Samantha Cusick wants our experience of going to the hairdresser to be fun, and that starts with the salon itself. I love it so much I want to move in then and there. Not least because of the awesome location just off Portobello Road (next door to that blue door, no less).
Neon word art lights up the space, tropical wallpaper adorns the walls, the styling stations are hewn from cool Carrera marble and there are golden pineapples everywhere – but what makes me smile the most is the edible golden glitter sprinkled over my latte. Oh, and Samantha’s British Bulldog Sidney, who wanders around looking perpetually forlorn and has become an institution in the salon (he even has his own title – VP of client relations, natch – and an Instagram page with over 10,000 followers).
The team here are experts in balayage and ‘invisible’ tape hair extensions by The London Hair Lab, but ultimately, their goal is to create wearable, workable styles that are inspired by their clients rather than by contrived, forecasted trends.
I tell Samantha that I’m looking for low maintenance, and have considered giving up the fight and letting my greys have their way, but she’s horrified by the idea and tells me that with less than 30 per cent grey coverage, I’m a way off needing to do this (hallelujah!). Instead she treats me to a warm autumnal look, in her signature balayage style, that works perfectly with both my skin tone and my lifestyle.
Afterwards, stylist Adam gets out his scissors and snips me back into presentable shape. I look like a more glamorous version of me, and walk out with my head held high, feeling like I’ve spent the morning in the company of friends. I’ll definitely be back.
284 Westbourne Park Road, W11 (020 7221 2227; samanthacusicklondon.com)