London's best hairdressers
Looking for a great haircut in London? Treat your tresses at these classy salons and classic barbers
Straggly ends, visible roots and troublesome fringes? Worry no more, for these brilliant London hair salons can solve even the most serious barnet-based challenge. All tastes and budgets are catered for, even if you're looking to sit next to a glossy celebrity, or want a dip dye to match your jumper. To save you from any future bad hair days we sent a group of testers out into the capital to track down the best hairdressers in central, north, south, east and west London.
BEST FOR CUTS
He may be a celeb and TV favourite, but there’s nothing intimidating about Andrew Barton’s eponymous salon – his Covent Garden venue is his friendly ‘home away from home’, with stylists and clients alike gabbing away to each other over tea and biscuits in an uber-relaxed setting, complete with strokeable flock wallpaper puppies. When not on shoots with the likes of Lily Allen, Andrew’s in the salon for just two days a week, but if you’re in need of a one-off transformation, his Andrew Barton Makeover is well worth the £510 for cut, colour and finish.
- 25 Henrietta St, WC2E 8NA
BEST FOR BLOKES' CUTS
Think of Atherton Cox as the Jil Sander of hairdressers: beautiful cuts delivered without fuss. It was founded nearly a decade ago by Lisa Atherton and Paul Cox, and the team is now nearly 40-strong, catering predominantly for glamorous thirtysomething Marylebone professionals and yummy mummies. Thanks to Men’s Hairdresser of the Year award-winner Desmond Murray, who charges £116 for a ‘re-design’, it’s a go-to for a brilliant gents’ cut too.
- 18 New Cavendish St, W1G 8UR
BEST FOR CHEMICAL-FREE COLOUR
For those who care about what is going into and on to their bodies, the Aveda Institute on High Holborn is hard to beat. One of the orginal purveyors of natural hair and skin products, the brand continues to deliver quality treatments at this vast, airy hair and beauty spa. Time Out has long been a fan of the salon, not only for its fabulous non-agressive colour and great cuts, but the serene manicure and pedicure booths, tucked away at the back. What makes this salon appealing is that is refreshingly un-sceney: no air-kissing, fuss or celebrity gossip.
- 174 High Holborn, WC1V 7AA
BEST FOR MEN'S LUXURY
You may feel a little self-conscious approaching the rather grand Bourdon House, home to luxury brand Alfred Dunhill’s flagship store, but a calm, unpretentious welcome makes you feel as though you’re a member of an exclusive men’s club (which, incidentally, is just what occupies the other half of the building). Step through clouds of cigar smoke on the Cellar Bar patio, up the plush carpeted staircase, and into the barbershop where everything is exquisitely done yet reasonably priced.
- 2 Davies St, W1K 3DJ
BEST FOR GOOD VALUE CUTS
Brooks and Brooks is a multi-award-winning salon in Bloomsbury (three times London Hairdresser of the Year, for starters). It’s good value in general (with cuts from £35), but on Mondays and Tuesdays you can get a restyle completely free. Cuts are by trainees, but fully supervised by the best in the business.
- 13-15 Sicilian Avenue, WC1A 2QH
BEST FOR CUTS AND BLOW DRIES
Having tended the tresses of the rich and famous from Ivana Trump to Jamie Oliver, Stuart Philips retains a remarkably down-to-earth attitude and his plush Covent Garden salon reflects his friendly, professional demenor. We are always impressed by the treatment we receive here – on a recent trip the blow dry we had managed to give volume to our fine, limp hair with out making it frizzy. The interior is ultra-comfy and induces instant calm; recline in cool leather chairs and have a chat with the friendly, informative staff. From £30 for a wash and blow dry.
- 25 Monmouth Street, WC2H 9DD
BEST FOR COLOUR AND CUTS
For no-nonsense blow-dries, great colour and cuts in bright, comfortable surroundings, Charles Worthington is your man. We have long frequented the Percy Street outlet for lunchtime blow-dries (from £36) and can’t fault the customer service – a bowl of nuts and glass of bubbly is always offered within seconds of sitting down (you can have unlimited top-ups for a £2 charge. By our reckoning, if you drink enough, you can break even). The salon is minimal but super-comfortable, and for a place with such a big name behind it, it is remarkably friendly.
- 7 Percy St, W1T 1DH
BEST FOR SPEEDY BLOW DRIES
Despite its location in the heart of upmarket Mayfair, this modern two-storey salon isn’t at all snooty, with a staff of very talented cutters and colourists. Prices start at £60 (£45 for men), though you’ll pay £300 for a cut with Daniel (£150 for men). There’s also a menu of therapies; the swish Harvey Nichols branch has a dedicated spa. Hersheson’s Blow Dry Bars are located at Topshop, Westfield London and One New Change.
- 45 Conduit Street, W1F 2YN
BEST FOR CUT-THROAT SHAVE
This traditional Mayfair barber has been pampering men since 1875 offering both a range of fragrances and grooming products (aftershave balms, razors, shaving brushes) as well as an indulgent range of treatments from wet shaves to manicures and facials. Branches: 1 Duke of York Street, SW1Y 6JP.
- 9 Curzon Street, W1J 5HQ
BEST FOR MEN'S HAIR AND GROOMING
Upmarket gents’ hairdressers in the West End tend to fall into two camps: the fogeyish, or the achingly trendy. Gentlemen’s Tonic is neither. It caters for well-heeled men who are past youthful experiments with 'interesting' hairstyles, and who prefer to look smart and well-groomed in a modern but classic style. The salon is well-appointed with a relaxing reception area, and decorated in an understated masculine style in the style of a smart tailors’ shop.
- 1a Bruton Place, W1J 6NN
BEST FOR LUXE CUTS
You can tell a fair bit about a salon from the calibre of towel on offer. At this swish Marylebone hairdressers they’re as thick as duvets and the colour of caramel highlights. That level of service runs through the whole establishment, which is darkly glossy and reassuringly expensive. Cuts cost up to £144 (although you can get a junior stylist for £55), but if you have the money to spend, it’s a great place to spend it.
- 42-44 George St, W1U 7ES
BEST FOR SPEEDY BLOW DRIES
The Time Out team have been fans of Hershesons Blow Dry Bars since the first one opened in Topshop, Oxford Circus in 2006. Branches now exist in Westfield, One New Change and Selfridges. A 30-minute blow dry – you pick from one of 12 set styles, from a neat wave to an ambitious Bardot up-do – will set you back just £25. Booking is recommended, but no appointment is required: you can just turn up, which is always handy.
- Topshop, 36-38 Great Castle Street, W1W 8LG
BEST FOR RETRO CUTS
Miss Betty and Mr Ducktail are London’s self-proclaimed ‘rock ‘n’ roll motherkutters’ – rockabilly hair experts who’ll coiffeur you back to the ’50s. Their small salon in Kingly Court offers a full menu of services for women – particularly colour treatments and brilliant, gravity-defying up-dos – but there’s just one coveted chair for men, where Mr Ducktail whips up pompadour quiffs with clippers, scissors and a switchblade.
- Unit 2.16 Kingly Court, (49 Carnaby Street), W1F 9PY
MEN'S: BEST FOR GREAT CUTS AND SHAVES
Joe Mills has been trimming, chopping and clippering Londoners at his unisex Soho salon The Lounge since the late '90s. Opened in December 2010, a few doors away on Greens Court, is another of his projects, Joe & Co. Focusing soley on men, Joe & Co offers an ultra-contemporary space that eschews the stuffy wood panels and badger brushes of traditional barbershops. Haircuts, treatments and a bespoke wet shave - as well as friendly, unhurried service - are all on offer. Recommended.
- 7 Greens Court, W1F 0HQ
BEST FOR COLOUR
When legendary colourist Jo Hansford closed her Mount Street premises, the neighbourhood blondes must have gone into meltdown. However, the ladies of Mayfair (including regular clients Gwyneth and Nigella) have nothing to worry about, at least in the hair department, as the closure was making way for a jumbo new flagship for this enduringly popular, consistently excellent hairdresser.
- 48 South Audley St, W1K 2QB
BEST FOR HAIR DISASTERS
Whether you are desperately trying to rectify the disaster of a home perm, minimising the damage from a sloppy salon, or you're a model victim of a photoshoot involving superglue and a blast furnace, the experts at Philip Kingsley are the people to see. The London Clinic, set in the Edwardian splendour of Mayfair, specialises in trichology – the study of hair and the scalp. Philip himself is the World's most respected voice when it comes to this treatment, working in the field for the last six decades. As well as consultations, Philip and his team are expert witnesses in cases of negligence heading to court and also have been collaborating with cancer xharities and patients who have had there hair or scalp affected by various treatments.
- 54 Green Street, W1K 6RU
BEST FOR NATURAL COLOUR
This glossy two-floor hair and beauty salon in Covent Garden has won several industry awards for its cut and colour services (including London Hairdresser of the Year for Karine). Despite its stellar credentials, you can get a luxury Kérastase blow dry for £15, which includes refreshments, from Monday to Friday. The staff are friendly and accommodating, whether you’re popping in for a quick fringe-trim or a brand new cut.
- 24 Litchfield Street, WC2H 9NU
BEST FOR UBER-GLAMOUR
Despite its chic, contemporary look, Michaeljohn remains the ultimate old-school Mayfair salon catering for royalty (Princess Beatrice), fashion editors (yup, Anna Wintour gets her fringe cut here by Charlie Chan), and blonde Hollywood bombshells (from Cameron Diaz to Drew Barrymore).
- 25 Albermarle Street, W1S 4HU
BEST FOR GLAMOUR
Stepping into the antique elegance of Nicky Clarke’s Mayfair townhouse is like being ushered on to the set of ‘Downton’ – until you clap your eyes on a Union Jack cushion or a signed Beatles photo. Half of London’s celebs pass through the its doors. Sienna Miller and Kate Moss are regulars. A-listers have got its stylists on speed dial for their red carpet tresses. But while it’s discreet there’s nothing sniffy about the service.
- 11 Carlos Place, W1K 3AX
BEST FOR FRIENDLY SERVICE
Hidden away behind a residential door in Central London, Rossano Ferretti couldn’t feel more exclusive, complete with deferential porter to answer the door and usher you up a grand staircase. The beautifully turned out salon is the new addition to some twenty equally luxurious outposts around the world and bears Italian hair guru Rossano Ferretti’s trademark minimalist/luxe style.
- 17 St George St, W1S 1FJ
MEN'S: BEST FOR COOL CUTS
Now over a decade old, and with new branches on Brewer Street and all the way over in New York City, Tommy Guns remains a very cool prospect indeed. This original Soho space, complete with retro fittings, is filled with youthful colourists and cutters and there’s a friendly, relaxed buzz to the place most days.
- 65 Beak Street, W1F 9SN
BEST FOR A NEW LOOK
This buzzy Covent Garden salon has a reputation for styling the uber-gorgeous (as the glossy mag pages on the walls, featuring the locks of Kate Moss, Drew`Barrymore and Gwyneth Paltrow can attest). But don’t be intimidated by the A-lister clientele. The salon has a friendly and down-to-earth vibe; even the minimalist decor is offset by a huge welcoming table in the reception piled with retro board games, tastefully placed art books, and er, 'The Complete Guide to Ferrets'.
- 41-45 Short's Gardens, WC2H 9AP
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