Unruly curls are standard procedure if you have Afro or curly hair, so I was delighted to discover a hairdresser that celebrated them.
Tucked away on a residential street in Notting Hill (about a 5 minute walk from Latimer Road station) and across the road from Stella McCartney’s HQ, is unruly curls- a salon dedicated to curly hair of all shapes and sizes: wavy, corkscrew, Afro; whatever your do they’ve got it covered.
I arrived at UC on a typically rainy London afternoon and was excited at the prospect of not actually having to bring a hat with me.
I was lucky enough to be seeing Michael, the salon’s director-although all of the stylists at UC are top freelance stylists- often working when their schedules permit- one of their stylists away shooting the new Bond film at the time; as you do.
Everything about Unruly curls is unique: from the giant portrait of Alan Ginsberg to the gorgeous bar stocked with every spirit your liver could dream of, including bitters! Which any mule lover will know is the key to turning an average drink into a magical one (perhaps this is my detox talking, back to the point).
The other unusual thing about UC, is that the salon itself is a studio.
The space is really quite fantastic: Lots of light, vintage chairs and lots of exposed brick; it instantly leads you to believe you are a model/actress/popstar (delete as daydream appropriate) in hair and make-up.
Like the environment he created Michael, the Salon Director was super cool, without being too cool for school.
When it comes to salons, studios or any professional space I manage to wangle my way into, I always keep my eyes peeled for the little touches: flowers (check,) Aesop in the bathroom (check), an offer of a biscuit with my tea… (always the way to my heart.)
Once I had stopped crushing on the salon, Michael sat me down to talk hair- what I do, what I like to do and what I wanted to achieve. I always enjoy getting advice from my hairstylist, and Michael had great advice in droves. We talked about carnival and the current craze for ‘natural’ hair about, but what Michael desperately wanted (and needed) to know was whether I was going to be brave enough to go fro.
After combing through my hair (which took surprisingly longer than anticipated, due to my own disregard for my roots) Michael suggested that I go for a good cut, so once it had all been combed through, he dry cut my hair back to its healthiest point. Thankfully the damage was minimal, as the sparse floor was testament to.
After a Brazilian conditioning treatment (that smelt divine) and wash, it was time to experience something I had never allowed myself, my mother or any hairdresser in the history of time to do; blow dry my hair curly!
To really understand how much of a change this was for me, let me clarify that I have never ever worn my hair curly. Ever! The longest it has ever been curly, is the length of time it takes to be blow dried straight. So when I saw the diffuser meet the hairdryer I was wondering whether this was a huge error. Thankfully Michael made it fun: we ran across to the chair as he held my soaking wet hair in his hand and asked me to tip my hair upside down as he diffused it (before adding a little product, which he recommends patting on as opposed to combing though with your hands- which he says encourages knots and disrupts the curls.)
He then asked me to literally whip my hair back and forth to shake out the curls before he reclined the chair and diffused my hair from the front. I have to say when -like me- you constantly have the same look and know exactly how your hair appointment will go- it’s so fun to do the complete opposite. Having the freedom and encouragement to shake your wet hair all over a salon and your stylist, is surprisingly alleviating.
After my hair was almost all dry, Michael styled it. Sadly my boldness stopped when it came to cutting it into shape, as I know that my straight haired self would not be best pleased, (but in no way did I doubt his expertise; he definitely knows more about my hair than I do.)
If you’re bored of the same salon experience, are looking for a cool place that doesn’t take itself too seriously, or are a curly haired girl in need of some specialist tlc, I couldn’t recommend Michael and the team at Unruly curls more highly.
Not only did Michael manage to convince me to rock a fro but a week later when it was time for my straight blow dry, my ends were impeccable. Two blow dries later my hair is still holding it’s shape and I have just understood the value of a great cut. I’m definitely not unruly anymore.
For more information, visit: Unruly Curls