Gina Conway Aveda Salons have been shortlisted for an unprecedented nine awards this year, including London Hairdresser of the Year in the British Hairdressing Awards and Most Wanted Awards’ Best New Salon for the recently relocated Wimbledon premises.
It’s a personal success story for Gina Conway, who launched her first salon in 2001, and now has salons in some of London’s loveliest neighbourhoods – Wimbledon, Fulham and Notting Hill – which all exclusively use environmentally friendly and ethically produced Aveda products.
Inspired by the beauty of nature and her love of the mountains and sea, California-born Gina aimed to create a sanctuary where guests felt completely transformed and renewed, and this is certainly the case in her Wimbledon salon, which opened in Elys Urban Beauty in spring 2019 – moving from its previous premises just across the road.
The new mezzanine level, loft-style salon, accessed via a staircase at the rear of the Urban Beauty emporium – which is itself a treat with a downstairs blow-dry bar (also by Gina Conway), MAC counter, Londora Nail Boutique, Eye Candy lash and brow bar and more – is gorgeous. It’s light and bright with plenty of spacious stations, marble-topped and dressed with round, minimalist back-lit mirrors, a healthy smattering of succulents and ivy-draped vintage wooden ladders hanging from the ceiling.
The hair-washing area, by contrast, is dimly lit with dark walls – a cosy retreat where you’re covered with the softest of towels and offered a lavender eye mask while your hair is washed and gently scalp massaged till it tingles. Scented candles, Aveda teas and chakra sprays add to the relaxing ambiance.
‘The hair-washing area is a cosy retreat where you’re covered with the softest of towels and offered a lavender eye mask while your hair is washed and gently scalp massaged till it tingles’
You can also opt for a Spa Haircut, with an additional 15-minute mini facial peel prior to your shampoo, which is perfect for those who don’t have time for both the spa and the salon. It’s all part of Gina’s holistic approach to hair styling and spa treatments. As a mother of three herself, her busy lifestyle inspires her innovative in-salon services.
Now, I have serious commitment issues when it comes to hairdressers. My 13 years in London have seen me move house every two-to-three years, so I just never settled down when it comes to stylists. As a result, I often go a good year between hair cuts, rocking rather long hair which, though in generally good nick, tends to be flat and scraggly. So when I do finally cross the threshold of a hair salon, it tends to conjure feelings of guilt similar to those experienced at the dentist, you know, when you haven’t been for about five years…?
But after a judgement-free hair consultation with Salon Director Davide Spinelli – which essentially consisted of me saying ‘SOS, just cut it all off!’ and him sensibly advising that we don’t do anything too drastic – I was treated to a gorgeous head, neck and shoulder massage (every customer gets one) with a blend of essential oils containing chamomile and lavender.
This gorgeous new salon and its wonderful team might just be enough to get me to tend my tresses more regularly. Sure, I live in Greenwich and traversing London from south east to south west remains a pain in the rear end – the Overground and Crossrail both artfully failing to address the issue – but I nearly fell asleep three times during this hair appointment (head massage; hair wash; blow dry), and for that, I’m willing to undertake the journey (which, to be fair, takes less than an hour). Plus, Wimbledon is always a lovely place to be.
Davide Spinelli, incidentally, has earned Gina Conway one of its nine recent award nominations, named as a finalist in HJ’s British Hairdressing Awards 2019. Having worked at Gina’s Notting Hill salon some years ago and, after a seven year hiatus working at a Trevor Sorbie salon in Covent Garden, returned to what he called ‘home’, because, he says, he loves Gina and her salons.
‘Davide impressed more than 100 hair industry judges with his exceptional skill in cutting and colouring to be named one of just six stylists shortlisted for London Hairdresser of the Year’
It was a pleasure to have him work his magic on my hair, and as we chatted away (it’s a very friendly, chatty salon) we discovered that we were born in the same year, we both love Crystal Palace (he lives there, I drink there) and that, yes, travelling from SE to SW London is a bit of a pain.
Davide, originally from Italy but a London resident for more than 10 years (it took far too long for sourdough to arrive in London, he says), impressed more than 100 hair industry judges with his exceptional skill in cutting and colouring to be named one of just six stylists shortlisted for the prestigious London Hairdresser of the Year category.
I left the salon with bouncy, shoulder-length that now swishes and swooshes and is much easier to blow dry than my long, lank locks. The little spring in my step added by how relaxing the whole experience was (what emails?!). The salon also offers pregnancy treatments, and chaps are well catered for too with the whole hot towel service (the new Barber Shop in Notting Hill has a comprehensive grooming menu).
But it’s not just the hair that turns heads here – the Gina Conway difference is certainly garnering some attention with the haul of aforementioned award nominations also including Hair Magazine Awards’ Best London Salon; Most Wanted Awards’ Best New Salon (Wimbledon); British Hairdressing Business Awards Customer Service Award / Business Director of the Year Award; Men’s Colour Genius; Aveda UK Fashionista; and Best Medium Business Award / Best Service Excellence in the Merton Best Business Awards. Not bad, huh?
Gina Conway Aveda Salons are located at:
62 Westbourne Grove W2 5SH; 020 7229 6644
20 Wimbledon Hill Road SW19 7NU; 020 8090 5818
612 Fulham Road SW6 5RP; 020 7731 7633
HJ’s British Hairdressing Awards – the Oscars of the hair world – take place on 25 November. Good luck Davide!