Many of the barbers I’ve reviewed and tried have been about indulging in the treatment, taking time to appreciate the luxury of the service and ultimately being rewarded with a full grooming experience designed to relax the mind as well as sharpen up your hairstyle. However, in this world of eating lunch at your desk, rushed coffee meetings and multiple social events all planned within the same 2 hour time period, it’s not always possible to spend an 60-90 minutes in the barber if you want to fit it all in.
Fortunately, Aveda have created a quirky solution to this problem by launching a temporary pop-up store in Soho, providing express men’s grooming treatments at fair prices. A few weeks back I was in need of a haircut during lunch so stopped by for one of their “express treatments” to get a feel for the salon and find out whether this is speed over service…
The salon itself is a very unassuming shop located on Mortimer St (just off Great Portland St) with minimalist, Scandinavian-inspired decor creating a clean look that feels a tad clinical at first but soon warms as you get comfortable in the chair. The huge room is bathed in natural light and exudes refined masculinity in its character. Once I had arrived at reception and requested a haircut, I was met by Stel who is one the Head Barbers for Aveda men and Hackney-born grooming enthusiast who teaches barber skills around the world.
Even though this was an express treatment that claimed to be done in under 30 minutes, I never felt rushed by any of the staff or the treatment. Movements were deliberate and clean, the hairwash was relaxing and the haircut itself was given care and attention by the barber. We maintained a good conversation about the salon and I was keen to hear about his work with Aveda and as a barber. 10 minutes in and so far everything was efficient yet enjoyable.
Prioritizing Quality Products
One of the real treats of the service was the fact that the products used are all of a high quality, but not always Aveda. Indeed, you can find brands like Tom Ford and Zegna sat on the shelves next to the Aveda collections. This focus on using top quality grooming ranges really heightens the overall experience and shows the salon is willing to utilize the performance of top products to help compliment their services. Everything uses natural ingredients and everything smells beautifully fresh, a mixture of mint, eucalyptus and floral fragrances enhance the treatment with luxurious style.
As my haircut was finishing up, I made a impulse decision to get a quick facial treatment to help freshen me up for the rest of the day. One mint gel mask and a hot towel later, I was reclined in the chair as the barber prepared to style my cut. I was 25 minutes into the treatment now, yet it felt like I had been there for an hour, I was relaxed, de-stressed and pampered, with half of my lunch hour to go.
With just under 35 minutes gone I was out of the chair and back at the desk sorting out the last of my treatment. The staff told me they would be around for the next 3 months or so, to see the gentlemen of London through summer. Stepping back onto Mortimer St, I picked up some lunch and headed back to the office. In less than an hour I had gone from slightly overgrown mess to sharp and refreshed, not bad for those of us who value our time.
This is a perfect grooming salon for men on-the-go with a variety of treatments done in express times but don’t sacrifice the quality of service. Aveda’s pop-up is, in my opinion, a great success that works thanks to a perfect location, conservation of time and fantastically talented staff. Treatments range from £10 upwards and are usually finished in under 40 minutes. Best of all, no appointment is required so walk-ins are always welcome. Grooming with speed never felt so good and came in at such good value.
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