New year, new hair?
If you're bored of your barnet, head to this cool, quirky new salon in Oxford pronto. See how they transformed Kerry...
We’d heard very good things about groovy Czech hair stylist Zaneta Lichnova’s new-ish salon on Cowley Road in Oxford. But could she work a miracle on Kerry’s manky mop? Spoiler alert: YES! Wanna see how?
My hair was desperate for cut and colour as it’s been three long months since I had time to visit a salon. My first grey hairs (whimper) had sprouted at the front and needed blitzing pronto, my grown-out blonde highlights had left limp, dark roots in their wake and the ends have a Worzel Gummidge vibe courtesy of too much bleach. Lovely! I’m trying to grow it out but at the same time want it angled so it’s longer at the front than the back. I want it less blonde as the colour is too summery for these colder months. Oh, and it still needs to be able to go into a ponytail for busy days. Demanding, moi?
It’s tucked away down the student-y, boho Cowley Road, with an unassuming exterior – I actually walked past it despite keeping ’em peeled. But inside it’s lovely – bright and airy thanks to the floor-to-ceiling windows, with cool, mid-century seating in zingy mustard, a mad spiky reception desk, quirky light fittings, vases of tulips and a shiny Smeg fridge housing the prosecco (oh yeah). My pet hate in hairdressers it that dark, decadent boudoir-y look with loads of textured wallpaper and low-lighting – but here you can see what they’re doing. And crucially the people wielding the scissors can see too.
Zaneta is a big-hearted, ever-so-slightly-eccentric 26-year-old dynamo who worked for Toni & Guy in Prague from the age of 15 before transferring to the Oxford branch for a year and then setting up her own salon. The premises used to be a sex shop – she shows me the photos of the grotty black boarded-up exterior. With the help of her partner and builder dad, she spent a month utterly transforming it (apparently they still receive rather fruity post addressed to the former residents). She opened in 2016 and along with stylist Jason and colourist Sophie, has built up a diverse loyal following of students, hip local mums and older ladies (she even had a passing Shetland pony stop by for an Instagram photo – this kind of randomness happens on Cowley Road). Here she is with the salon dog, her beloved Noah. Doesn’t she look cool? Always a good sign.
If you’re up to the eyeballs with work, you’ll be pleased to hear the wi-fi is good – I beavered away on my laptop throughout, while the salon opening hours are a working woman-friendly 9am-8pm Monday to Saturday.
HOW THEY DID IT
The colour (by Sophie): “We’re going for a creamy beige look which will tone down the blonde and look more natural for winter. It’ll also be lower-maintenance as the regrowth won’t be so obvious. It’s very dark at the back so I’ll put through a full head of highlights to even it out. We use Kevin Murphy products which are ammonia and PPD free are will be gentle on Kerry’s fine, over-processed hair.”
The cut (by Zaneta): “I’m going to take it up at the nape of the neck and take some thickness from that back section to create an angle down to the front. And I’ll cut in some shorter sections at the front which will flatter the face more and look better when you have it in a ponytail. It’s all very well leaving a salon with it perfectly styled but I’m going to ensure the cut will work with your everyday quick bedroom upside down blowdry too.”
THE RESULTS Basically, this is the best cut and colour I’ve had for a really long time. So much so, I promptly sent my husband and a close friend Zaneta’s way for the chop. We checked out Pinterest boards together at the beginning so she got a sense of what I was after – a smart move as she totally nailed the mussed-up, edgy finish I craved (I love it when the front sections ping out messily at the ends). Add in a fancy new Dyson hairdryer (£300 apiece but totally worth it, apparently) and curling tongs (she threw in a tutorial on how to use them effectively) et voilà. Sophie was a total whizz with the highlights too – I’m still blonde but in an understated, expensive-looking way. The Australian brand Kevin Murphy colouring products are ammonia and PPD-free so were gentle on my super-fine, damaged hair.
My full head of highlights cost £85 and cut £50, so £135 total – I think this is very reasonable for work of this calibre in a city location, given many salons in Oxford, let alone London, nudge £200 for the same. Students, NHS staff and Oxfam workers get a 10 percent discount, which is rather nice no? She also does men’s cut and colour (from £25) and children’s cuts, so it’s a one-stop shop for the whole family.
Zaneta Lichnova, 181 Cowley Road, Oxford OX4 1UT; 01865 240642, zlsalon.co.uk