Despite the general consensus that you should get your hair cut every eight to 12 weeks, I rarely visit the hairdresser’s. I’m so reluctant to shell out a small fortune for a practically invisible trim (or worse—an unexpected style overhaul thanks to a scissor-happy stylist) that I’ve been known to take the kitchen scissors to my own hair with varying degrees of success.
Living in the capital brings its own issues with it too (and I’m not just talking about the air pollution.) In London, it’s not unusual for salons to charge around £100 for a basic wash and trim. I’d rather spend that money on a few overpriced cocktails. So I’m on a new quest: to find the best hair salons, nail shops and brow bars that London and the rest of Blighty has to offer—without breaking the bank.
If you’re like me and don’t regularly frequent a particular hair salon, I’m sure you’ll be familiar with the fear of stepping foot into a new one and the potential costs associated. In fact, to give you some insight into my general experience at the hairdresser’s, my train of thought generally runs something like this…
Okay, so it says from £60 for a wash and cut, but that’s with a junior stylist. Am I booked in with a junior? Oh, no—it says from£140 with a style director! I bet that’s who I’m booked in with. How can I find out what level this person doing my hair is? Can I ask? No, that’s rude, right? Okay, they might work out the cost by hair length too.
My hair nearly touches my shoulders—does that mean it’s short or medium? Gah. Remember, keep your wits about you. You might be offered a treatment. Just say no. Last time, it cost you an extra £20, and they chopped all your nicely moisturised hair off anyway. God, I could really do with a glass of water. I wonder if they charge for that.
Dramatic? Perhaps. Or maybe I’m on just the right side of neurotic to be the perfect person to hunt out the best, stress-free, affordable hair salons in London right now. I’m kicking things off here because it’s where I live, but do drop me a DM to let me know where you want me to turn my investigative eye to for the next instalment. So without further ado, here are three of the best affordable hair salons in London to visit right now.
On a road lined with fancy spin studios, beauty editor–frequented nail bars and Estée Lauder’s glass-fronted HQ, you might not expect to find an affordable hair salon. However, Mortimer Street is also home to Muse of London, a cool yet welcoming option for those of you looking for a fuss-free cut in the West End. With celebs like Millie Mackintosh known to have frequented here, I popped by on a Thursday evening and was pleasantly surprised by not only the chill vibes inside but also how attentive my stylist was. I left with a healthy-looking lob and my fringe exactly how I like it, which is no mean feat.
If you’re more experimental than I am with your hair, this place also specialises in colour. From balayage to brighter hues, Muse of London has experts on hand to help create a look that suits you—without costing the earth. In fact, a full head of permanent colour starts from £68. The salon’s latest foray into colour is biscuit-inspired, with shades like “custard cream” and “Viennese whirl” on the menu (in case you’re looking to go lighter for spring).
Winner of the Best Afro Hair Salon in London, 3thirty has carved out a reputation as the go-to hairdresser’s for natural hair and curly girls. As well as specialising in curly cuts and blow-drys, it also offers weaves, twists and relaxers, so you can switch up your style knowing that you’re in safe hands. And if ASOS Lesley’s enviable curls are anything to go by, you can trust that this salon knows what it’s doing.
If you’re not naturally curly-haired, it’s worth mentioning that 3thirty prides itself on having a team that’s been trained to work on many different hair types (Afro, Asian and European), so you can expect great results whatever your texture. For an affordable night-out option, the salon also provides flat-iron tonging for just £15. This is a great way to add glam waves to straight hair before a special occasion.
Location: Chelsea, Oxford Circus, Soho and Spitalfields
Cost: Trim and blow-dry for £65
Strictly speaking, Duck & Dry is a blow-dry bar and not a hair salon, but you can get a trim while you’re there, so I’m including it. Plus, the £35 blow-dry is worth the money alone, in my opinion. The best I’ve had in London, I always leave this salon feeling like my hair has been given a new lease of life. As someone with naturally wavy, curly, frizzy hair, being able to step outside with sleek, glossy beach waves in just 30 minutes is a big deal.
Not only are the blow-dries incredible, but the salons themselves are also beautiful. If you’re looking for a place that delivers on Instagram interiors, you’re in luck. The Oxford Circus branch on Market Place is my favourite—it’s bright, buzzy and there’s a prosecco bar. Duck & Dry has its own range of haircare products, too, and the feather-light shampoo and conditioner will genuinely leave your hair feeling like you’ve just undergone an intensive treatment.