“Any treatment that starts with a scalp inspection might not seem the most glamorous, but if it’s good enough or the impeccably lovely Audrey Hepburn, it’s certainly good enough for the rest of us.
Philip Kingsley’s ‘elasticizer’ treatment – celebrating its 40th anniversary this year – was created especially for the Hollywood icon, who was concerned her locks were in bad condition due to over-processing and consistent styling on set. Its carefully selected ingredients restore elasticity, manageability, bounce and shine – Audrey was hooked at first try and used it her whole life, and how it’s a hero hair staple for beauty editors, stylists and A-list celebs alike.
Hailed as the world’s first pre-shampoo conditioning treatment, it’s now one of the signature offerings at Walcot’s newest hair salon, Material, run by the talented Paul Harewood.
Stystlist Tania confirms that my scalp is in fairly good nick and so prescribes the ‘stimulating’ version of the mask which detoxifies the hair and promotes its healthy growth. If you suffer from a flaky scalp. however, it’s the ‘exfoliating’ mask for you.
After damping down my mop, tania takes sections of my hair and deftly applies the toothpaste-like substance directly on to my scalp – it even smells minty and has the same cold, tingly effect. Once all my hair is covered, there’s another spritz of water to maximise the moisture being drawn in – and it’s on with a very unattractive plastic cap and under a heat halo for a very precise 13 minutes. Just enough time for me to take in what Paul has done to the place. I’m a particular fan of the re-upholstered 1930s cinema seats and the simple white, turquoise and grey colour palette. it’s slick and minimalist with plenty of stainless steel, mirrors and eminently practical Scandic-chic storage.
Once my 13 minutes’ cooking time is up, it’s time for a moisture balancing shampoo and conditioner before I’m back in the chair for a few squirts of stimulating scalp toner – think of it like moisturiser – and a quick hear, neck and shoulder massage.
A cut above
With 20 years of experience working and teaching in top London salons – Mahogany, Vidal Sassoon and the like – as well as numerous stints at hair shows across Europe and South America, Paul is unsurprisingly nifty with a pair of scissors. He’s meticulous with it, favouring the ‘precision cutting’ techniques championed by Vidal Sassoon, evident as he tames my unruly locks into a sharp, sophisticated bob with just a hint of layering to ensure it still has some movement.
A brilliant blow dry later, a smooth over with the straightening irons and a smattering of Living Proof’s ‘prime’ – a cult American brand co-owned by one Jennifer Aniston no less – and I’m ready to impress.
The ‘elasticizer’ lasts for about a week and my hair is left feeling super soft, shiny and superbly switchable. And as is the test of the best haircuts, I can even retreat the look at home. Go on, sign up for the movie star treatment pronto, because you’re worth it.
A Philip Kingsley elasticizer treatment is priced at £25 for 45 minutes, while a cut and blow dry with Paul Harewood costs £57 – Material, 47 Walcot Street, Bath, BA1 5BN; 01225 311808; materialhair.co.uk”