I’ve been asked “what do you do to make your hair look like that?” since my teens. Most don’t believe me when I say “nothing”. I have never coloured my hair - my bountiful head of “highlights” are a natural wonder of gene mixing from my Dad’s dark Asian hair, and my Mum’s Eastern European blonde ringlets. I barely brush it (I have been told I need to improve on that). I chuck my hair head upside for 3 minutes with a hairdryer, and smooth out my fringe. That’s it. When anyone asks me what can they do to have healthier hair, I always say “leave it alone!” and I stand by it! Of course, for special days, I’ll make an effort with some styling - and a blue moon sees my having a blow-dry - but I lucked out in the hair department admittedly. I don’t say that nonchalantly - we all have our loved/less loved features. The flip side to great hair was having horrific acne through my teens and twenties (see my post about Debbie Thomas here)
I have a lot of hair, it’s big, it’s wavy, and I’m very particular about anyone touching it - But even low maintenance hair like mine needs a decent cut to shape, keep the bulk down and trim dead ends. I go about twice a year to my hairdresser to have an actual cut.
I’ve had my run of bad hairdresser experiences (think one side lopped off shorter than the other, thus an epic amount of lock loss to balance it) so, I've have always been very tentative about anyone being allowed to slice it. The chain salons were often nightmares - they never did anything I asked for - and seem to think charging even for water is the height of customer service. Conversely, I have been to some highly lauded establishments and had an awful time, where the pretentiousness outweighed the results.
It was a bit of good luck that I found Jones & Payne hair salon back when it started in Shoreditch and I was still working at Thomson Reuters in my media-fin-tech days. It was a gorgeous environment of exposed brick, opulent mirrors and sofas. The kind of place where, even if I were not having a haircut, I would like to come and have a cup of tea just to flip through some glossies and get some headspace (I didn’t do that by the way). They love their clients and want them to feel at home: tea, coffee, fresh juices or even a sparkling bellini is all part-and-parcel of their wonderfully welcoming service.
Jones & Payne is where I discovered the capable and confident hands of a certain Ross Mclaughlan - Senior Stylist and a man who loves cutting and styling long tresses. Since we met, there has been no one else. It’s a bit of a hair-love-affair: I have the kind of trust in his ability where I can say “make magic happen please” - and he does, every time. That, and I love his personality and constant hilarious-but-non-BS banter. Whether you're going classic or wanting something edgy, Ross knows hair. OK, it can take a really long time - sometimes we’re looking at 2 hours by the time my hair is styled and good to go - and I am sure it leaves Ross wanting to bang his head against a nozzle sometimes even if he says he doesn’t - but the end result is always something I look forward to. It’s an event in itself.
Jones & Payne opened their St. Martin’s Lane, Covent Garden, outpost a couple of years ago, and that’s where I usually go for convenience, being an otherwise West London native (when I’m not hopscotching the earth). I love the environment here and all the team - it’s stylish and classy without pretence. They are in the business of giving everyone an amazing personal experience - not just a hair cut [and/or colour]. Whenever anyone asks me who do I recommend for hair, I always say “go and see Ross at Jones & Payne.” My reasons are not unfounded - this guy is booked to high heaven during fashion weeks.
Seeing Ross is one my most favourite occasions. It’s one of my "best things in life" that make me happy and my world that little bit more lovely - that’s why I want to share it with everyone. Truthfully, if I could have a blow dry every month I would. Alas, I am still hopscotching. Whether you are in London, or visiting London, get an appointment with Ross - or indeed with any of the capable Jones & Payne team - in your diary. It really is the best hairs salon in London town. Whether you have something glamorous to attend to post styling or not, you will leave feeling nothing short of amazing.
http://www.jonesandpayne.com St Martin’s Lane, London
Ross McLaughlan Senior Stylist Cut & Blow Dry, £67
Photography Thom Arnold ©