jilla ad final

Blue Tit, Portobello

In London, ‘Blue Tit’ is now a brand synonymous with ‘Hair’. With 12 (soon to be 13) salons spanning the width and breadth of the capital, you’d be hard-pushed to find a borough in the city that isn’t served by a branch. For a point of reference, London has 32 boroughs, 272 tube stations and a staggering 291 Prêt a Mangers (no surprise there, I suppose.)

Whilst their empire may not have yet reached ‘Prêt levels’ each of the 12  Blue Tit salons are home to a team of talented, hardworking individuals who are dedicated in their mission to reducing their impact on the environment. So it stands to reason, that Blue Tit works exclusively with sustainable products that harness the power of the best natural ingredients (and smell delicious to boot).

The Style

The salon is decorated in deep terracotta with pops of daffodil yellow and rich turquoise. A chunky black and white herringbone tiled floor, mirrored artworks and fluted glass meet industrial exposed beams and raw textured walls. In the rinsing area, an asparagus plant bathes in the sun that streams in from the light well above.

The Process

I visit The Portobello branch on a sunny Tuesday Morning in early April for some highlights and a cut. There’s a pleasant buzz to the place.  I’m offered a coffee and gowned up by Matilda, who introduces me to the charming Mads, originally from Denmark, who has some enviable blonde locks of his own.

Mads has lived in London for eleven years and has worked for Blue tit for six and a half. He started out at the flagship Dalston salon, before moving to Portobello to minimise his commute. 

It becomes apparent that I’m in very safe hands. Mads, who teaches at the Blue Tit Academy in Clapton, is also one of the global directors. He is passionate, not only about his work as a stylist but about Oway – the sustainable agro-cosmetics brand with whom Blue Tit have a long-established partnership. Oway grow their own biodynamic ingredients on their farm in the North of Italy, near Bologna. Mads visits regularly and eulogises about the quality of their ingredients and their ‘delicious’ natural spring water.

A blonde himself, Mads is something of an aficionado and as a Scandinavian, he’s an advocate for the ‘natural look’. We agree that my hair is looking a little brassy and my roots are growing out. Mads suggests a smattering of tiny highlights to catch the light around my hairline instead of a root smudge, which (particularly in summer months) can look heavy-handed. He tells me that the quantity and placement of the foils are key, with many smaller sections, giving the most depth. And ‘the head is round, so we use diagonal sections that fall within the natural placement of the hair.’

Mads is a self-proclaimed ‘neat freak’ and he’s not exaggerating – by the time he’s finished I have a head of foils so immaculate, that it looks like I’m wearing some kind of Joan-of-Arc style helmet or an avant garde costume from one of the early star wars movies. 

As Mads gets to work, I soon realise that he is a fascinating character – which is a bonus – as any (unnatural) blonde will tell you, the process can be lengthy. We immediately find common ground in ‘white-witch-sage-wafting-crystal-wielding mothers’. Mads tells me about his experience growing up around the Spiritualist Church and confesses to an obsession with obscure musical instruments – he recalls a trip to Paris when he both purchased (and subsequently lost) his most treasured possession of all time… a bamboo saxophone. 

For the cut, he prescribes a smattering of layers through the back to reduce the weight. Here, he employs a technique called ‘hair mapping’, which applies the minimum amount of tension to the follicles, ensuring that the cut aligns with the natural fall of the hair. ‘You might find this a bit boring’ he quips… (I don’t)… ‘but hair is all about geometry… when we start thinking about hair in terms of shape, you find yourself using terms like ‘convex’ and ‘concave’… I never imagined I’d be using the maths and physics I learned at school in this career’, he chuckles.

The Result

I’m thrilled with my new cut and colour and I’ve had a lovely time! Mads blowdries my hair and finishes it off with a delicate and beautifully scented olive pit oil from Oway, which locks in moisture without weighing it down. 

My hair looks vibrant and glossy and feels so much lighter without sacrificing the length. Mads, like his mother, is something of a magician and the conversation is on point too. 

A half head of highlights at Blue Tit starts from £151.

A cut and finish starts from £74.


Tried & Tested |