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Review: The Style Lounge

A Child-Friendly Hairdressing Salon in Northampton

By Tim Freed

Alice pulls faces in the mirror, much to Paul's amusementWhen we were asked to do a review for the Style Lounge in Northampton, we jumped at the chance. Not just because we were hoping to find a child-friendly hairdresser to recommend to our readers, but also because, well, the girls really needed a haircut.

Alice, now 3 years old, was one of those babies who had no hair for about a year, so when it did start to grow it was sacred. Now at 3, she has a good head of hair – beautiful golden curls that hang in pretty ringlets ... that were a complete nightmare to brush, because it had never been cut properly and all the split ends had made her hair incredibly tangly.

Sophie was the opposite. Born with copious amounts of hair, it grew fast and though she too had never seen the inside of a salon, her fringe had been trimmed umpteen times and it was in dire need of another. So yes, we were ready to review a hairdresser.

The first thing worthy of note is that The Style Lounge has the use of a huge car park, which as we all know is a real plus when you have children – especially more than one. The bright, warm colours of the salon make it extremely inviting and you can see why the owner, Paul Hodgson, has called it The Style Lounge. With the large, open-plan feel, the decor is modern and elegant with all the finest finishing touches. It is, in a word, stylish.

The service was excellent too. The receptionist welcomed us with a beaming smile and pleasantly surprised the girls by knowing their names. She took our coats and invited us to sit in the waiting area, the whole time treating us very politely and kindly. She also made some very welcome comments about how lovely our children were and how beautiful their hair.

Alice in the waiting area / loungeThe waiting area is more akin to a lounge, with two enormous leather sofas and a matching armchair set around a coffee table in front of a fireplace. In all honesty, it’s the kind of place where I would normally worry about the girls breaking or damaging something, but for all the style, there was no feeling of pretentiousness, or of things being there to look at and not touch. The girls were encouraged to explore and they helped themselves to water from the water cooler (we were assured it was fine if they splilt some – which they did, and it was), they and were delighted to find a box of toys and books behind one of the sofas which they quickly raided and brought to our attention.

We had deliberately arrived early to allow Alice and Sophie to get used to the environment. We were worried that either or both might throw a tantrum during the haircut. Sophie hates her hair being washed with a passion, and Alice has an issue with strangers invading her personal space uninvited, so we had good reason to worry. So we enjoyed about 10 mintues of waiting, reading books and playing with toys. The girls were having a lovely time. They even had a little dance to the pleasant bass-rich beats that were being played on the sound system.

Alice waits for her haircutWhen Paul was ready to see us, it was immediately apparent that we would have a great deal of say in what happened during the haircut which was reassuring. We were asked if we would prefer Alice or Sophie to go first, and then we were given plenty of space to get Alice in the chair and make sure she was comfortable without being intimidated by lots of staring adults. Once she was comfortable, one of the ladies put a protective bib on her, whilst Alice pulled faces at herself in the mirror. Then Paul made his appearance, and he was just great with her. He got down on Alice’s level and chatted to her as well as talking to us to find out what we wanted doing.

I really can’t commend Paul’s attitude to children highly enough. Not only was he very sensitive to the changeable mood the children, but he was flexible with them sitting or standing on the chair (or on our laps) and even pulled out a few funny voices to entertain which made us all laugh. He has bags of energy and an easy smile which put everyone at ease. He made frequent eye contact with Alice in the mirror and in person throughout the haircut, he shared jokes with her and talked to her and to us with a nice balance so she always felt included. She seemed to enjoy every minute of the haircut. She couldn’t quite believe her luck when she was offered a sticker for her trouble at the end – she was made up!

Sophie relaxes, sporting her brand new fringeSophie was a bit different. Though she didn’t throw a tantrum or scream (which is a credit to Paul’s manner with her), she was shy of him and he and quickly picked up on this, suggesting she sit on my knee for the haircut so she felt safe. Sophie sat facing me which made the fringe cut more difficult, but Paul managed amazingly well and even made me feel like I had a child who was behaving beautifully when she moved her head enough for him to see what he was doing, or cut some hair.

While Sophie was having her haircut, Alice felt comfortable enough to wander to the other side of the room and sit on her own on the sofa reading books. She is very sensitive to feeling comfortable in her surroundings and will cling to either mum or dad if she feels scared or uncomfortable, so this act of independence speaks volumes for the atmosphere in the Style Lounge. If one word could sum it up, it would be ‘friendly’.

And to top it all off, the haircuts were exactly what we wanted and looked lovely.

Overall, the combination of such a lovely and spacious salon, coupled with the child-friendly manner of Paul and his staff made the visit a delight. And of course the perfect haircuts were an added bonus! To round it off, the children were offered lollies (while Paul assured us that he was going to make a healthier treat available as well!) and we left in our own time, feeling under no pressure to move on. It really was a very pleasant experience, and I would recommend The Style Lounge to anyone with or without children – they really are a class act.

Where to find The Style Lounge

Situated at: The Basement, Barratt House, Kingsthorpe Road, Northampton, Northamptonshire. NN2 6HT.

To book an appointment, call 01604 722224.

Find out more and see their location on a map by visiting The Style Lounge listing on this website.

You may also find some great offers on haircuts at The Style Lounge in the Toddle About Offers section.

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