What’s it like inside the award-winning Not Another Salon?

We’ve been obsessed with Not Another Salon on London’s Brick Lane since it first flung open its doors and now the rainbow salon has taken home not one, not two, not three but a whopping FOUR awards at the Creative HEAD Most Wanted and IT List Awards – the most prestigious awards in the world of hair. Not Another Salon has been crowned Best Salon Experience in the whole of the UK, while owner Sophia Hilton (she of the yellow hair) has been named 2017 Most Wanted Colour Expert, Business Thinker and It List Entrepreneur. Not bad eh?

But what’s it really like to get your hair done at the salon? Well, when it first opened, we sent along Layered’s Amanda – who had a blue-haired brief in mind – to try it out. Here’s what happened next…

Name of treatment: The High End Colour Bleed

Name of salon: Not Another Salon

Booked in with: Founder Sophia Hilton

Price: Bleaching from £130 with the high-end bleed from £40 on top. The Innoluxe colour additive is £30.

What they say: The Brick Lane salon has launched a campaign called “Bye Bye Grungy Dip Dye, Hello High End Bleed”, which takes a fresh look at the non-natural colour trend. Rather than a DIY vibe, it’s about creating a polished, impeccable, healthy bleeds of colour using pretty much every shade the rainbow has to offer that look polished and luxurious for any professional woman. “Times are changing, women are becoming more daring and embracing colour but they want to stay looking high end,” says Sophia, pictured below. “When my clients were 17, it was all home dye-esque and we all loved it. But those girls have grown up and they want to keep their cool image but hit a higher quality.”

Not Another Salon High End Colour Bleed

What we say: Take a look at Not Another Salon’s Instagram feed, and I defy you to not fall in love with the technicolour-terrificness on offer! Every thing looks so shiny and luxe, while still hitting the bold colour notes. I’ve experimented with pink and peachy shades, but they’ve been quite subtle, not as full-on as what Sophia has on offer. I was keen to give something stronger a go, and I’ve had my heart set on blue but a DIY test at home nine months ago sent me a weird ashy green, and I was too scared to try again.

Sophia and I talked long and hard about my choice – blue is very tough to remove once you want to do something different, and does have a tendency to go green, but she said that if I looked at putting it near the freshly bleached roots, it would work better. We agreed it would then bleed into pink.

First up, all my hair was bleached to clean up the tones and give us a fresh base to work on. Sophia insists on using Innoluxe, a colour additive that helps to stop damage in its tracks and keep hair healthy, and I can see why – all that colour, especially the bleaching, can leave your hair looking past its best. The bleach was then washed out and the fun colours applied – there’s a line-up of multi-coloured pots to choose from, it’s like being back in art class at school. They are given time to do their magic (Sophia constantly checked the development) and then they were washed out too. A lovely blow-dry and a touch of ghd magic later, and I was ready!

Results: OK, I’ll admit it – when the colour was first washed off, I was terrified. It was SO blue! But once it was blow-dried and then styled, I was thrilled. The pink was subtle, like a little candy kiss and not too girly, and I was amazed at how healthy and shiny it looked – that Innoluxe shot certainly did the trick! When my four-year old daughter saw me the following morning, she squeed: “Mummy, you have mermaid hair!” –that was the ultimate compliment! And at last view, my hair has garnered more than 1,500 likes on the salon’s Instagram page – WOW!

Anything you didn’t like? I have to say, I thoroughly enjoyed the whole experience. I was a little nervous at the idea of visiting this salon – it looks just so damn cool, as do all the staff, and I’m a chunky mum who’s the wrong side of 40. But the salon has a “no judgement” policy, and everyone was so warm and friendly (they even come round with a box of biscuits!). Also, the way the colour area is set up downstairs makes it very communal, and you end up chatting to others while your colour develops, which was really lovely. And this might sound strange, but the choice of reading material was suitably quirky too – I lost myself in a serial killers anthology!

Aftercare? Sophia has this sussed – for just £5, you can buy top-up pots of your fun colours to keep you looking fresh. Bravo – such a great idea! We also talked about the best shampoo and conditioner for me (Pureology, which I have at home already) and she said to come back if I needed to have my colours cleaned up at any point.

The bottom line: If you love daring colours, and don’t mind the occasional odd look from a befuddled commuter, then Not Another Salon is your ultimate hair destination. You could easily get addicted to the choice on offer – its such a brilliantly unique and friendly salon that you’ll be keen to go back and see what they can do next! A couple of weeks on, and my blue has faded into a lovely pale turquoise tone that had one Pret A Manger waitress gasp: “I want your hair!”. But Not Another Salon does everything colour, so if it’s highlights you want, they’ll do that too!

Not Another Salon, 188 Brick Lane, E1, notanothersalon.com