“Oooh, I love your fringe,” he peers at me over the top of his gold shades as I walk into the salon.
I’m loving the look. Jungle playsuit, gold safety pin necklace, pencilled brows, and platform trainers.
“Take a seat. Can I get you a drink?” asks Amber.
I sink into a black leather chair, already sticky from the sun. It’s Saturday morning at Urban Hair & Beauty, St Leonards and I’m here for a blow dry. There are three women sat behind mirrors and another next to me, flicking through a magazine. One of them is leaving and my stylist, Kelly, knots a headscarf around her curls to hold them in place. “You look fabulous,” I tell her as she leaves and she smiles. I sip my water and turn to the woman on my right. “What are you having done?”
“Oh, just the usual. Trim and tidy.”
Kelly is ready for me so I settle into the chair and surrender to the shampoo. “Is the temperature ok? Would you like a head massage?”
My favourite six words and the marker of a good salon.
Jungle man is Warren and he’s busy chatting to his client as I sit down to have my hair dried. I catch the tail end of a story about his 11-year-old sister who is getting into dance and wants to try pole dancing. He rolls his eyes. “She’s like, Warren, can I have a Versace bag? I’m like, no girl, not till I have one first!”
“Great music”, I say to Kelly. Warren G. Christina. Kylie. Pounding through the speaker into my left ear.
“Yeah, it’s Radio 1. They play the best tunes on a Saturday morning. My boss doesn’t like it. She prefers Gold and Magic but she’s not here on Saturdays so we have it on. Our customers love it.” I watch Warren getting jiggy through the mirror.
He turns to me: “Didn’t I cut your daughter’s hair? What was her hair colour again?”
“Yeah, I remember. Didn’t she have a guinea pig?”
I took Julieta in a year ago to have her hair curled for her year six prom, so I’m impressed he remembered after all this time. I tell him she’s 12 now and has done a year at school in China.
Kelly sprays on some heat protector and gets to work with the straighteners. I tell her I have a pair of GHD’s. 20 years old, and still going strong.
“We use Cloud Nines. They’re made by the same guy who started GHD. There are three types and these are the thicker ones for long hair. I think they’re better.” She carries on ironing and I watch the steam rising while my hair flops in defeat. “It’s so satisfying.”
“You can recycle your GHD’s here if you want to. We sell Cloud Nines as well.”
Warren reappears holding a stunning bouquet of green and white flowers. “Who are they for?” I ask.
“My client. I’m invited to her party tonight on The Lawn. She’s an artist. I have to take something nice. Her daughter will be head to toe in Gucci…”
“Where d’you get them from?”
“The florist on Norman Road. She does all the vintage bouquets herself. £20! Can you believe it? I said, look, I’ve got £20 – what can you do, and she came up with these. Fabulous, aren’t they?” he has a sniff and disappears behind the Prosecco wall. Flowers, steam and hairspray.
It’s 11.30 am and I have serious hair to go with my LBD, fishnets and black Vagabonds.
“I love your look. Love monochrome. You always look fabulous when you walk past. Beautiful figure.”
This is why he gets invited to party on The Lawn with his clients.
“Likewise. So, what’s the look? I love the playsuit.”
“ASOS, darling. Head to toe. I do like a chunky trainer.” He leans in and whispers, “these are Versace though. I love clothes and dressing up. It’s mostly ASOS. Sometimes my friends buy me stuff to wear.”
I glide down London Road, buoyed by the compliments, music, service, and happy vibe. Only £15 for a wash and blow dry too. It’s a Good Hair Day.
@WarrenLeeWilde – 👇🏼 my highlights are my art 👇🏼
Urban Hair and Beauty, London Road, St Leonards. Tuesday to Saturday and late nights on request.