I rarely review hair salons for You & Your Wedding. The main reason for this is because it feels like I’m cheating on my regular hairdresser. I’ve been going to her for years now, and I feel like she knows my hair. She knows it so well, in fact, that when I do occasionally try out someone else, the next time I see her, she can tell immediately. And then I start stuttering out excuses, insisting it was a mistake, that she’s the only one for me. It’s just too stressful.
The other reason is that she does an excellent job of caring for my unruly mane. My hair is thin, but there’s a lot of it. It has a tendency to dryness, it’s distinctly wavy when left natural, and in the rain, it doubles in size. Other hairdressers do not seem to understand this, introducing multiple layers (therefore meaning it then trebles in size in the rain) or cutting it into a collar-skimming bob (impossible for me to style when I’m in a rush).
But I rather liked the look of GA. My hair was definitely in need of a cut – I hadn’t had so much as a trim since the long-bob disaster. My cheating heart forced me to take the plunge.
My first impression was that this was a chic but very friendly salon. I won’t name names, but when I’ve walked into some leading London salons, the greeting has been of a chilliness not seen since the Ice Age. Not so at GA Salon in Notting Hill, where I was welcomed warmly. As I was led through the invitingly styled space, I noticed that all the other customers were chatting happily to their stylists. A good sign – and an even better sign was that all of these customers had staggeringly beautiful hair.
Owner Gennaro Dell’Aquila listened carefully to everything I said about my hair. That, as I’m sure many other women know, can be surprisingly rare. My three main points were: I didn’t want to lose too much length; I definitely didn’t want lots of layers; and I wanted a style that worked for me when I wore my hair both straight and natural. He examined my hair carefully, then, with the precision of a surgeon, got to work. If you’re after a quick in-and-out treatment, this is not the place for you. Gennaro considered every cut, pausing to inspect his work every so often, tweaking the style, until it was perfect. And I mean perfect – a truly bespoke style that took into account both everything I’d asked for and the exact condition of my hair, but which was also shaped by his expert eye. He even showed me different ways to blowdry my hair, so I could change up the look. I genuinely didn’t realise my hair could look quite this good. But as I sat admiring myself in the mirror, I discovered that this was not the end of the experience.
The next step was a conditioning treatment – but not like any I’ve had. Gennaro explained that the salon philosophy is all about using products that are handmade (yes, really) in the salon from natural ingredients. No chemicals, no parabens, just natural goodness. I nodded along, but I have to admit, I was sceptical. I like a bit of science with my haircare. As he applied the fenugreek mixture, I wondered how much effect this could really have. He could possibly sense my scepticism, as he called over another member of staff and explained that she had started using the same fenugreek mixture on her hair on a weekly basis, to give it an extra shine boost. Now, I’ve obviously seen glossy hair before – but hers really did have a mirror-like shine.
And when he removed the treatment? Mine wasn’t quite as grab-the-sunglasses shiny – but then it couldn’t possibly be, given that I’d only had one treatment and I have been having my hair highlighted for years without a break. But oh, my, it looked so much better than before, with a strokeable silkiness. If you’re looking to get your hair in shape in time for your wedding, I’d suggest you seriously consider having one of these treatments on a monthly basis, rather than going for that old stalwart, the Brazilian blow dry. It’s a natural, gentle way to get some gloss without slathering your hair in strong chemicals.
So there you have it – I walked out with a beautifully cut, wishy mane. It turns out cheating does pay…
Hannah was a guest of GA Salon, gennarodellaquila.co.uk, cuts start from £35 (£100 with Gennaro)