Women devoted to the natural hair journey will find an ally in Charlotte Mensah – an award-winning hair stylist and founder of Hair Lounge, a stylish Ladbroke Grove salon that’s expertly nurtured kinky coils and curls since 1999. Considering Mensah’s A-List clientele – think Erykah Badu and Janelle Monae – and the heaps of gongs she regularly collects, there’s nothing pretentious about Mensah, her youthful staff or her warm, Afrocentric haven, where fittingly, Badu’s live album plays soothingly in the background. In fact, the boss lady offers me a piece of pound make she made earlier in the day, between effortlessly tending to two other clients who are getting braids and a trim.
For those looking to give their hair an extra bit of TLC, the results from Mensah’s Manketti oil treatments are sublime, with my notoriously dry 4c hair feeling softer and more moisturised than it has been in ages. Still, the exfoliating scalp treatment (£30), which involved a junior stylist vigorously working a sea salt scrub all over my head for 15 minutes, initially scared the life out of me. Surely this was a recipe for disaster? But Mensah, who developed the treatment, explained that the scalp is just skin after all – and it works like having a face scrub. Plus, the scrub would be good for promoting better circulation and encouraging hair growth.
The luscious, 15-minute oil steam treatment (£80) eased my scepticism, and as Mensah gave my hair a trim, it was hard to deny how clean my scalp looked and felt; my stubborn dry patches had even vanished.
Both treatments combined in a single sitting can feel like a slight hit on the wallet – but you not only get what you pay for, but you can expect your hair and scalp to get a new lease of life. Plus, Mensah’s wealth of hair advice - and her delicious pound cake - doesn’t hurt either.