A Cut Less Ordinary

Nestled in the shadow of St. Paul’s cathedral in the City of London, sits another landmark with a dedication of a different kind. Part of the internationally renowned Sassoon group, the Sassoon City Salon on Ave Maria Lane, features an exclusive barbershop floor dedicated to men’s hairstyling.

When the legendary Vidal Sassoon founded his brand in the 1960s, he took a unique approach to hair styling that unified the creative mediums of fashion, art and architecture and applied them to his work with hair. He pioneered a unique architectural cutting technique that all Sassoon stylists are still trained with today; this signature method defined the sharp and modern aesthetic of a Sassoon cut and made his brand a household name.

Sassoon City Salon Barbershop Review

Whilst I’m generally rather blasé when it comes to large-scale establishments, I recently took the opportunity to sample the brand’s barbershop services to see what makes Sassoon a world leader in the field of hairstyling.

Upon arrival, my stylist, Michael Pilz, greets me on the men’s barbershop floor with a firm handshake and a warm smile, inviting me to sit down on a particularly smart retro barber’s chair:

The Sassoon City Salon Barbershop Chairs

Moved from salon to salon and re-upholstered, these vintage chairs are symbolic of the Sassoon brand, which has evolved and grown over the years, whilst still retaining its original ideals. “Our upholsterer tells us not to get rid of them each time we have them serviced – he says they just don’t make them like this anymore” explains Pilz.

As he gets to work examining my hair and we come to an agreement on the look to execute, Pilz’s knowledge and passion for the art of hairstyling is immediately apparent. Having moved from his native Germany to join the Sassoon group in London six years ago, Pilz embarked on the brand’s comprehensive training programme: “The in-depth training course lasts for six months, where we are taught Sassoon’s signature ‘ABC’ foundation techniques, which provide us with the skills needed to cut hair using the Sassoon method”.

Examples Of Sassoon Method CutsExamples Of Sassoon Method Cuts

After the obligatory wash, Pilz gets to work and I see the technique in action. With precision accuracy, my hair is divided into small sections and each individual segment is wet cut; then dried and cut; wet cut again; followed by another dry cut.

This labour-intensive technique gives a superb degree of accuracy, ensuring each strand of hair is cut to the precise length and angle required.

Sassoon Stylist Michael Pilz Cutting Back Stage At A Fashion ShowSassoon’s Michael Pilz Styling Hair Back Stage At A Fashion Show

It results in a superbly sleek finish. “When people think of Sassoon, they think of precision; our unique cutting techniques continue to define us and make us standout.” Pilz also explains the specialisms of Sassoon stylists: “Each Sassoon stylist is trained to specialise in either cutting or colouring to ensure our clients get the best possible result”.

On The Runways

Sassoon is frequently approached by fashion designers to create the looks for runway shows, and has made its mark at the renowned London Collections: MEN.

Their hairstyling efforts at the recent YMC and Spencer Hart shows, as well as last season’s Agi & Sam spectacle were greeted with industry-wide acclaim. Pilz himself regularly works on these shows as well as fashion editorials, counting shoots for GQ and Fantastic Man amongst his Sassoon career highlights.

Sassoon Were Responsible For The Hair At The YMC SS14 ShowcaseSassoon Were Responsible For The Hair In The YMC SS14 Showcase at London Collections: MEN

Styling Products

As he makes the finishing touches to my superbly executed cut, my hair is rinsed again to disperse any stray hairs, and Pilz brings out a succinct selection of products for styling.

The first, Halo Hydrate, is a leave-in conditioner, which he sprays liberally on my damp hair. “This product is ideal for guys – it provides moisture-rich sustenance for the hair and is really easy to use as it doesn’t require washing out”. Next is a small shot of Heat Shape spray, which affords protection during heat-styling. Pilz proceeds to blow-dry my hair, using a back and forward brushing technique to enhance shape and volume.

To finish, he warms in his palms and applies a small amount of Texture Refine, which is the Sassoon men’s hero product. This lightweight, versatile paste provides a texture-rich matte hold, without clogging or smothering the hair; it also has a refreshingly clean masculine scent. “At Sassoon, we believe in giving a client a look and the product is there to support it, not to overwhelm; hair should always look natural and alive” he says.

The Sassoon Products Used

The Verdict

My hair looks and feels great – soft, sleek and defined without feeling weighed down; exactly what the artist intended. It’s by far the best cut I’ve ever had. As I leave the salon and admire my slick locks in the plate-glass windows of the city, it suddenly dawns on me that I’m now most definitely a Sassoon convert.

To make a booking at the Sassoon City Salon at 5, Ave Maria Lane, or any other Sassoon branches visit: facebook.com/sassoonsalons.

For more information on Halo Hydrate, Heat Shape, Texture Refine and the full Sassoon product range, visit: Sassoon.com.