Aveda Institute Lifestyle Salon & Spa

I’ve been dying my hair for more than a decade now, and have tried most of what’s out there: I started with L’Oréal Color Pulse when I was 15 or so, then moved on to highlights at the hairdresser’s then a full tint, then bright red tips, then purple and dark red, then back to brown, then cheap sets to do at home because you need to have a disposable income if you want to sustain colouring.


I had quite happily settled on Garnier’s Olia, which has no ammonia, smells nice and does lovely colours (Chocolate Brownie and Mahogany were my favourites), but my hair was starting to get dry and no amount of conditioner could get it right. I was discussing dying it again with my flatmate when she told me a friend of hers had gone to Aveda while she was in London. I remembered the friend (and the gorgeous colour she had) and thought why not spend the hard-earned money on my hair?


So I emailed them (you’ll soon be able to book online the website says) and offered two suitable dates an times. They got back to me the next day and I went in two days prior to my appointment to do an allergy test. The salon is about equal distance from Tottenham Court Road and Covent Garden tube stations. It’s almost exactly opposite the Shaftesbury Theatre and looks like a massive loft or and old engine room.


There’s a café, a styling bar, spa rooms and plenty of seats for people to be cut, dyed and blow-dried. I asked for a technician and was given an appointment with Finn, who’s from Australia and very nice. We discussed what I wanted, what she thought would suit me and eventually agreed on a natural brown with auburn in it.

She mixed it, brought some magazines and started applying the colour to my roots and about two inches further. Since I still had colour in it, she applied relatively little. She explained that she’d add a “gloss” to the rest of my hair in about 10min to even it out. Someone came about 15min later and took me to the sink section. I was sat down and then my feet went up. Someone applied the gloss and then left. While I was waiting (it’s not uncomfortable with your head stuck in the sink, but not comfortable either), they asked if I wanted a complimentary hand massage.


I read beforehand that none of the drinks they offer are complimentary, so I dragged my water bottle with me the whole time. But the hand massage was incredibly good and very relaxing. They started washing my hair while she was at it, so I ended up with a double massage as they’re also working on your head. The washing and conditioning lasted for about 15min, then I was taken to have my hair dried.

The girl was lovely, asked if I wanted it straight, wavy or natural. I said natural, straight-ish and she used some volumising lotion as well as anti-frizz. She dried the hair using a flat paddle brush and it looked as if I’d had it cut. It was so shiny, silky and smooth that I kept touching it all night long! Finn came back to explain that I shouldn’t wash my hair for 48 hours, that when I did, I should use a lower setting and that I should come back in 8 weeks for a retouch.


Yesterday I checked online “how do hairdresser’s get your hair so shiny and soft” and several people online recommended using anti-frizz serum as well as oil if you have a tendency for dry hair. They also explained that it’s best if you blow dry your hair from the top down. So no head upside down, blast heat like there’s no tomorrow (which is what I used to do). So I went into town and got a frizz-ease serum as well as some dry oil.

I washed today, applied the oil to damp hair, blow dried properly and put in some frizz-ease later. The hair feels less soft than on Friday, but it’s not as dry as before. I’ll stick to that!


Pictures from:,,,,

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