After a highlighting disaster that involved a bottle of SunIn when I was 16, I haven’t dared colour my hair. Eventually of course, the bleached streaky, stripes grew out and I was left with my natural, light brown with a slight auburn sheen (that’s the Irish roots!) that was nothing more than a dull mop of thick hair.
But, when I was invited to visit the Maximiliano Centini Salon in leafy Fulham I immediately knew I would be in safe hands.
Albeit a little walk from the tube station – which for a London salon is considered a bit of a faux-pas if you’re to keep your freshly pampered barnet intact – the salon is cosy, homely and utterly welcoming.
Sitting in the vintage barber chair, I chatted to Max, a frank but extremely friendly Florentine who knows everything there is to know about hair and styling. I soon found out that the salon is not only professional, adorably decorated and kitted out with the cosiest nail station I have ever seen, but also ultra eco-friendly.
Since opening the salon in 2004, Max and his wife Jessica have done everything they can to make the salon as green as possible. Almost 90 per cent of the waste in the salon is recycled, Max explained to me, everything except hair and the aluminium foils used for highlights and colours.
Recyclable and biodegradable paper towels made out of recycled material are imported from Australia and are used instead of cotton towels. This helps the salon cut down on laundry loads, reducing both detergent use and energy consumption from washing machines and tumble driers
Even the water from the basins is sent through a filtering device so that no harmful chemicals are washed into the water system.
But with every product, in both the hair and nail salon, being formaldehyde and paraben free, the chemicals that are being treated by the filter system is already considerably less than your average salon.
And as I sat there, with my hair completely wrapped in foils (looking like The Lion King with a techno edge) eagerly waiting for my honey blonde highlights to develop, I couldn’t help but think that that was a pretty amazing achievement for the salon.
I wasn’t left to my own devices long though. Jess heads up the nails and lash bar side of the salon and boy, is she good. My neglected, dry, cracked and scraggly nails were transformed into pretty, elegant and well groomed hands. All thanks to her magic touch and Jessica Nail’s GELeration polishes. All while sipping tea in the most comfortable mani/pedi chair ever!
After all that pampering, I completely forgotten about my impending hair colour big reveal! A nourishing wash, head massage and Davine Vegetable Gloss Treatment later, I had the perfect highlights! Reminiscent of summer months spent in Italy when I was much younger, I had the perfect beach highlights. They framed my face in the all the right places without ever looking ‘stripy’ – it was perfect.
Max and Jess’s salon is not only the most environmentally conscious salon in London I have come across, but it has to be the most homely and friendliest too. All you have to do is listen to the deep chats between client and stylist (in both Italian and English) – the whole salon has an irrepressible joy and family feel, right down to the family dog who sleeps soundly in the salon corner.
With the best manicure I’ve ever had and dazzling hair to match, I was waved off at the door by the team. You realise as soon as you step outside the door that you’ll no doubt be coming back soon.
Full head of highlights by Maximiliano Centini, from £130. GELeration manicure by Jessica Centini, £40. For appointments please call 020 7384 1450.