A Chelsea institution, Lockonego has been tending to the tresses of west London’s smart set since 2005. Located a little way down the King’s Road, cornering the Dickensian Lamont Road Passage; haphazard bouquets of lilies light up the intimate and airy salon. An aura of calm descends upon braying toddlers as they step through the doors.
Clients range from 20-something Chelsea girls to preppy blonde Euro-toffs getting snipped en famille. Stylists treat clients like old friends catching up; genuine exchanges replace scripted small talk of chain-salons.
I have difficult hair to colour, but as a L’oreal Colour Award holder and Leona Lewis’s personal colourist, Paul Bingham’s reputation precedes him.
Despite being late, I was greeted with a smile, swiftly robed and seated, and brought steaming mint tea.
I hadn’t met Paul before, so we began with a brief consultation. He immediately understood my platinum addiction, and the concurrent risk of damage. Paul followed the normal procedure; painting peroxide over root regrowth, followed by application of a toner to take off the bleached-out glare and blend the roots with the lengths.
The procedure may have been standard, but the result was gold standard. The distinction between a good colourist and an extraordinary one, is a series of imperceptible judgement calls; which area of the crown to start painting first (this will have the longest processing time); how swiftly to paint the roots (weighing up the comparative importance of overlap avoidance versus uniform processing time); the percentage concentration of peroxide to use, in relation to length of processing time and temperature in the salon; the decision of whether and when to run the bleach below the roots, to remove any brassiness from previous colour jobs; and finally, most important of all, the exact blend and proportions of toner colour, to mix and colour the freshly bleached roots.
I can say with absolute confidence that this is the best colour I’ve ever had. The tone was ice white, the Holy Grail between overly ash and a brassy, cheap blond.
Returning to my loyal colourist the following month (having babbled something about being away and finding an emergency colourist in the States) she exclaimed “your colour bands (uneven colour) have just disappeared! I’ve been trying to phase them out since you first came to me, where have they gone?”