In the heart of bustling Westbourne Grove, for 15 years, Gina Conway Aveda Lifestyle Salon and Spa has been a hotspot for locals and internationals and is one of four Gina Conway salons across the capital; others are located in Chelsea, Fulham and Wimbledon.
On the menu for me was a haircut and Aveda Full Spectrum Permanent Hair Colour, a colour service I’ve always been attracted to thanks to its eco credentials: containing no petrochemicals, the colour is plant-based with a blend of organic sunflower, castor and jojoba oils to limit damage and dryness. The result is a 96% natural-derived treatment that aims to be kinder on hair and grey cover.
My stylist, creative director Domenico, is a man with a big, welcoming smile. After years of hair-raising experiences, I’m always slightly nervous of hairdressers so Domenico’s calm manner certainly soothed my salon-nerves.
We talked haircuts and colour, and why choosing fashion shades is not always the best idea: “You will leave the salon looking great but fashion shades aren’t always the best for hair. I like to give clients richer versions of their own colour — so you almost can’t believe you’ve had anything done.” For me, he chose a rich, dark espresso-brown. Very delicious.
That’s certainly a skill at an Aveda Hair Salon, where there are no pre-mixed shades — colour technicians have to blend each client’s colour from scratch, so everyone gets their own bespoke shade. You can also take the formula away if you’re travelling abroad to another Aveda salon.
Dominico applied the colour with a great technique: instead of taking colour all the way to the ends, he thinned out application so natural tones were allowed to come through, avoiding a heavy block of colour. For the cut, he instantly knew layers are a no-no for wavy hair like mine (they can thin it out making it look messy), so he chopped just a few inches off for a modern, stronger finish line.
My trip to Gina’s was on a Tuesday afternoon, so the salon was calm, easygoing and truly pleasant; I’d highly recommend booking a similar slot if, like me, you’re someone who struggles relaxing in the bustle of a busy city salon. With tea and a book, I couldn’t have been happier. I loved the decor too — urban-looking concrete floors and worktops — and as I sat back, I imagined how I could incorporate elements into my own dream house.
Domenico was right about the colour: it genuinely looked like my natural colour but better. Worries that the natural colour formula wouldn’t cover my grey (I have a two-inch patch at the very front of my hairline) were unfounded as coverage was immaculate with not a faded strand in sight. People are still commenting on my hair, so for such a gentle approach, the results have been impressive.