And, more importantly, can you get a decent hair cut on a walk-in basis? I’m very lucky to be able to have a (free) hair cut with pretty well any of the big London salons – in fact, I have a card that entitles me to six free hair cuts a year at one of the real biggies – any time I want one. But, more and more, the same hairdressers – those with a good PR – appear on beauty pages for their luxurious surroundings, pampering head massages or complimentary breakfast with your morning blow dry. And needless to say, you have wait about a month for an appointment. But, that’s so not me. For a start, I hate having my head kneaded into a different shape by a total stranger, I’m as happy with a cup of Tetley as I am with a chi-chi cappuchino with biscotti, my life doesn’t work around pre-arranged appointments as everything changes so quickly, and I don’t think skill equates to surroundings.
So, I put myself to the test today and decided to take the first central London walk-in appointment that was available. I just thought, okay, I’ll go to the first place I see and if they have a now appointment, I’ll take it. So, I found myself in Soho, and I have to confess I passed the very first place I saw on the grounds that it was upstairs. If there’s one thing that living in London teaches you, it’s that you don’t go upstairs in Soho. Ending up on Berwick Street, I wandered into Basecuts. Now, nobody could say it is luxurious. It’s clean, functional and spacious, but, you know straight away there’s no frills. But, thankfully, my point is proved. I got a wash, cut and blow dry straight away in about 40 minutes flat. The cut, done by Karen, was brilliant (I wasn’t asking for anything radical..just a trim really) – she chatted just the right amount, starting about asking me about my work which I immediately clammed up about. Again, experience tells me if you tell anyone in that field that you are a beauty writer, it’s just a non-starter – they feel under pressure to do the cut of their life and I feel under pressure to be more glamorous and interesting than I really am! So, she didn’t push it – I spent most of the time replying to emails on my phone and she just got on with it.
I asked her not to do a head-massage and she didn’t; she stuck to exactly what she said she would do by literally just trimming about an inch of the raggy ends, and she went very gradually on my fringe until we got to a length I was happy with. The blow dry was great – a few wedding curls at the end I could have done without but nothing major – and I left looking infinitely better than I’d started off. In fact, at my next meeting, my companion commented on how shiny my hair looked.
And the cost? £36. Hardly a fortune. I was absolutely delighted with the salon – it ticked all the boxes for my requirements in a no fuss, no frills way and I’d definitely go back. It’s one of the most easy hairdressing experiences I’ve had and with no pay-back review necessary because I paid for it like anyone else, it’s a pleasure to recommend Karen.
Basecuts, 97 Berwick Street, Soho.