Luxury London heads to the extension queen of the capital, Vixen & Blush
Scrolling through my Instagram ‘Explore’ page one solemn Sunday evening, I came across a before and after shot of someone’s hair pre- and post- extensions. The transformation was incredible – the hair was perfectly waved, colour-matched and, at the same time, looked entirely natural. It was a post from hair extension specialist Vixen & Blush. I knew from this moment, my dry, lacklustre and damaged hair needed a trip to the salon in Shoreditch.
Before discovering Vixen & Blush, just 10 minutes from Liverpool Street station, I (ashamedly) assumed extensions were the reserve of Love Island wannabes, with wefts of fake hair that were so obviously bogus. How wrong I was. At V&B, the ethos is that the hair extensions need to look totally natural, which is harder than it sounds.
At the salon, I’m greeted by its founder and director Sarah McKenna, whose journey into hair extensions wasn’t the usual one. She graduated from University College Dublin with a degree in biochemistry and went to work in the world of pharmaceuticals. In 2008, she wanted to get hair extensions herself, but was disappointed with the offerings and wanted to find a way of creating amazing quality hair extensions that looked natural. She trained as a hairdresser and then travelled around the globe to find the most superior class of hair and opened her first salon in 2012 in Clapham, before moving to the Shoreditch site in April 2014. She also opened on Great Titchfield Street near Oxford Circus in May 2015.
McKenna greets me warmly as I take a seat in front of the mirror hanging on the vibrant vintage postcard-print wallpaper. She asks me what I’m after. I tell her my hair is really fine, so I’d like some extra volume and an inch or so extra length. “No problem.”
As my hair is thin, she recommends micro bonding, which is much better for finer hair. Micro rings, she tells me, are more popular as you can reuse them.
V&B uses 100 per cent Russian virgin hair – meaning it’s completely unprocessed and appears as though your own. Nor does it tangle or dry out. The way the salon ensures a totally natural look is by colour matching on a microscopic level, with each client receiving a bespoke match by taking loose hair and having it matched up by hand – no pre-made packets in sight, here.
McKenna applies a quarter of extensions, which takes approximately between one and a half to two hours (a full head of extensions takes up to four). A quarter or half head suits finer hair better, and are much less visible higher up. McKenna does this with total precision and ease, and doesn’t bore me with the usual hairdresser exchange.
Finishing up by trimming the extensions to make sure they’re completely blended in, McKenna leaves me feeling like I’ve stepped straight out of a Herbal Essences advert. My new, shiny hair has a bounce all of its own. For those who don’t want to commit to extensions, V&B also offer seamless clip-in hair extensions, made from the same virgin hair.