I dashed out of Angel tube station and wanted down the beautiful Islington High Street, taking in the quaint boutiques and bookshops before my hair appointment with Tom, my stylist for the day at the very posh, totally gorgeous Chapel. I first met Tom a week beforehand, when he helped me decide what to do with my lacklustre locks in time for spring. I wanted grey after a few readers had emailed in asking me to sacrifice my locks before they took the plunge. But after a chat with Tom, grey had changed to gold, and we decided on a very expensive-looking ‘do, perfect for warmer weather head.
The Chapel is a salon like no other. Instead of paying for your treatment (which can easily rack up with additional payable extras, like sleek keratin solutions and blow dries) you pay for your very experienced stylist’s time. Each has a wealth of experience – there are no juniors or apprentices here. Choose your stylist and they’ll see you through from consultation to hair wash and the final blow dry at the end. If you run over your allotted time, no big deal, there’s no charge. Run under, even by fifteen minutes, and you’ll get that time shaved off your bill.
Which means that you can have anything you want within that time. Want a quick trim? Why not. Fancy a treatment? Go for it. It means your stylist can give their best without worrying about the purse strings. If they think you could do with another toner, it won’t cost anything more. I loved the concept, and felt like I was in the most capable of hands.
Met by friendly and helpful staff on arrival, who hung up my coat and popped my bag in its own secure locker, I was promptly sat in the little waiting area. All exposed brick and smelling gorgeous, I was offered a freshly-ground from the salon’s bar area (yep!) and a delicious flapjack before meeting Tom and following him to our styling station. As we’d had a chat beforehand, everything was ready for my arrival. I settled in with another coffee and a Kit Kat, and started researching a few bits for my upcoming bioscience exam. Hey, a nursing student’s job is never done.
Tom’s experience shone through, and after an hour all my foils were finished, and I sat there enjoying the solace while my hair was being bleached into its golden tones. After my time was up, we strolled downstairs to the super-relaxing basement. Currently being refurbished, the area will soon be a colouring den, with a chilled and relaxed vibe. Adding a toner to my colour, Tom washed away the bleach and treated me to a head massage, the best part of any trip to the hair salon on my opinion. Auntomatic reclining hair washing stations are super comfy, and I admit I dozed off to a peaceful snooze while waiting for the toner to take effect.
Tom then led me back upstairs for the final flourish, a quick trim – I wanted to keep my length – and a blow-dry. Using an assortment of products and a technique only someone with a decade of experience brings, my hair looked amazing. Positively K-Mid, with its bounces and curls. My colour was a lot more subtle that I originally anticipated, but the precise layering and Tom’s faultless application meant it looked every bit expensive as he planned. This wasn’t any hair appointment, this was total and utter luxury fro the get-go.
At this stage, I’d usually be passed off to three different people, one to wash one to dye, one to cut and one to try. Instead, Tom saw me through the entire session. After all, who better to restyle than someone who has seen your hair from start to finish? My hair was given a much-needed boost and was transformed from my previous at-home experimentation to a look fit for a new royal.
The Chapel is all about the client. No, not client. Guest. We’re referred to as guests at all times. And that’s exactly how I felt. I didn’t feel like an inconvenience, with hairdressers gossiping over the roar of hairdryers. I felt like I was being given the A-List treatment as much as the next person. Everything is tailored to you and as long as it fits within your time it can be done.
Weekend spaces are at a premium as you can imagine and are booked well in advance, with some folk getting their slots in all the way up to Christmas. For those who love a bit of TLC, and want all the experience their hair deserves, The Chapel is a real answer to your prayers. Tom and I have already discussed our next session and I can’t wait to see what will happen the next visit.
The Chapel | 394-396 St John Street, London EC1V 4NJ | 0207 5200 460 | Tom’s profile