Because sometimes you just need the 411, don’t you?
***Obligatory disclaimer: These are my personal views and experiences as a local customer service user. I’m not an expert nor do I claim to be, and my experiences are recounted here for others’ interests only. I’m quite happy to respond to any questions, queries or concerns – please just email firstname.lastname@example.org***
Beauty: Ugly Betty’s, Blackheath – SEE UPDATE – NOW CLOSED
1a Cresswell Park, Blackheath Village, London SE3 9RD
A gem of a salon with the incomparable Myra on hair and the lovely Danielle on beauty. Not the cheapest I’ve ever been to but great value compared to the standard London pricing structure for the same level of service (I’m looking at you, Rush salons). Myra is fun, sweet and genuinely consultative (unlike the “lie back and let me TRANSFORM you” merchants who invariably give me the biggest hair alive), and gave me the most excellent shampoo cut and blow dry. Obvious skill, utter charm and made me feel amazing. What more could you ask for? The waxing packages also represent excellent value with the £40 package for leg, bikini, underarms and eyebrows a particular steal for the service. Only gripe? Fairly rubbish magazines. Take your own!
Recommended: The wax packages, starting at £40, and a session with Myra, from £49
Lewishambles’ rating 4.5/5
***UPDATE: Ugly Betty’s is NO MORE – it sadly closed a few weeks ago. It seems they’re still running a mobile beauty service in the area, however. The incomparable Myra is still active and can do home visits (hurrah!)
Hair: Chandler Wright Salon
7 Lee Road, Blackheath, London SE3 9RQ
I went to Chandler Wright twice last winter to see if my initial feelings had foundation (the things I do to achieve an impartial view!). The salon had been recommended to me by locals when I moved to the area and after a bit of a disaster with my previous longstanding stylist (she went on hols, my colour history wasn’t update, orange roots, yadda yadda) I was looking for something a little more local and cheaper. I’ll be honest, Chandler Wright was not cheap, and going for the cheapest option, I did feel a bit like I was low priority. Charming hairstylist and lovely atmosphere, but a really perfunctory hair wash which was actually quite rough on both occasions. Plus I’m not sure that they got quite to grips with my huge wavy hair. There was a general assumption about what I wanted rather than an actual consultation, with the outcome on both occasions being that the Lewishambles mane looked le amaze for about 3 days but then went square shaped. So for me it’s not quite the right fit, I suspect. The big upside? A genuinely amazing blow dry.
Recommended: Blow Dry bar, from £20
Lewishambles’ rating 3/5
Beauty: Aroma Beauty Rooms
2, Brightfield Road, Lee, London SE12 8QF
I feel like I’m going to end up being nicer about this place than I actually want to be, because I used this salon at the end of the day on both occasions. Being the last customer of the day is probably not a great idea, and both times I felt like I was coming out of the treatment room to an audience of therapists around the desk. To do what, who knows? Cheer me on? An odd experience. That said, while in the room, a great, efficient service with no fuss and minimal muss. The gripe? The strip wax did leave me with wax to wash off one of my legs at home, which felt a bit rushed. But I like the therapists, it’s great value (£17 for a half-leg wax and £34 for full leg and bikini) had decent results for the bikini wax. I’m going to give it another go on a day when I’m not pushing the time pressures in order to see what service is like on an unhurried schedule. The value means it gets an extra point, but I will update this when I’ve given it a fair crack of the whip – for here could lie the makings of a really decent local salon.
Lewishambles’ rating 3/5**
Hair and Beauty: Fresh Lifestyle Salon – UPDATED!
43 Tranquil Vale , Blackheath, London, SE3 OBU
A recommendation from Flatmate, who similarly had a recommendation from a friend, this is an Aveda salon and so comes with a certain quality hallmark. I found the front desk staff a little standoffish, and it seems that they do struggle to answer the phone (two days of trying – I ended up having to tramp into the salon to make an appointment. Hey guys, if you’re trying to run a business, “hard to get” is not the approach I’d go for). That said, the sheer number of ladies who lunch clogging up the schedule means that this place is probably worth the effort. It’s a real treat, being quite pricey (£55 for a half-leg and bikini, or between £49 – £69 for a haircut), but the reports I’ve had are universally good and they make my pal’s hair golden and glowy in a way I thought was totally natural until Flatmate told me the awful truth. My own treatment (wax) was a touch late to start, but extremely speedy, thorough and surprisingly gentle. I’m very happy with the results and am planning a return visit to test the hair services…
Lewishambles’ rating: 3/5 (until I test the haircut, it loses points for the cost and the slightly snooty attitude).*** see UPDATE below.
So, having decided to bite the bullet and give this place a proper go, I’m a convert. I get it, totally. My hair is swishy gorgeous loveliness and feels AMAZING, and while expensive at £55, what you get in the price includes a proper head and neck massage before you start, great products (lord, they smell great) and a genuine consultation with the stylist, who explains not only what they’re doing, but gives you tips and ideas for maintaining your style in the meantime. My stylist, Zoe, seemed in instinctively understand that I’m not a chatty Kathy in the chair, and gave off a general air of good-natured no-nonsense confidence, and took just 30 minutes to chop into the Lewishambles mane and give it a thorough sorting out. Seriously, I’m not sure if she might be the hair whisperer – my hair is behaving for the first time in about 2 years (ever since I decided in a mad moment that I wanted a fringe. BIG MISTAKE). It is expensive, for sure, and that is a big layout for every 8 weeks. But I’m fairly certain it represents excellent value for money in this area. Another bonus? A truly excellent salon soundtrack of soul classics. I don’t know why that’s important but hey, it’s my review. Until I find better this is my top local salon in Blackheath.
Lewishambles’ rating: 5/5 (combined with the excellent beauty services, this is the salon of DREEMZ.