Hair-oes of colour: Skyler London

Skyler London is the UK’s first colour-only salon, located in Wandsworth Town. Skyler McDonald, a big name in the hair world, designed the creative concept and was a member of the Sean Hanna group for a number of years before striking solo.

Unusually for a salon, it does not offer any of the traditional cutting services. Skyler is an abode of pure colour, implemented only by the best specialists that have completed an advanced, tailored training programme, putting them in a league of their own.

Their disruptive new business model has streamlined their services, making booking appointments easier, performing treatments faster and getting the best results a guarantee.

Salon Savvy

Stepping through the glass front doors, SL’s core theme of transparency and fun, without compromise on quality, is immediately apparent. In the entrance stands a colossal slide connecting the upper blow-dry bar to the colour stations downstairs. That’s one way to speed-dry your locks.

The first part of the consultation involves being led over to a sci-fi worthy 360 room. Perched on a stool, completely surrounded by mirrors, a stylist flicks between different light settings, in order to demonstrate the spectrum of ashy to golden shades and assess which of these would best compliment your skin tone.

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Once the shade is set you’ll head over to the washbasin for a rinse, sans neck burn and uncomfortable seating; the fully electric chairs completely recline into long, flat beds offering only a pleasant experience, especially when it comes to the complimentary head and neck massage.

A choice moment was relaxing in the Chill Station after the foils had been set, which felt a little like an adult crèche. Surrounded by sweet dispensers, mindfulness colouring books, magazines and sipping on a colour-changing herbal tea, it beat fiddling around on my phone in a salon chair for 20 minutes.

The golden balayage I opted for was exactly the right colour – neither an orangey, brassy blonde nor a bleached white crop, just right. A result that has been notoriously difficult to achieve at many different salons in the past. If you want to minimise your risks when it comes to a complete colour transformation, this is the place. The L’Oreal equivalent of the highly coveted Olaplex treatment (L’oreal Professional Smartbond) was also applied during my colouring process, which limited any damage and helped to keep hair healthy.

Skyler’s Instagram feed is adorned with a beautiful array of everything form the ordinary to the extraordinary – glossy brunettes, bright purples, and rainbow roots, you name it, they can do it. If you’re the kind of person that likes to top up or experiment regularly, they also have a Kaleidoscope club, which offers unlimited bookings for a set monthly fee. There are 3 levels of membership depending on your budget and needs.

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It’s the first time in a long time that I’ve left a colour appointment not wondering whether I should put a little extra toner in at home, wait for it to fade and grow out a bit, or make a few alterations here and there (which never bodes well). I highly recommend a visit and a consult, even if it’s just to investigate the amusement park of gratifying interiors for the first time. You can quite easily book online here: https://www.skylerlondon.com/

Some hairy interesting facts for the curious

Why do we have so much hair on our heads?

I’ve been so intrigued about this but it actually seems that many anthropologists and biologists still haven’t agreed on an exact answer. We have hair on ours heads for heat regulation and UV protection, but why does our facial and head hair continue to grow so long? Here are 3 theories:

  • Aquatic ape evolution: apparently it’s thought that our water born ancestors might have had their offspring latch onto their hair in the water, so the longer the hair of the mother, the more easily their children could latch. This is believed to be supported by the fact that aquatic animals are almost always hairless, so we evolved to lose the hair elsewhere and were once highly aquatically adapted.
  • A tool for mate selection in the Darwinian school of thought: purely for attraction
  • Environmental reasons: because when we started walking on two legs, our head was the main part exposed to the sun and other body hair became less important with the development of sweat glands.

Potentially a mix of all the above.

Why does the hair on our bodies not grow as long as on our heads?

The cells that grow the hair on our arms and heads are programmed differently. On the body the cells stop growing every couple of months so that the hair stays short, whereas the hair on our heads grows all year round, in a concise nutshell.

A bit on the science and history of hair colouring:

Did you know that in ancient Greece they were purported to have used harsh soaps and bleaches to lighten and redden hair, as it was a colour that was associated with honour and courage? Whereas first century Romans preferred darker colours, using dyes concocted from boiled walnuts and leaks.

The French chemist (Eugene Schuller) who actually invented the new chemical for the first line of commercially safe colouring in 1909, was the founder of L’Oreal!

Colourants work by removing sulphur from the hair and separating the cuticle so that the applied colour can penetrate the cortex. Semi-permanent dyes contain little colour molecules that don’t interact with your natural pigment and offer a less dramatic result; whereas permanent dyes have molecules that enter the hair and expand so they cannot be washed out. The end result is a combination of your natural pigment and the chosen colour. This is why if you are going from a colour like brown to blonde, you have to first use bleach to strip the hair of its natural pigment. Or you end up with the classic reddy-orange.

Is dye bad for your hair?

Less so when done by a qualified professional, as opposed to experimenting with an at-home kit. When it comes to hair you really do get what you pay for, as it’s all about experience and technique.

Over-processing is always a bad thing but with proper maintenance it’s possible to keep the hair healthy. Try restorative treatments such as Olaplex, formaldehyde-free brazillian and nano keratin blow dries or glossy toners.

Don’t forget to take care of your scalp health as well, using nourishing serums, ensuring you ingest foods containing biotin, niacin and b vitamins and investing in a good quality products.

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