Before I tell you about the salon, let me tell you about my hair. It's seriously curly. Not just 'a bit of a wave and a kink' curly, but I'm just short of being afro curly. Type 3b it's classified as, don't you know! Check out this website for definitions and pictures if you're interested.
NB: For an update on my hair now, 8 months or so on from this review, please see my latest post here!
Not only is it curly, but it's long (waist length) and thick (enough for 3 heads, as one hairdresser put it), and for the last 5 months or so it's been so dry that water wouldn't even wet it, if that makes sense. The curls had lost all their definition and I was left with a mane better suited to scrubbing floors. It was a sorry state of affairs. I tried everything. Hair oils (I got through bucket-loads), curl creams, intensive masks, Brazilian Keratin shampoo..... but my hair just got worse. I really believed that hair oils were the miracle thing at the moment, like a cure-all for all types of hair. Instead, my hair just became more and more frazzled.
In desperation, I google-whacked 'hairdresser curly hair London) and the same place kept cropping up (pardon the pun), 3Thirty salon in Old Street. I bit the bullet and called them, just short of sobbing down the phone about how I couldn't handle my hair anymore. The girl at the end of the phone was lovely, and told me to come in for a free consultation that same day.
I was seen by a lovely girl called Tiff who reassured me that nothing drastic needed doing, no scary Brazilian straightening or chemical relaxants, all I needed was a good cut and a moisturising treatment, and some good aftercare products. Turns out I was doing ALL THE WRONG THINGS:
- Hair oils - A no no for hair like mine. They sit on the surface of the hair and in this weather especially they've been frazzling it. Plus most of them are full of silicones which coat the hair and make it dull and dry in the long run.
- Shampoo - I've been doing it far too often and using shampoos which were way too harsh and full of sulfates. I should shampoo my hair as little as possible apparently.
- My beloved Tangle Teezer - Alas, the miracle brush which was the only thing I could use to detangle my hair in the shower has potentially been making my situation a lot worse. I thought it was normal that enormous amounts of hair come out with it.... turns out that I've been ripping my hair to shreds :(((( Instead I'm to use a paddle brush AFTER I've washed and conditioned my hair.
- Products. Let's just say that they've all been much of a muchness. Those I've re-purchased have been out of habit and not based on outstanding performance. I have now been told what to use. And they are far fewer (and cheaper in some cases) than what I was previously using.
Ok, so onto the salon. It's a cute small to medium sized salon on 330 Old Sreet, hence the name. The interior is very chic, but not intimating. Beautiful gold French-style mirrors and lovely black detailing throughout.
Tiff washed my hair and gave me the most incredible scalp massage during my treatment which all but put me to sleep. I think she used a protein & moisture mix. Never has a treatment worked such wonders on my hair. It was left on for about 15 minutes, no lights, no hot dryers, just wrapped in cling and a towel. When it was rinsed out my hair was oh-so soft, and, get this, TAME. Tiff brushed it through with a paddle brush and there were hardly any tangles and, most shockingly, hardly any of my hair came out. It made me realise once and for all how I was butchering my poor head with my Tangle Teezer! She recommended that I get a paddle brush and and just brush my hair through gently after washing it. The one she used was by Mizani but unfortunately I can't seem to find one online anywhere....
Next came the cut. Tiff wanted to put some soft layers into my hair and assuaged my fears about looking like an 80's throwback. She listened to me, kept the length that I wanted and the finished result was not that different to how I usually like my hair, but with the difference that it now had more shape and held it's style rather than falling about my face like a sad triangle!
She wet my hair again before smoothing liberal amounts of Moroccanoil Curl Defining cream through my hair in sections and gently taking the edge of the wetness with a diffuser. With hair like mine it's best to let it air-dry, so she only dried it about 30% so that it could dry naturally on it's own.
I was in seventh heaven when I saw my hair restored to it's former glory. In fact, although I say former glory, I don't think it's every looked so good naturally. I wanted to hug Tiff and I almost cried I was so happy.
As well as keeping it loose, Tiff showed me how I could wear my hair up in various styles and I made a mental note to pick up some snag-free hair bands and bobbie pins from Boots so that I could experiment at home.
All in all I loved my experience at 3Thirty. I wouldn't hesitate to recommend Tiff to anyone whose curls are in need of TLC.
Price wise it's not as cheap as chips, but it's not over the top either. I felt that for the first time it was money very well spent at a salon. I printed off a voucher from their website which entitles you to 25% off a cut and blow-dry on a Wednesday so I put that to good use. All prices are on the website.
I'll be posting a hair update in a few weeks time about the products that Tiff recommended I use on my barnet. I ordered them all from Feelunique.com:
Mizani True Textures Cleansing Cream
Mizani Moisturefusion Silk Cream Conditioner
Mizani True Textures Curl Balance Sulfate-free Shampoo
Moroccanoil Curl Defining Cream
Have you found your holy-grail hairdresser?
It's taken me half my lifetime, but it was worth the wait :)