You know that dilemma when you discover something that’s so good you want to keep it a secret – whilst also shouting about it to the world? Well that’s kind of how I feel about SLaM, my latest hair salon discovery (or obsession). In dire need of a fresh set of highlights, I did a little research, talked to a few neighbourhood blondes whose colour had caught my eye and decided to book in – and mamas I am so glad I did!
A super sassy salon, SLaM is almost a year old (why didn’t I find it earlier?!), this is where the cool kids (and mamas) hang out and has become the go-to hair destination for everyone from blogger Tala Samman to our very own beauty contributor (and Beauty Ed of Savoir Flair) Frankie. Conceived by stylist Rachel Stevenson together with partners Sara Lootah and Therese McQuaid who have put together an all-star cast of stylists from some of Dubai’s best salons, this is more than just a place to get fabulous hair, with a nail station and beauty rooms also on site. Oh and it’s open 7 days a week – hallelujah!
Hidden away just near Tom & Serg in Al Quoz (perfect for a pre-appointment snack or coffee), the space is cosy but has an edgy urban feel with poured concrete floors, chunky wooden mirrors, a little exposed brick and industrial ceiling. If there’s one thing I really don’t like about visiting the hairdresser it’s staring at my reflection in the mirror for the duration, the new wrinkles and imperfections leaping out at me under the usually flouro lights. So it was a lovely (and very welcome) change to be in a salon where natural light pours in from floor to ceiling windows, complimented by soft overhead bulbs –perfect for seeing your colour develop but not so harsh as to frighten you into visiting a cosmetic surgeon the moment you leave.
My stylist and colourist was Debbie, an awesome Aussie with the kind of cool haircut and colour that makes you think ‘yes this place gets it’, who also just happens to be a skydiver in her spare time (how cool is that?!) and who is known for her great highlights. My challenge to her was to eliminate the ‘blocky’ look and take away the orange tinge that always seems to creep in after a few weeks. Debbie explained that she isn’t a fan of lowlights and to achieve a natural sun-kissed blonde on mousy hair like mine (my words not hers), it’s better to go with a powder lightener, applied for just the right length of time so as to not look overly bleached. Sounded good! She explained that she needed to ‘make the history hers’, to pick through my hair and blend all those recent visits to a few different salons so that everything looked uniform and not patchy – hooray! As Debbie weaved in her magic, we chatted about everything from life in Dubai to hair and the water/hair loss theory (not true in her opinion – its stress and lifestyle that causes hair to fall – yes that probably explains it!).
Looking like something from the future, my hair covered in foils, Debbie left the colour to develop naturally (no heater) while I caught up on some of the mags and sipped tea. Bliss.
Now mamas I’ve always been of the opinion that toner is something hairdressers use to fix a colour that’s gone dodgy – or just a way of stinging a client for a few extra dirhams – so I put this theory to Debbie when she explained that yes this does sometimes happen (I knew it!) but that in my case she wanted to use a toner as a treatment and to delete my old hair colour history. After a couple of visits she said my colour would be so good that a toner wouldn’t be needed.
At this point I need to mention the flat-beds at the sinks, literally the most comfortable hair-washing experience I’ve ever had (and a scalp massage to boot) – worth a visit alone!
Colour done, it was time to get cutting – I recently had my hair chopped short (non-mumsy-bob) so Debbie gave it a good trim before blow-drying and revealing the final look. Mamas I am SO happy with my colour –natural, non-brassy and the perfect shade of blonde.
Whether you’re after balayage or ombre, highlights or a great cut, SLaM passed the Sassy Mama test with flying colours – I’ll definitely be back.