Follow The Colour Revolution. STIL salon is now opening a new Chelsea branch to celebrate and accommodate its fast-growing community.
Hair is power. No matter what people tell you, a bad hair day will ruin everyone else’s day too. Psychologists over time have claimed that there’s a direct correlation between someone’s look and their current state of mind. It’s a way for people to assert their identity. And when your identity doesn’t quite sit well with what your hair looks like, it’s time for a trip to the salon.
STIL salon in Notting Hill has garnered a cult following after being praised by everyone from Harper’s Bazaar to Tatler for their excellence in colouring. Specialising in blonde and its many facets, the salon is now opening a new Chelsea branch to celebrate and accommodate its fast-growing community.
I went in for a consultation on a Friday afternoon in May. Staff were swift to notice – ‘oh you bring the sunshine with you.’ Yes, in London that’s a compliment. I sit down with Dominic Hook, the Colour Director at STIL and what surprises me is his attention to detail.
For Dominic, it’s not just about leaving the salon looking like Barbie. Colouring to him is what sculpture was to Michelangelo. An art form. He looks at my complexion and my eyes–the conclusion is simple. ‘Your current hair colour simply doesn’t bring out your eyes or your skin tone, if anything, a GP would tell you that you’re anaemic.’ Not quite his exact words, but definitely something that crossed my mind.
I’ve been through many consults. And they all started off with the same blah blahs: hair, structure, frizz, no frizz, whatever. Nobody even glanced at the colour of my skin, and eyes or took into account my personality – which evidently has a ripple effect on how I wear my hair. But STIL is not your usual experience. It’s a personalised one with the individual at the forefront of the creative mind.
A week later, I go in for my actual appointment. ‘We’re going to have to cut your hair.’ Potentially the most dreaded sentence in the English language as far as I’m concerned. After accidentally going for a bob-cut about 5 years ago, I barely let anyone touch my hair these days. But alas, I was convinced nonetheless. Mainly because my goal is healthy (looking) locks. I remember when I used to micro-manage absolutely every aspect of my salon experience. It was the type of control I liked to exercise in all aspects of my life. But after two years of realising that control is effectively a redundant action, this time I let myself go in the safe hands of Dominic and Anna.
The result was nothing short of pleasant. A creamy blonde, a shade not too warm or too cold. The perfect blend in between my former peroxide (why in God’s name did I do that) and my natural ash-blonde hair. It’s summer, so it’s time to let the light come in–both in our lives and in our haircare.
I’m a self-proclaimed fan of natural-looking hair. Think of life on an island with the sea salt and wind blowing into your locks while you glance at the seemingly endless horizon. Apologies, hair does make me poetic. But at the end of the day, it doesn’t matter if you’ve got highlights or the world’s most beautiful extensions, what matters is that you feel like yourself, your true self once you’ve left the salon. And that’s exactly what the team at STIL does best.
Nobody is more fitted than the owner, Christel Barron-Hough, to answer our most pressing questions.
What was the initial concept behind STIL ahead of its inception in 2016?
The initial idea was to create a colour specialist salon that delivered exceptional service in a unique space with a boutique Scandinavian aesthetic that reflects my DNA. It was especially important to me that we not only created great hair but made sure we created a space where we could spend quality time with our clients and where they feel truly relaxed.
How do you maintain that reputation of London’s best colouring salons?
We constantly stay on top of every aspect of the salon experience from a guest’s perspective and prioritise regularly educating our team on new hair colour trends as what’s new today is old tomorrow.
What is the most important relationship that you want to establish between colourist and client?
Client loyalty is the most rewarding aspect of what we do as hairdressers and so the relationship you build with your clients is very unique. It’s important to get to know your clients and establish trust with them as that ultimately will lead to client loyalty where you’re able to guide them on a journey through evolving hair colour looks and styles, where they trust you completely to deliver something that suits their personal image, taste and lifestyle each time.