A girl and her hairdresser have a very sacred bond. It’s a relationship that can take a long time to acquire and develop. Finding the right hairdresser is a bit like finding a husband. You have to go through a lot of frogs and sit in a lot of chairs before finding The One. When you find The One, you don’t let him go. You make time for him in your schedule, listen to his advice, and treat him very well at Christmas.
But, unfortunately, sometimes even the greatest relationships are torn apart. There are a number of reasons why, but for me, it was a move. I had been with Jesse for a number of years. There were many others before him but no one stuck. I had even been called a “chair tramp” at one point in my life. Could you imagine! I didn’t mean to hop around from salon chair to salon chair, I just needed someone who could fulfill my simple request. I wanted a cut that looked great at the salon and when I did my hair the next day. I always looked great leaving the salon. The same affect those skinny mirrors have on your body when you try on clothing at a store. But, when you get home, you may be looking at something completely different.
After my first cut with Jesse, I came out of the salon looking like a bombshell (as usual), but the shape of the cut finally stayed awesome. Even a month later with an air-dry! I had found my person! With him I was comfortable and willing to experiment with maybe a few lowlights, some bangs, and even a subtle ombré. It was a very exciting time in my life. Then, having to leave Jesse for London was almost as hard as leaving my family and friends. It was a huge loss and I knew I would be taking backwards steps to the “chair tramp” days of my life to find someone new all over again! This long, painful journey is what has led me to this giant DON’T!
Gina Conway Aveda is a rip-off. Plain and simple. It is not a true Aveda salon, but instead a “partner”, which takes existing salons and allows them to flash the recognizable Aveda name by their commitment solely to Aveda’s product range and their branding. This name could work wonders for the salon attached to it. Aveda has had a great reputation. At one time I used to love Aveda. I used to think their hand cream was magical. Now I don’t want any of it. Anywhere. Ever again.
With my Ayurvedic medicine fascination, you would think the inspired Aveda brand would be right up my alley. That’s partially why I did love it in the beginning of my beauty regimen life. Now, I view Aveda as a sellout with nothing holistic going on–especially at Gina Conway Aveda on Westbourne Grove.
Gina Conway Aveda is an uncomfortable experience from beginning to end. You walk into a busy salon that does not have proper air conditioning. It is so hot that you immediately shed your jacket and watch them shove it into a messy closet. If you’re getting a facial, you are brought downstairs to a dark, humid basement. There, an unfriendly and aggressive aesthetician attacks your face in an impersonal manner. There’s no friendly banter. There’s nothing. Just a one-hour time slot to get her job done, and then on to the next victim.
If you’re getting a haircut, you are brought down to another area of the basement for a wash. In this area, they try to be original by having you sit first in a chair for a massage. You get to select the scent of the oil they use and then the massage lasts about 30 seconds. The theatrics of it all is laughable and a waste of time. I would prefer a longer massage at the sink like a normal place. But then again…that’s only if their sink works properly. For over a month (!) the salon did not have any hot water! Their boiler was broken and the unprofessional staff told me that Gina was taking forever to fix it and that I should complain because it would increase the chances of getting it fixed! She then, at the end of the wash, offered to boil water. It was a little too late. What I would have really liked was a heads up or perhaps a discount for the inconvenience.
But nope, no discounts at Gina Conway Aveda. And all the services come with higher price tags. Cuts average £75 between all of their stylist levels. Facials average about £87/hour. These prices would not seem so harsh to me if the salon was a comfortable temperature, with a friendly staff, and you know, HOT WATER.
Another gripe I have with the salon, is the constant upselling. I could never trust anyone there. Behind every hair or skincare tip was always another product to buy. The facialists never even gave consistent suggestions–constantly offering different products and trying to switch my skincare regimen monthly. They made me feel like just another number that they could squeeze dry.
Seriously, don’t waste your time at this salon. At Gina Conway Aveda, you won’t feel special or relaxed at all. You’ll feel taken advantage of. London is a huge city with a ton of other hair and skincare options. Stay tuned while I explore them for you!
Aveda Lifestyles Salon
62 Westbourne Grove
London W2 5SH