The minute I walked into The Chapel I was aware this salon was different, it was not your typical hairdressers for sure.
I attended the Islington salon close to Angel tube station. The first thing I noted was the central location and discreet exterior. At first you cannot tell it is a hair salon. In fact, is has been converted from an old Victorian pub in 2007. Like the other branches the look and feel is quirky and not like any salon I have been before. The entrance was a reception area, screened off from the public gaze but with lots of natural light.
I was lead through to a seating area where I was served a drink and speciality chocolate delight of the day, yummy! I could not see the hairdressing stations from the sofas but it was far enough from the entrance and the action to be relaxing and calm.
The idea behind the salon ethos comes from owner Amanda Dicker who established The Chapel in 2001. The first branch was named after the establishment in which is was built, an old Baptist chapel in Tunbridge Wells. The second salon was the converted pub in Islington and the third an old school house in Sevenoaks. None of the salons look the same, but all are influenced by the original space, mood, and an absolute focus on service.
Each salon abides by the R-E-S-T-ing experience. Relaxation, Education, Service and Tailored treatments, or REST.
First off, I was very relaxed, the sofas are brilliant and because there was more then one, the stylist and client can sit on each sofa and chat privately and in a relaxed fashion. Luke Gilbert my colour expert (see Luke's Instagram here) was assigned to my special hair case, to rid the rainbow of colours in my locks.
Luke, who has worked at The Chapel for over 6 years, not only made me feel welcome he also educated me! Amanda taught her team to conduct ‘conversations not consultations’. The idea being you work with your stylist to devise the best plan for your hair. Luke asked about my hair history; if I had been attending the same colourist or dabbling myself, what I was trying to achieve and most important my lifestyle and budget! After all I don’t really have the time or money for high maintenance hair so choosing a colour that would work with my skin tone was not the only requirement.
I felt totally confident and safe in Luke’s hands and he booked me in for my actual appointment in a couple of weeks’ time.
I could not wait to go back. In the meantime, I got a thank you message for attending, a follow up reminder and a welcome message. I even got personal call from Luke to update me on the strand test so I didn’t have any nasty surprises when I arrived.
We allowed 4 hours for my appointment but kindly Luke kept some space free later for me just in case I needed it. You don’t know what you might uncover. I liked this approach, I was Luke’s sole focus and he dedicated his time to my hair.
On my second visit I had a chance to relax on the sofas again. After catching my breathe and relaxing with a cup of tea I moved into the main styling area. At ground level there is the cutting room, where the stylists can cut, blow-dry and style the hair. The giant mirrors act as dividers between hair stations making it very private but keeping the light. The mirrors are cleverly positioned so you can see all angles of your hair.
Lower ground level is the colouring area. I particularly like this as it was well away from snoopy shoppers looking in on you.
The colour area where the products are mixed is on a bar in clear view, so your stylist does not sneak away to make a pot full of crazy colour and then appear from no-where. I like that I could see what they were doing, its going on my head after all.
I asked 101 questions and Luke patiently answered all of them. Originally from Australia he was charming, easy to speak to and so knowledgeable about colouring. He really educated me about choosing a colour that lasted, was kind to my hair and was the least maintenance. He also stayed with me through the whole colour experience and blow dry so I didn’t have numerous people doing my hair.
I started with a colour corrector to lift out the dark ends of my hair. This was closely watched and then removed when ready. It was followed by a conditioning treatment and then roughly dried before the gentle colour was applied.
The salon uses a range of brands but my hair was coloured with Redken. The colour chosen was a beautiful warm and chocolatey brown that looks totally natural and shiny. In fact, my hair felt cleaner, fresher and more cleansed then when I arrived. The colour build up I had on my hair had been removed and instead I had a 3 dimensional, luscious hair colour that really had depth and made you want to touch the hair.
While the colour took to my hair I enjoyed half an hour with a tea and chocolate bar on the comfy sofa area downstairs complete with magazines and books before rinsing off and setting off upstairs for the blow-dry and style.
Luke pulled his hair tools from a magic tool box! This idea was born when owner Amanda suggested stylists keep their tools in metal boxes that they take to their hair stations. Much like a model and her stylist working a catwalk show. I certainly felt special!
Luke styled by hair into large soft curls and for the first time in ages I walked out of the salon 100% happy with the style and look of my hair. I couldn’t not wait to show it off!
Luke gave me tailored advice for my hair, stayed with me the whole process (wash, colour, blow dry and check out) and I really enjoyed his company. If you want some tips for free then the Expert Advice section of the website is a must, take a look https://www.thechapel.co.uk/expert-advice.
I highly recommend booking in. Just a ‘hair conversation’ alone is sure to show you the wonderful qualities of this place and its staff. My sister is already looking to book and the compliments on my hair have been thick and fast. Check out the Islington branch I attended here
https://www.thechapel.co.uk/islington-hairdressers. Remember they have salons in Tunbridge Wells and Sevenoaks as well!