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Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Beauty: free hair cuts

I love a good deal.

I am so not fussed about my hair. I have incredibly thick hair which, once cut, no one ever seems to notice, even if four inches have been cut off. This means that I don't spend very much on my hair cuts, nor do I get it cut very frequently. Sometimes, it's just a biannual occurrence. I'm also not fussed about always having the same hairdresser - I'll happily go to anyone! I always figure that even if I get a bad cut, my 'Harry Potter' hair will return to normal in no time.

The only hair disaster I can remember was last year before I attended a wedding. I asked for a fringe trim. They a) cut it straight (I have a side fringe) and b) cut 2 inches from the length. It's the only thing that can properly upset me re my hair!

awful fringe - far too short!
Anyhow, fringes aside, I was more than happy to go to Hob salon and get my hair cut for free in their training academy. There really aren't any catches: the lady who cut my hair was fully qualified (she was doing a last couple of practise cuts before she was let loose in the salon.) Also, the hairdressers are fully supervised by expert teachers who don't let them make a single snip until they've confirmed what they're planning to do every step of the way. The only 'catch' is that don't expect to be in and out within an hour - my cut took 3 hours. They also do colour for £15. Vidal Sassoon's training academy runs a similar scheme, but they charge £12 for a cut. I had my hair cut here a few months ago and was very pleased with the cut too. Although, to be honest I preferred Hob as they really gave me a personal experience.

hair - before
I was so pleased with my cut - it's the best cut I've ever had. My consultation was amazing. They spent at least 10 minutes examining every last bit of my hair to ensure that I got the best cut. Their discoveries/recommendations were:

a) I have a tricky, flat crown. This means that if I'm not careful - I get a 'bald' patch when I tie my hair up - something which I am acutely aware of. They combatted this by shifting my parting so it started off as a side parting and then tapered to the middle of the back of my head.
b) My hair is very thick - they decided to keep it long and narrow to stop it looking too heavy
c) I have a high hair line - a fringe is therefore essential
d) I have high cheek bones - framing around this part of my face is therefore important to show them off.
e) My hair is very low maintenance - I don't brush or blow dry it.

hair - after
They really got to grips with my hair and it certainly wasn't just another cut. They tried pinning my hair at different lengths to make sure that the long length I currently had was the best option.

After my hair wash, the cut began. The expert teacher would pop over every 10 minutes or so to make sure the cut was going according to plan. This also dispelled any nerves I might have had.

In terms of a blow dry, I was asked what I'd like by the hairdresser. The teacher then came over and said 'hold on, how do you know she even wants one?'. He said 'I look at what she's wearing(!), and what she's told me about her hair care previously, and I don't think it's really her thing.' I then admitted that I usually wash my hair as soon as I get home because I hate how heavy it feels with all the hair products and I'm also keen to see what it will look like in my every day life. He laughed and said 'Right, let's just diffuse it dry and leave it to settle naturally.'

In the end, I received a hair cut that was totally 'me'. I was so pleased.

back of hair - after
Since I was in Camden, Martin met me there after work and we popped to Chin Chin Labs. Chin Chin Labs possibly serves the best ice cream in London.

They use liquid nitrogen to make the ice cream from scratch and it serves to freeze the ice cream instantaneously resulting in the smoothest possible ice cream. The science behind it, is that the shorter the time the ice cream takes to freeze, the smaller the ice crystals and the smoother the end ice cream will be.

For £3.95 you get your chosen flavour with one topping/sauce.

I chose peanut butter popcorn flavoured ice cream topped with fresh raspberry coulis.

Martin chose valrhona chocolate ice cream with raspberry coulis also.

On the way back to the tube, we popped into Holland Barratt and bought some nut butters:

Where do you get your hair cut? Are you particular about using the same hair dressers again and again? What's your favourite flavour of ice cream?

PS I needed an eye test which I didn't want to pay for! So I used this voucher at Optical Express (valid until June 30th). Apparently my astigmatism is worse but my eye sight is slightly better -5.50 (I'm still practically blind!)


  1. The hair cut looks fab! I should have definitely gone to one of the free hair cut places instead of recently getting fed up and deciding to do it by myself ;) In London, I've had one free hair cut at the Toni & Guy academy by Tottenham Court Road (they just grabbed me at a bus stop), but they do like to err towards 'trendy' so it can be risky (thankfully it worked out fine), but have also gone to Alan D's near Goodge Street area which sounds similar to your experience, and the students were great. I'm going to look at Hob :) !

    Am definitely going to try chin chin labs too, it sounds like it has to be done!

    1. Thanks! Yeah, it's always a bit risky as they often want hair models for 'creative' cuts as opposed to classic cuts. However, I always reckon if I don't like the sound of what they're going to do to my hair that I can always run out of the shop unscathed! Do try Chin Chin Labs. If you love chocolate, their Valhrona flavour is spectacular.