The hunt for a decent hairdresser

If you’ve seen any photos of me you’ll know that I’ve got curly hair. When I was a child I had thick, dark, wiry, dry, curly hair. My mum didn’t have a clue what to do with it (having straight/wavy hair herself) so she used to take me to a local “at home” hairdresser who would cut it short, and then my mum would brush it for me every day.

As you can see the results are stunning:

Girl with bad curly hair

Me, aged about 8, with my GORGEOUS hair

I got older, I discovered hair salons and things didn’t get much better, although I did discover hair mousse and not to brush curly hair:

Girl with bad curly hair in school uniform

Me, aged about 14, in the school photo. Looking good!

And so began the hunt to find a decent hairdresser who would know what to do with my hair. Bear in mind the photo above was taken in 1990 so GHD and straighteners just weren’t around.

I tried hairdresser’s near where my parents lived, I tried hairdresser’s in my university city, but never really found anyone who got my hair or how to tame it. I found a local hairdresser’s, near my parents, who cut it without it looking crazy but it wasn’t practical once I’d left home.

I carried on the hunt when I moved to France. I used to go 6 months without haircuts as I just couldn’t face the trauma of having my hair cut badly. Again.

For some reason 99% of the hairdresser’s I’ve gone to don’t seem to understand that curly hair springs back up when you cut it. A lot.

I’ve had my hair cut ridiculously short. I’ve had my hair cut with clippers. I’ve had a comb dragged through my hair by a hairdresser who was clearly having a bad day.

Girl with short curly hair

When I asked for a slight trim as I was trying to grow my hair – I’m only grinning as I’d drunk a lot!

But still I continued my hunt.

I finally found an incredible hair salon in Nice, called Identity, which a French husband and a English wife run. But then I left the country and it was a bit far to go for a hair cut and colour. (If you live in the area I totally recommend them.)

I thought I’d found a good salon in London when we first moved here. It was near Oxford Street, so easy to get to from work. They had free wine, and chairs that gave you a back massage when you were having your hair washed.

But the hairdresser never seemed to want me to have long hair: I spent 2 years going there (I know, my bad for not changing sooner) and my hair didn’t grow 1mm as the hairdresser used to cut it each time, instead of just trimming the split ends as I begged her.

So when I stopped work to go on maternity leave it seemed the right time to look for a new hairdresser. But it’s so depressing trying to find a decent one. Everyone promises you they’ll be different and then they’re exactly the same. It’s such a hard decision to make as there is always the fear of walking out with half your hair chopped off!

Until my cousin (who also has curly hair and lives near me) told me about this amazing hairdresser. Who just so happens to have curly hair. Who just so happens to have a daughter with curly hair. Who just so happens to be the manager of the Headmasters hair salon in Balham, London, near where I live. Woohoo! Could I have found the holy grail of hair?

My cousin gave me a friend recommendation card to get me 50% off my first visit, so I decided to give her a shot.

Her name was Kim. She was lovely. She made me laugh. She understood my fears about my hair. She understood that having kids had wrecked my hair and my curls. She understood my need to hide the ever-increasing grey hairs.

She cut and coloured my hair.

It was gorgeous. I could stop my quest to find a decent hairdresser.

That was over a year ago and I’ve not looked back since.

Let me give you an idea of the mastery Kim performs.

Here I am the morning of my last hair cut and roots touch-up with Kim at Headmasters, I think we can safely say she had her work cut out for her:

Before going to the hairdresser's

Before: The morning of my haircut and colour

And here is the magic that Kim managed to work in less than 2 hours. I kept singing that song from the old advert “looks like she just stepped out of a salon”….

After a haircut and colour

After: A transformation! With my hairdresser, Kim.

And a close up of my “After” picture:

After a haircut and colour

The After picture.

The beauty of what Kim does is that it lasts, I know my before picture doesn’t look great, but it was nearly 3 months since my previous cut and colour, and so could have been so much worse.

So how did my hair fare once I’d slept on it? This photo is taken from the next day. I did nothing to my hair other than run my fingers through it, and put a tiny bit of serum on it for the flyaway post-baby hairs. I have to say I was, as always, very impressed.

Day after blow dry #hair

My hair the next day

Then the other key question is how about when I have to wash it and style it curly again? How does it look then? I had to have my photo taken for something to do with our Franglaise Cooking blog a week later, so this is my hair, curly again 6 days on from seeing Kim:

Girl with glossy, curly hair

My hair, styled by me, a week on.

I really can recommend Kim, and Headmasters for anyone looking for a decent hairdresser, especially if you have curly hair.

The other thing I love is that Kim also cuts children’s hair, so for my curly-locks daughter, L, this is great too, and whenever we go there Kim makes a massive fuss out of her, so L LOVES it!

Girl with curlers in hair

L being treated like a princess by Kim (whilst C chills in the background).

Headmasters is also baby-friendly, which is priceless when your hair is looking desperate and you’ve got no one to look after your little one. Kim even ended up multi-tasking one time – cutting my hair, whilst rocking/pushing C’s buggy with her foot when she started crying.

Now that I’ve gushed on and on about Kim and Headmasters, here are some facts for you:

  • Headmasters have lots of branches, mostly in London and the southeast.
  • They have various cheap deals:
    Monday – Friday from 9am to 4pm it is 25% off any hair service.
    On Mondays you can get a full head of foils, cut and blow dry for £99.
    If you would like to try them out you can get 50% off when you mention this Franglaise Mummy blog post – contact details are below.
  • Get your children’s hair done at the same time as yours – L comes with me and has hers done while I’m waiting for my colour to take, and we have a lovely mummy/daughter moment together. The rates for children are:
    0-10 years old £11
    11-15 years old girls £20
    11-15 years old boys £15

There may not be free wine or back massage chairs, but the quality of service and hair-styling more than makes up for that. Also Kim tells me that Headmasters is getting back massage chairs very soon 🙂

For more information on Headmasters you can visit their national website or for Headmasters Balham, their local website. You can call the Balham branch on 0345 459 7742.

Disclosure: I have been going to Kim at Headmasters in Balham for my hair cut and colour for over a year now, she kindly offered me a free haircut and colour in exchange for this honest review. As always, all words and opinions are my own.


22 Responses

  1. It’s so fantastic when you find a decent hairdresser. I found the perfect one for me in Oxford, she’s cut my daughter’s hair and it looked fabulous, like you my daughter has really, curly thick hair and had many disastrous cuts in the past. Such a great review.
    Alexandra Mercer (Life of mummy) recently posted…My word of the week – sevenMy Profile

    • Franglaise Mummy says:

      Thanks! I can’t tell you the amount of tears I’ve shed and wine I’ve drunk over disastrous hair cuts in the past. Now I just have to hope my hairdresser sticks around. Forever.

  2. Karen says:

    I haven’t had my hair cut for two years, apart from hack jobs I have done on my own fringe (cringe, I know) because my lovely hairdresser upped sticks and moved to Bangkok to open another salon there. I am not kidding you when I tell you will be getting my dad to book me an appointment with him, when we are there at Christmas….He was the only person who ever got my frizzy, thick, hard to brush, horrible to do anything with, hair looking half decent. I actually cried when he went. His assistant there now is ok, but I miss him! I So need to find someone. It’s dire. I hate going to places where some 19 year old with stripes and a strange style makes me feel ancient and old fashioned because I don’t want to have layers or some random style that will be impossible to manage! I love your hair, it looks good. Ps I have a similar gel, short cut, like that one from school, must dig it out, I think quite a few people our age have photos like that! 😉
    Karen recently posted…Silent SundayMy Profile

    • Franglaise Mummy says:

      I can’t recommend Kim enough, she even did my 67 year old mum’s hair a few months ago (cut and colour), and I’ve never seen her looking so amazing!! She really is a magician 😉

  3. Wow, that is incredible! I have a friend with very curly hair (she is Turkish) and she ends up going to Afro-Caribbean hairdressers. Her hair was just the same as yours at school (mine was stupidly short too, why?!) and is now just long and crazily curly. She wears it in a ponytail every single day and refuses to have it down. She would die of envy if she saw yours! So good that the hairdresser can do L’s hair too, so she won’t have the same traumas you had growing up. Unbelievably my friend’s daughter’s hair is completely straight!
    Sarah MumofThree World recently posted…VertigoMy Profile

    • Franglaise Mummy says:

      I’ve had so many people asking me how I style/manage my hair so I will be blogging about it soon. Curly hair is a nightmare but it can be managed when you know the secrets….

  4. Honest Mum says:

    Looking gorgeous with curls and in the blow dry pic and love your cute child pics-I have curly hair that gets frizzy easily. I use tonnes of products and love a blow dry x #allaboutyou
    Honest Mum recently posted…Life Lessons From FrozenMy Profile

    • Franglaise Mummy says:

      I love a blow dry but totally can’t do it myself, and it tends to dry my already dry hair out even more 🙁 You’re very polite about my child pics, they’re a bloody nightmare! x

  5. Wow! I love it. I myself suffer from ‘wavy-to-curly’ hair – which isn’t quite as determined as all curly hair but has a good go at embarrassing me – particularly when we are faced with drizzle (yes, it’s England, so yes, that’s most days). I also have 2 ‘cowlicks’ at the front so can never have a fringe (worse the older I get).

    I recently had layers cut into my bob so that I could work with rather than against my natural wave. TBH I’m still getting used to it, and feel very 1980s, but it’s better than having left the house after blow drying my hair smooth for ages, only to see my reflection 5 mins after being outside, whereupon my hair has turned frizzy at the ends & limp at the top.
    vanessa holburn recently posted…Lie back and think of…anything else but this!My Profile

    • Franglaise Mummy says:

      When we lived on the French Riviera I straightened my hair a lot, as post baby number 1 my curls were rats’ tails, but when we moved to London I had to accept the constant drizzle wasn’t straight hair-friendly, I ditched the straighteners and mostly haven’t looked back since!

  6. ooh yay for finding a good hairdresser, it can be SO hard and I imagine it is so much harder with really curly hair! My hair is wavy/curly, but I didn’t actually know that until I found my current hairdresser as a teenager. I’d always just brushed it straight and ended up with masses of frizz ((pre-straightener days!)and the fact that actually it looks quite nice naturally curly was a revelation. I don’t go to the hairdressers very often (I dye it myself) but still go back to the same hairdresser, maybe 13 years later!! When you find a good one, you have to try n hold on to them!! xx #allaboutyou
    Caroline (Becoming a SAHM) recently posted…Thrifty? or tight?My Profile

    • Franglaise Mummy says:

      You definitely don’t let them go when you find a good one! Also why oh why did anyone ever tell us to brush our curly hair?!?

  7. Your hair looks great! I definitely value a good cut and color. It makes me feel 10 years younger and puts a smile on my face. Congrats on finding a place that works for you! #allaboutyou
    normaleverydaylife recently posted…Gifts of Time and ConversationMy Profile

    • Franglaise Mummy says:

      I really think it’s worth getting a good cut and colour, as no matter what clothes or shoes you wear this is on display every day!

  8. Mel says:

    It is so difficult to find a good hairdresser! I really enjoyed reading your post (and seeing those pictures…). I have a great hairdresser now and no one other than Rach is allowed anywhere near my hair! x Mel
    Mel recently posted…What I love about Lazy Day Foods (and a Giveaway!)My Profile

    • Franglaise Mummy says:

      Ah those pictures….some terrible ones there! You can’t beat finding a decent hairdresser 🙂

  9. Oh yes, the eternal hunt for a hairdresser who understands one’s hair!!! I’m so lucky my cousin retrained as a hairdresser when she had kids, she not only cut really well, but she’s known me and my hair all our lives!!! Lovely new hair and great pix. Thanks so much for linking up to #AllAboutYou

    • Franglaise Mummy says:

      Wow, that’s lucky! I still have nightmares about the disasters that have happened to my hair at dodgy hairdresser’s!

  10. Oh, I know exactly what you mean about hunting for a hairdresser who gets our curly hair! I have gone down the dark route of Keratin treatments, but really miss my curls, and trying to grow them back! Your hair looks lovely straight and curly, lucky you to have found your dream hairdresser. Great #AllAboutYou post, so relate!
    Mama and More aka Zaz recently posted…Our London – Link Party #1My Profile

    • Franglaise Mummy says:

      I straightened it for quite a while post eldest daughter’s birth, but it really ruined my, already dry, hair, so curls it is for me now!

  11. OMG this post brought back some very scary memories for me! We really must trade teenage haircut stories at Britmumslive over a LARGE glass of something fruity; I have almost exactly the same photos of me at that age. You’re so right that most hairdressers just do NOT understand what happens when you cut curly hair. Thankfully, like you, I’ve found an amazing hairdresser near me that does understand it and they will be working their magic on me in June hopefully so that I look suitably coiffured! (Let’s just pray that it doesn’t rain…) x
    Michelle @ Bod for tea recently posted…I’m deep, soft and warm – how about you?My Profile

    • Franglaise Mummy says:

      If it rains you’ll have to get a taxi to the venue – at least it’s indoors once you’re there! Can’t wait to share horror stories over a glass of something exciting….just over a month to go 🙂 x

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