I can still remember an exchange that I overheard in a small shop in a nondescript market town when I was thirteen. First sales assistant 'She's quite' pretty', second sales assistant 'Not really, but I suppose she has nice hair'.
Within a year I had hit puberty and for some reason my hair, long, wavy sun-kissed blonde, shed until it was thin mousey and half the length. After teen years of competitive swimming and a lot of sport, it was even worse, a bit of fluff with no body or shine that would not grow to more than about 4 inches before breaking off. I spent my 20s trying to find the magic cure, visiting Chinese herbalists, Philip Kingsley ( the man himself), spending a fortune on all of the best hairdressers in London from Josh Wood to Sam McKnight and Nicky Clarke. Nothing worked so I just pulled it up into a messy top-knot and tried to forget about it.
In my thirties hair extensions were no longer the Barbie style acrylic lumps preferred by Page 3 girls and porn stars, and I spent thousands on a decade of 'pretend' hair. Recently the time, effort and money all seems a bit wasteful and decided to go back to my roots.
Both in my hair regime and where I am living.
I am still mousey brown, with blonde ends, and I have the added bonus of white/grey that grows visibly around my face after about 3 weeks of having a root touch up. Despairing of ever owning a 'crowning glory' I set out to find a cheap and cheerful local salon who could do my roots at minimal expense.
Wheatley is a tiny Cotswold stone town just outside of Oxford, since it does not have controlled parking, and only a handful of shops, it feels more like a village.
The reviews for the established hairdressing salon were very positive online, so I decided to give it a go. As I was parking I saw a tiny jewel box of a salon with only two chairs and the clean modern country feel that is reminiscent of Daylesford, Brissi and Farrow and Ball. This definitely wasn't my original destination, but I went in to find out more. The salon had just been set up by a young duo who had both trained with Aveda. The good reviews of the other salon that I had read online were actually about one of the partners of Identity, so it looked like I had struck gold with this little treasure.
Hannah undertook my appointment, and was so warm and friendly that I told her all about my hair saga, almost from the very beginning. She told me to start eating a protein rich breakfast, as hair is protein and as a non-essential body part, is the last to benefit from protein intake. I do a lot of sport which compounds the problem and as a semi vegetarian, I am aware that I don't eat enough protein so it all made perfect sense. She also told me to try Viviscal, a new shellfish based supplement that she has seen work wonders for some of her clients. Finally we discussed the best regime for my fine lifeless hair. Since I need to colour every four weeks, she suggested a monthly semi-permanent tint for the roots, with sporadic foil highlights (every four months or so) so that they colour does not become too much of a 'block'. The semi-permanent colour lasts the whole month, but is less aggressive than a permanent hair dye and a few highlights make any grey growth less visible, but are not as damaging as regular foils.
Hannah and Katie are both so positive and full of energy, they regularly work on fashion shows and photoshoots and of course are running their own business. It is rare to meet people who genuinely love what they do. Their energy and enthusiasm is contagious and I left their salon determined to do all that had been suggested.
Three months down the line and my hair is the best it has ever been. It has grown! It is all one length rather than the raggedy and I have thickness around my face that feels (almost) heavy.
If you would like to try Indentity for yourself, Luxelocal is offering its members a £50 voucher for only £30.