Local Recommendation: ESHK Hair Salon
On first impressions the salon is trendy, but not disarmingly so. Arranged over two levels it feels like you’ve entered the flat of your cool designer friend; exposed brick and stone walls, retro leather chairs and mismatched vintage furniture make up this stylish salon. A stack of magazines:, ID, Wonderland, AnOther sit beside me – on a rather 80’s bedside table, naturally.
Before visiting ESHK I perused their list of services online and to my delight I spot ‘balayage’ – a French free-hand highlighting technique. I have been keen to try balayage for a while, but have been apprehensive when seeing salons charge well over £100 for this recent trend*. ESHK’s prices are very reasonable given the area, and even better new clients get 15% off on their first visit.
*(and partly due to not knowing how to pronounce it – for anyone wondering it’s bah-lee-arge)
I receive a warm greeting from my stylist Dimitris, he allows me to describe the look I am after without interruption. He talks me through exactly what this balayage business is all about, just to make sure we’re on the same page. This is great as I have often felt rushed through consultations in the past, only to end up with a stripy set of highlights or a haircut three inches shorter than planned. Dimitris also tells me how balayage is a popular choice as it’s a super-low maintenance style that can be adapted to personal tastes.
Five minutes later I am sat with a drink in hand (and the Wi-Fi password!). I’m not usually great with hairdresser chat but conversation soon flows when I tell my Greek stylist that I’m off to Cephalonia at the end of the month. He is a natural with customer service and chit-chat is not forced – half an hour in and we are recommending each other TV series to watch on Netflix!
I ask my stylist how he got in to hairdressing and am amazed to hear of the variety of creative roles he had before this one, he tells me cutting hair was something he had always wanted to do and now it is his absolute passion. A wonderfully refreshing attitude to his work, and it shows through his attention to detail and genuine interest in our ‘hair talk’.
The Clerkenwell branch, one of three ESHK salons, has been open just a month when I visit. Being a Tuesday afternoon it is quite quiet, but I enjoy it as Dimitris gives me his undivided attention throughout my appointment from colouring, shampooing and toning to cutting and blowdrying.
As soon as six o’clock hits, the salon gets busier with customers looking for a post-work makeover. Upstairs in the salon – a bright, white tiled room reminiscent of a retro barbers – Dimitris is finishing off an impeccably neat trim. He blow- dries it straight to show me the colour – bright and blonde at the ends while still being rooty and natural looking at the top, it’s just what I wanted.
He immediately confesses he is not 100% happy with the colour, explaining that dying over my previous set of highlights had left a few varying shades of blonde near the roots, but assures me that this will tone down and the balayage look will look better and better as my hair grows. I appreciate his honesty as I may have gone home feeling like I hadn’t got my money’s worth.
I will definitely be returning to ESHK, in fact I may have even found my first ever regular salon.
Visit their Clerkenwell branch at:
138 Gray’s Inn Road
0203 632 8950
To find your nearest salon visit their website here:
Words by: Verity Coull