Reviewed by Alexina Golding
Elaje Hair and Beauty Salon is situated in Cambridge on Hills Road, opposite the Leisure Park, which is the South side of the city. You will find it under some residential flats, on the corner.
There is no parking directly next to the salon, although there is a drop off point and they will accommodate parking for people with mobility difficulties.
You can park at the leisure park behind Sainsbury’s for free, rather than the big multi car park. There is a few minutes walk to the beauty salon. It is on the main city’s bus routes and there are various buses that go past frequently.
The salon itself is sleek and bright with lots of big windows and the layout gives maximum discretion, which is just what you need with a head full of foils.
As you enter there is a reception desk, which is front of house and on this occasion looked after by Jolie. When I went in for my colour test to check I didn’t have a reaction when I was going in for my appointment she was busy, but soon called someone over. I was taken round the corner which faces Hills Road, there are comfortable leather settee’s with two nail bars. The area is spacious and although a lady was having nail treatment it wasn’t intrusive for either of us.
I had to fill a form in for allergies etc… and a small cotton bud to apply colour was placed behind each ear. With instructions to call if I had any itchiness, to wash off the colour in 45 minutes. I had no reaction, I had booked my appointment for the following week. A facial and a neck, shoulder massage as well as a half head of colours and a cut.
I have decided to grow most of my colour out being grey at a young age, and having fun with colours.
Jolie, took this on board and passed the information on to the stylist as I got a call the next day asking if I could change my appointment to be able to have my colour with their top colour expert. Of course I agreed.
We worked out that it would be best to have my facial and then cut and colour… this would take approximately an hour for the facial/massage and two/two half hours for the cut and colour.
On arrival for my appointment there was a very warm welcome and again Jolie was busy on the phone, but I was soon seen to by another member of staff, this turned out to be Michelle who is a beauty therapist and would be doing my facial. She took my coat and I had an offer of a drink very quickly, I was seated in the leather settees while I filled out a form for the medical treatments for the beauty therapist, these would be kept on file for future use.
The therapist rooms are down a small corridor near the nail bar tables, Michelle took me in and went through the form, what I did to look after my skin, which I admit recently has been very poor… busy mum, work etc… she tried not to look too shocked and kindly said that once I had my face cleansed she would take the treatment from there. Asking if there was any issues I felt I had with my skin, or anything I was looking for in the facial, as in a relaxing facial, deep cleanse etc… She left me to get ready for the treatment for a few minutes as I had to take some clothing off with having a shoulder/neck massage.
The room was big enough to get round without feeling too big, it was warm enough without being too warm and there was places to put your clothing and shoes. Michelle knocked discreetly and came in.
I laid back and had my face cleansed, at this point the lights had been turned lower and the music playing softly in the background. After cleansing Michelle explained that she would be turning the light up to see if there was any issues to worry about, she advised that I had some dehydration and my nose was congested… and she would concentrate on those areas.
The light turned back down, music playing and I honestly cannot list in order what or how many treatments I had, but they smelled and felt lush, at one point I had a gently facial steam, which was to help with the dehydration.
As well as the facial, I had a neck massage, shoulder and arm massage, which helped with the whole relaxing experience.
The hour was soon up, the previous massage I had to this I felt I had been pummelled to anything and was flinching, Michelle gave a firm massage, but not to the point of discomfort.
Michelle said that for the little I do to my skin, I was lucky and explained the products she had used and gave me samples. I also had a moisturiser with a light radiant glow in it, I must admit it helped. Although my skin is good it looked better, and more radiant when I left. There was no pressure to buy any products. I left feeling relaxed and much better and younger than when I arrived.
I sat in reception for a few minutes, drinking some water, waiting to be called for my cut and colour consultation.
The salon runs smoothly, without rush or a feeling of not being looked after either. The hair salon is at the back of Elaje, with the side windows again being large. It was very bright and this meant you were on a side street rather than sitting with foils facing the busier front of house.
There are large mirrors in front of you and only two chairs placed next to each other. The whole salon gives as much discretion as it can. They could have fitted more seating in, but this gave it a more personal feel.
The space also gave way for wheelchair access with a toilet at the front near the beauty therapists and a larger toilet at the back of the salon where if you needed it you could access with a wheelchair.
I was taken through to meet Miriam who would be my colourist and she is MCE Master Colour Expert for Wella no less, with Fiona being my hairdresser for the afternoon.
I had admitted that I was growing my hair, but needed a cut and had left it a while to get some length. We discussed the look that I would like and the colour that I wished for, I was after some pink in my hair.
This pleased Miriam who was up for a challenge and I also left it with her, saying that I was looking for something different, I wanted a sleek cut, with fun colours. I didn’t want a full head of colour due to regrowth and as I was grey I wanted some fun…
They decided that Fiona would cut my hair first, with Miriam then colouring it and Fiona finishing off the cut afterwards.
As I was there for so long, Jolie kindly popped next door to get me a roll and snack, I ate this while awaiting my cut, as Fiona was finishing with a client.
There was a steady stream of customers all afternoon and the clientele was varied. What I did see and like was that although Jolie was very much front of house she walked round, picking up towels, cups etc… as did the other members of staff, if there were junior members I couldn’t tell between them all. It was lovely to see, everyone just seemed to do a job if they saw it needed doing.
I also noticed that there were regular customers, and they had a lovely rapport with the hairdressers.
There was only two wash sinks, but this didn’t deter from the flow of the treatments I was having and they cleverly put a TV screen on a wall in front of you. Which brings me to cleanliness, well I was looking up having my hair washed, the ceilings, corners were as good and clean as the rest of the salon.
I had a hair wash and was taken to have my cut, Fiona dried my hair after the cut and explained she would be back later to thin out, and trim if it needed it after the colour.
Every step was explained in both the facial and the hair cut, with just enough information without feeling that they were telling you there job, they explained the products they were using, and how long the foils would be on, I was asked repeatedly if I required drinks, or magazines.
Miriam came and explained she would be putting my hair in foils, then taking them off, washing my hair then adding the colour.
It was exciting as I had left it to her…
Having my hair put in foils took a while, but not uncomfortably so, Once finished I was put under a heat lamp to speed the process, the colour was washed off, hair dried without being too shocked as Miriam had bleached the front of my hair, she had already mixed the colour to put on top when I was under the heat lamp and once this was done she said it would only take 7 minutes to take when she had finished.
I was placed under the heat lamp again. When my hair colour was ready it was washed off, towel dried and the exciting reveal, Miriam then carefully dried my hair into the new style. It is slightly longer on one side, with shorter layers on the other and at the back of my neck, it sits about an inch below my ear.
It wasn’t quite what I thought to have, but I absolutely love it, it is exactly what I asked for a sleek cut that is fun, modern and with a twist with the colours.
The salon isn’t where I would have chosen to go, being the other end of town and feeling it would be too pricey. However as well as recommending the salon I am going to go back to have further facials, haircuts and colours. I left feeling more positive about myself, younger and vibrant. If a few hours can do that to you, then life is too short to waste looking for elsewhere.
Please do visit the website www.elaje.co.uk. There is a price list, but it does depend on the stylist etc… so you can pop in to ask. They are more than helpful and I really did feel pampered and so much better after going for a facial and haircut.
Should you need to catch up on your emails during your visit they also offer free WiFi and iPads available for your use as well as phone chargers. There is even an app available to book appointments on the go, view latest offers and styles.
I can’t recommend Elaje highly enough.
For more information or to make a booking online visit www.elaje.co.uk.