to work, relax and, of course, gain access to the most in-demand beauty services in London.
Post-haircut, we'll be dropping into the Farm Girl Cafe for a rose latte and then swiftly signing up for a Sarah Bradden cosmetic acupuncture appointment.
The Bradden Method is a healing service that combines facial acupuncture, reflexology, lymphatic massage, oxygen therapy, microneedling and Traditional Chinese Medicine techniques to sculpt and tighten the skin and soothe and nurture emotional and physical wellbeing.
Hershesons, Belgravia – book here
John Frieda has been the last word in brilliant haircare for some time, but it's cult colourist Nicola Clarke's fronted salon that we've been shouting from the rooftops about.
Nicola, the best colourist in London, has had some of the most famous heads of hair in the world under her care. Dubbed the 'Queen of Blondes', she has been trusted by everyone from Kate Moss to Cate Blanchett and Margot Robbie to breathe life into their blonde manes. But her talent extends beyond the honey-coloured.
She and her handpicked team can add depth to brunettes, shine to red-heads and are always up for the challenge of a life-changing peach or pink do.
In the understated and chic salon, your consultation will cover how to flatter your skin tone, when do you want to be back in the chair, and advice on freshening up your style. Completely tailored, it feels that nothing is unachievable. Here is where hair fantasies become a reality.
Nicola Clarke at John Frieda Colour, Fitzrovia º book here
When stepping into the in-house beauty salon of one of the most lavish department stores in the world, experiencing anything less than bountiful opulence would be frankly disappointing.
Luckily, Harrods' fifth-floor offering ticks every discerning client's box. The legendary store has had a Hairdressing & Manicure department since 1894. Its modernised and elevated salon is serene, offering light relief from the buzz of the shop floor.
Unrivalled in access to some of the world's most exclusive treatments and sought-after products, from their (48-page) treatment menu, opt for the Thermal Cut and Blow-Dry with Josh Rees Hole.
This innovative treatment uses hot thermal scissors to warm the keratin in your hair and seal the freshly snipped ends, adding strength and shine. Follow up with a Dr Dennis Gross Ritual or a Skinceutical Peel. So don't blame us if you stay all day.
Harrods Hair and Beauty Salon, Knightsbridge – book here
Stil meaning 'style' in founder Christel Barron-Hough's native Swedish, is nestled in the heart of Notting Hill and offers precise cuts and impeccable styling, but it's the colour services that have put the salon on the map.
Its philosophy preaches that the perfect shade and cut can be selected only by understanding the customer's image. Informed not only by your complexion and eye colour but also your style and fashion itself, shades are custom-blended at its in-house colour bar before being lovingly applied.
As many team members can be found backstage at LFW or turning their talented hands to an editorial shoot, you'll soon be transformed into a version of yourself that Anna Wintour would be proud of. They heartily believe – as we do – that fashion has no age limit, and hair colour has no boundaries. So, who do you want to be?
Still Salon, Notting Hill – book here
We're not exaggerating when we say that Hari might be the coolest man in London. He's been at the heart of the city's hair scene since 1978 and has four eponymous salons scattered across west London.
He can count Bianca and Mick Jagger among his incredible client list, and it's not uncommon to see a princess or an A-lister slip through the doors for a quick do. When lockdown lifted earlier this year, their phones were ringing off the hook as loyal customers furiously tried to get their hands on a coveted appointment.
And we're not surprised – Hari's offers endless options for blow-dries, up-dos and even a feather bar for those wanting to stand out. So believe us when we say there's something for everyone. Plus, we couldn't not mention the incredible snacks and drinks menu. We heartily recommend booking an appointment around lunchtime.
Hari's Hairdressers, various locations – book here
Not just a salon but a luxury hair, beauty and lifestyle destination, Linnaean is a one-stop shop. We struggle to imagine a treatment that isn't on offer within these walls or a product that can't be picked up in the vast 'Beauty Apothecary'.
From facials and injectables to lymphatic drainage and everything in between, you'll be hard pressed to plump for one treatment over another. We highly recommend their Signature Hair Treatments – a regular blow-dry it is not.
The Linnaean 5 Sense Experience is the perfect hair ritual for those feeling the effects of frantic life in the big city. Be relaxed and restored with this one-of-a-kind treatment – using elements from Tibetan gongs, incense and herbal tea combined with a scalp mask with deeply conditioning creams. Make sure you don't leave without visiting their Insta-worthy, plant-led café and wash down a delicious Buddha bowl with a cocktail or two (we're not judging).
Linnaean, Battersea – book here
Catering specifically for Black hair, this luxury salon was founded by Mimi Koné and named after her 30-year friendship with her best friend, Mina.
The shop's ethos follows suit, offering beauty services that embody all the wonderful qualities surrounding female friendships: fun, loyalty and support.
This relaxed and cosy – yet effortlessly elegant – salon offers blow-dries and colour, weaves and wigs, braids and twists, plus cuts for hair of all textures, and all services offered are delivered with the salon's signature luxury touch. Firm believers that hair is a brilliant way to express individuality,
Mimi's enthuses that changing your hair is a superpower and the ultimate confidence booster. As such, the salon is always willing to go the extra mile for customers.
The online and in-store shop is also a brilliant place to stock up on the best-quality hair extensions and pieces, plus must-have haircare products. This has to be one of the best Black hair salons in London.
Mimi et Mina Hair Couture, Notting Hill – book here
Named Four London after the four founders and their combined 50 years of training, working and travelling together. Stepping into this salon, you can feel the years of experience that have informed every single decision.
Their pride and joy? The in-depth colour diagnostic consultation system. If you're unsure of what to opt for, sit back with a glass of something fizzy while the team patiently talks you through your multitude of options. Better still, the salon can create bespoke products for each client depending on their requirements.
Colour continuity is a priority, and you'll leave with a list of instructions on how best to maintain your fresh head of hair at home, meaning salon visits can be fewer and further between.
There's also a powder room where clients are free to touch up their makeup after a brilliant blow-dry before they inevitably want to hit the town. Friday nights never felt so good.
Four London, Mayfair – book here
A firm fixture on the London hair and beauty scene for over 30 years now, Windle sets the tone for indulgent and luxurious hair salon experiences. From the initial wash in a dark cocoon akin to a high-end spa to the exceptionally sharp cuts and styling treatments.
No wonder Cara Delevingne considers it her go-to salon. Founder Paul started his career at Vidal Sassoon and believes that life should run slower and deeper instead of faster and cheaper.
As a result, he champions small businesses and chooses to work with like-minded people as opposed to large corporations with solely profit in mind. This friendly family mindset ripples through the salon, from the kind and considerate staff to the deeply comfortable chairs and generous drinks menu.
Also, Windle's world-renowned product range is beloved for a good reason. Developed with organic skincare experts, this is haircare that uses skincare technology. Truly innovative.
Windle London, Covent Garden – book here
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