So many salons, so few recommendations

Are there too many hairdressers in West Hampstead? I hear a resounding chorus of “yes” ringing out. An oft-heard criticism of West End Lane is the sheer number of stylists (and of course estate agents, but I’m not here to discuss them, slick though their hair may be).

Wandering the main streets of the area (West End Lane, Mill Lane, Fortune Green, Broadhurst Gardens) last weekend, I counted no fewer than 17 salons.

When I set out to produce the definitive guide to the best local women’s salons, I was therefore braced for a deluge of comment, opinion, recommendations, debate. Where would people suggest was the best place for a trim? Or a more “directional” cut and restyle? Or colour treatments? Where can you find the friendliest welcome, the most passionate and hair-savvy stylists, or the best coffee? Where’s the best place to go if you’re on a budget?

Instead, only a trickle of feedback was forthcoming (thank you to everyone who shared their recommendations, with a special mention for Heather who is the veritable whamp hair expert). And 90% of it was for the same two salons: HOB and Holistic. Barely any mention of the other places, which remain shrouded in mystery.

How to explain the surfeit of salons, given the local apathy? I asume there’s a demand for their services: most usually look busy (when I walked past on a typical Saturday, all had at least one customer and some places were positively buzzing) and of course all whampers are impeccably coiffed. So, perhaps it’s time to challenge the notion that there are too many. After all, the 17 salons encompass traditional-looking men’s barbers, trendy men’s salons, high-end unisex salons, and even a salon specialising in natural hair extensions (Helena’s Haircare on West End Lane).

As for the lack of hairdressing recommendations… do many locals get their hair cut in town (near work, perhaps?), and are the customers I see frequenting West Hampstead establishments price-sensitive souls attracted by special offers? Or are you just all jealously guarding your beauty secrets? Please use the comments below to let me know your thoughts on all matters follicular in West Hampstead.

By the way, your hair looks fabulous darling.