Friday, 27 April 2018

Elaje Cambridge Review: My Experience (I Would Not Go Back)

I booked in for a balayage at Elaje Cambridge in February and I wanted to share my experience. Let's jump in, shall we? I have tried to stay fair in this review, as I don't really like writing overtly negative things about brands and business' on my blog, but I think that I am well within my rights to discuss my negative experience, just as anyone would after receiving amazing treatment from somewhere.

As most girls do when wanting a new colour or cut, I had a photo with me to show my stylist. I showed a picture of something I’d like my hair to be like (which most salons are used to) 
I wanted to review the salon that I had loved for a long time up until this experience. I can't include the reference photo here, as I wouldn't just shove an image on my blog post that I hadn't got permission to use. 

Prep
I grew my hair out for over a year, no colouring at all and I used minimal heat on it so that it was in the best possible condition for bleach. Essentially, my hair was "virgin" in terms of colouring. (I mean obviously, it wasn't literally virgin as anything from a bit of straightening to heat can "damage" hair, but it was in the best possible condition after growing it out from a long bob for well over a year, in order to have balayage.

Pricing
I paid a £100 deposit 2 weeks prior to my appointment and knew that I would be paying £30 for a finish, and £30 for Olaplex. Yes, this is an expensive salon, that charge London prices. In fact, they are more expensive/the same as hair queen Samantha Cusick in London for a balayage. Elaje's haircuts are okay, the staff are (seemingly) trained regularly and the beauty section is hygienic - basically, it's just an overpriced salon that actually follow regulations.

When I originally booked the balayage, I did it on the day of a haircut I was there for. I mentioned that I wanted to book in for a balayage with the same girl who was cutting my hair, but she wasn't available, so after my cut, she and the receptionist booked me in with someone else. I asked if this person was the same pricing and my hairstylist said yes, £116 for balayage. I paid a £100 deposit that day.
So I was expecting to pay £116 for a balayage, a finish, at £30 and an added Olaplex treatment at £30. However, on the day I was charged £190 altogether. I was so unhappy with my hair that I just paid it and left, but I was definitely overcharged by this salon, as the pricing was never discussed with me on the day or prior to my appointment that it would be £150 instead of £116 (Plus the other costs!) (... Thank god for student discount)

I wrote it off, but if a client is paying more for a service for any reason, you need to let them know. I still don't really understand the pricing, but as I was unhappy with my hair, I never bought up or argued the pricing - I didn't want to look like I was out for a freebie.


My Experience In The Salon
On the day, I uploaded onto my Instagram story that I was going for a balayage. I never tagged the salon or mentioned the salon name on any of my social media (This will become important later) and the only people that knew what salon I was going to, were my Mum, boyfriend and a couple of close friends.

The salon itself is nice, clean and the staff are always friendly. They’ll take your coat/bag and offer you a latte or drink upon arrival. Basically, the bare minimum for anywhere charging over £50 for a haircut. 
I prefer not to chat when getting my hair done (I talk all day at work, uni and on social media) so it’s nice to unwind with a magazine and just chill out whilst getting your hair done. I'm sure a lot of you are the same, and I love any salon that won't expect me to engage in the painful small talk! I know a lot of us enjoy a quiet salon experience or just don’t like nattering away if we want to relax.

I knew straight away that my hair wasn't blonde enough when the towel came off and the girl started drying it. I thought, "I'll wait for her to style it" and after that was done, I looked in the mirror and felt shocked at how subtle the balayage was in comparison to what I'd asked for.
I just felt that it wasn't blonde enough, and there was very little blonde around the back in comparison to the front. The photo I had initially shown was from Catherine Boden's salon in Manchester (which I couldn't get to - I live way too far away to travel there) and I'd shown a beautiful melted blonde in the front of the hair. I didn't feel like the blonde highlights in the front of my air were very blended at all.

You can see clearly in the recent photo I've uploaded, that the front of my hair looks like highlights and is growing out that way too. I wanted balayage specifically to avoid the awkward re-growth stages. I did mention on the day that I wasn't 100% happy, but also said that I would think about it to the staff. I said that I wanted to be honest with the staff there.

I called my Mum as I walked home from the salon that evening, and expressed how sad I felt that it wasn't perfect, and she said if you don't feel happy straightaway, it won't suddenly come to you when you're home. I made the decision to "think on it" but knew deep down that my Mum was right! I asked a couple of hairdressers that evening and the next morning and they confirmed that it was a lacklustre result given what I'd asked for/the price I'd paid. 


I called Elaje next day, and expressed politely that I felt my hair wasn’t blonde enough and in all honesty, wasn’t what I’d asked or hoped for. I had highlights through the front of my hair that didn't/don't really blend out like the blonde sections I’d showed in my reference photo. The receptionist was nice said that she was going to book me in for it to be done again.

I got a confirmation email through, stating that it was a “re-col” until I received a call a little later from the lady who actually did my hair, stating that she wouldn’t be re-doing it, and that it was only a booking to “talk” about it with her. I thought that this was weird and honestly, ridiculously unprofessional. You should speak to other staff members before booking someone in for a re-colour. I mean, the hold button exists for a reason. But hey, I agreed to speak to the lady who had coloured my hair and sort it out.
The day before my talk/consultation I received yet another phone call asking me to come in a little earlier, I agreed.

The "Talk"
As bloggers, we are always going to enjoy being honest about treatments and products that we've had. I, personally, share my experiences with 12,000 people on Instagram, using stories and normal posts, and my blog, of course. I'm unaware if the salon staff knew that I was a blogger or not, but clearly, they aren't in-touch with influencers, bloggers and the way in which we work. I share everything from what foundation I wear to what my boyfriend and I are up to, so there is no surprise that I would share images and thoughts on a new hair colour!

So on the day, I went into the salon and the owner said she'd asked me in a little bit earlier to discuss the issue with me herself. She asked me what I felt wasn’t right about my hair, so I explained in detail. I mentioned the front especially, as I didn't feel like it was particularly well blended, in the way I'd asked for (and previously shown pictures of). I had what are essentially just highlights in the front of my hair, and not a whole lot of blonde in the back.

I was then told, that the photo I’d shown the stylist that coloured my hair wasn’t a “real perception” - aka social media twists things. She mentioned that it can take 2 months and three appointments to get the blonde that I'd shown in my reference photo - which did make me laugh, as I’d watched the vlog of the girl getting her hair done from a dark brown to the shade of blonde I wanted on Youtube. Yes, all in one sitting. Amazing, right? I didn't bother getting my phone out and showing her this video, since I thought, 'at this point it's futile'.


I kind of just sat there wondering why a grown woman was attempting to tell me off. The power of bloggers, eh? She obviously wasn't happy that I'd written about this on my story - however, as mentioned earlier, I had never actually named the salon, so I was really confused as to why she was acting as if I had slandered the salon publicly. I couldn't understand why she was so angry, when I had written fairly standard comments. I mean, I personally don't see what is very rude about a sad peach gif.

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It felt quite hilarious, sitting there as she essentially tried to slap me on the wrist for being a blogger. She... 'accused' (I guess?) me of “slagging off the salon” - yes, those were her exact words used, very professional, I know. Which I'm not sure how I could of, as I never actually named the salon anywhere on social media or even my personal Facebook.
I was shocked. After this painfully ridiculous exchange, the lady that had actually coloured my hair then came over and said that I had “maybe wanted a dip-dye instead of a balayage’ which confused me, as the photo I’d shown was a balayage by the Catherine Boden hair salon in Manchester (The creme de la creme of all things blonde - their work is totally gorgeous!) - and they literally specialise in those kinds of colour changes, so I'm rather confused as to how she got to that point of view.

I was a little shocked at this, as I’d surely had a consultation of sorts, when I explained what I wanted to her and shown images of my desired look. Why would she have gone ahead with it if she thought what I was after was entirely different? I had shown numerous photos.

Elaje had booked me in for balayage 
after I had shown this particular photo to 2-3 members of staff. Surely, if I’d shown a dip-dye, I would have been advised by the professional hair stylists to get a dip dye? It was all very confusing and I wasn’t offered any solution but a free toner on my hair and a half-price balayage next time - which I clearly didn’t feel comfortable to accept, as I’d been treated so rudely by the staff during this talk. 

I was unsure if I was being unreasonable or not. I knew that my hair looked 'good' - it wasn't breaking or anything, it was left in good condition... However, I felt that for £190, the result was underwhelming and I have been left with a bad taste in my mouth about this salon, and I have not returned since. I did speak with three other hairdressers about my hair that stated that it could be lifted to the colour I was after in one sitting, especially as my hair wasn't dark originally. I knew that anyway though, as my hair has lifted much lighter before. £190 (more if I hadn't popped on my student discount) is a lot to spend on hair that I didn't feel happy with.

I was absolutely shocked that I was essentially called into the salon earlier to be patronised by the owner and receive snooty comments from the stylist, and to be told that I didn't really know what I wanted was rude and patronising toward a client. Nobody, not Zoella, not Becky with 30 followers on Instagram and 3 Facebook friends should be spoken to in a patronising and rude manner, the way that I was. 

Aftermath
I wish that had been the end of it, but it wasn't. Every member of staff in the salon proceeded to view every Instagram story I uploaded for the next 2-3 days, which I thought was very strange and quite unprofessional, actually. I hadn't mentioned the hair situation or salon any further. In fact, I was in London at my boyfriend's for the weekend. I was then even tagged in a video by the stylist that did my hair about how "colour takes time" and the caption "FYI." was used. To me, that was the last straw and I wouldn't return to this salon. 
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I wouldn't recommend this salon to anyone, and I think that there is a misunderstanding in this salon about how to act as a business, versus how you can act as a blogger or client. There is simply a level of professionalism required from a salon in comparison to a paying client making comments on social media.

I am not required to remain "professional" at all times, as I am a personality first and foremost, or 'a real person', if you will. If I had no personality or opinion, I'd be an advertising billboard for brands that I like. I'm always going to give my honest opinions about things. I would be a rubbish blogger if I didn't.

A business is a business. I also think that I was more than fair in never, ever mentioning the name of the salon until now. As a client in a salon, you can feel a bit "stupid" when they start talking to you about colours, bleaches and things that we don't have an in-depth understanding of, and that is what frustrates me the most.
 I had numerous "second opinions" and yet I was still patronised by the salon staff and received snooty comments afterwards. I would not return here again.

At the end of the day, I was disappointed with my hair for the money I paid, but I am also far more disappointed that I would be spoken to, and treated the way that I was. Getting your hair done can be quite a nervous time anyway, let alone wondering whether or not you'll be slapped on the wrist for posting about it afterward on your social media channels or spoken to in a rude manner.


Have you ever had a negative experience in a salon? How did you handle it?

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Wednesday, 24 January 2018

Paperclip x Student Money Saver Review


If you're a student, you know the struggles that come along with university costs. Books can cost anywhere from £30 to £90 at a time, and that's never covered by the university. Of course, you can borrow books from the library, but often long-term borrowing can become an annoyance if you know that you'll need something all year, or even for your whole course. And then there is finding all the random things that you need for your uni house - even more of an expense!

But did you know, buying second hand is actually very viable if you're in a university town? It's not always "that needs to go in the bin" microwaves or dodgy mattresses. In student areas, buying second-hand or popping things you don't need on sites like Paperclip can be a goldmine. Well, a few lattes.

However, it’s hard to know where to look for these student-friendly deals and sites. When students finish third year, lots of them will unload books, kitchen items, house bits and bobs and so much more that they'll no longer need. That's where Paperclip x SMS comes in. Student Money Saver is one of my favourite sites for cash-saving tips anyway, but when I saw the Marketplace that they'd opened with Paperclip, I think that this could be what students need to finally have somewhere to create as a go-to for essentials.

This kind of site can really take the pressure off spending £50 on a book when you could find the same one, or a similar version, for £10 from someone that just wants to get rid of stuff before Summer kicks in. And the same with furniture - if you can’t make it to Ikea before term starts, try seeing if anyone is getting rid of a bedside table or drying rack. Chances are, they’ll want pennies for it.


The kind of things you’ll find on Paperclip: Bikes, Kitchen items, Books, Furniture..




... And so much more! It’s super easy to use, so you won’t have to worry about paying to sign up or having trouble finding the things you want. You can pick categories to look at, so from books to bed frames, you should be able to easily find anything you’d like to look at a distance that you choose on the site. You can even pick to see ads by how recently they were uploaded. What could be easier? I know I'll be popping my English books onto the site once I finish my degree! (I can't say I want to re-read a book on Victorian literature...)
P.S. Anyone that adds an item to the marketplace in January and February is entered into prize draw to win £100! You can find details on Paperclip's Facebook Page.





Will you be buying your books full price this year, or saving the cash and going second hand?

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Saturday, 20 January 2018

NUDE LIP EDIT


NYX Soft Matte Lip Cream in Cairo

NYX Soft Matte Lip Cream in Abu Dhabi
NYX Soft Matte Lip Cream in Stockholm
Shop on ASOSBoots or CultBeauty £6.00
This is probably my favourite liquid lipstick formula, literally ever. It’s hard to describe. It's mousse-like enough to re-apply beautifully, yet it doesn’t feel sticky or horrible. It’s non-drying, and the perfect on the go alternative to traditional lipstick. The small tube means that you'll have about 4 of these in your purse at any one time though. But at £6, who really cares? There a beauty blogger fave for good reason!

NYX Butter Gloss in Fortune Cookie
NYX Butter Gloss in Tiramisu
Shop on ASOSBoots or CultBeauty £5.50
These are the perfect pairing for their Soft Matte sister. NYX really know how to formulate a gloss. They smell of vanilla cupcakes, apply beautifully and don't break the bank. The Butter Gloss is an amazing topper for any lipstick and they aren't overly sticky either- a good handbag staple for when you've forgotten a lipstick at work and need a wash of colour!


Anastasia Beverly Hills Lip Gloss in Butterscotch
Shop on BeautyBay or CultBeauty £17.00
I thought nothing could beat the pigment from the Kylie Cosmetics glosses, but the Anastasia Beverly Hills ones trump Kylie's, purely for the cheaper price and zero customs charges with the UK retailers. The Anastasia formula smells like cupcakes from Peggy Porschen and the doe-foot applicator is one of the best I've tried. No brainer. They're not cheap, but they're worth it.


Charlotte Tilbury Lip Gloss in Seduction
Shop on John Lewis £16.50
I can't say that this is the best lip gloss I have ever tried, but it's okay. It's good. It's a lovely colour, with decent sheer to medium pigmentation, but honestly? Save your cash. It's certainly not worth £16.50 though... and for Charlotte Tilbury, I envisioned a better scent, applicator (NYX have a better applicator) and overall I think that Charlotte Tilbury glosses leave a lot to be desired from a high end, "luxury" brand that pride themselves on beautiful packaging and outstanding formulas. 


Fenty Beauty Universal Gloss Bomb
Shop on Harvey Nichols £16.00
This is a beautiful all-rounder. It's a classic rosy, nude shade that is perfect for any skin tone. It looks pretty on its own and works well with other formulas. The applicator is chunky, super soft and perfect for that one-swipe colour that we all need on the train or whilst balancing four different shopping bags. It won't be a wasted addition to your make-up stash, and it's a good introduction to Fenty Beauty.


Colourpop Ultra Matte Lip in Chi
Shop on Colourpop $6
This nude is probably a shade that you have similar colours to, but who cares? You're probably not reading this post because you're thinking "I don't need anymore lipsticks"! This shade looks good on lots of skin tones and the Colourpop formula is super long-lasting, so you probably need this. It comes up a little lighter in person than on the Colourpop site, and it's the classic, shockingly good value that Colourpop offer.


Rimmel Kate Moss in Boho Nude
Shop on Boots, Superdrug or ASOS £5.49
If you are on a budget or like to shop at the drugstore instead of online, then this range will be ideal for you. The Kate Moss collection by Rimmel is very, very good. In fact, the Rimmel lipstick range is highly under-rated by the majority of bloggers and make-up lovers that I see discussing the best drugstore buys. Grab these babies on offer and they are cheap as chips. The packaging pictured is the 15 year anniersary collection, which is since discontinued (boohoo) but the other shades are just as good.
Jouer Long-Wear Lip Crème in Creme Brûlée
Shop on BeautyBay or CultBeauty
These are a little drying, but the shades are perfect. I adore the formula - it's very creamy to apply and the doe-foot applicator is of high quality. It smells of cupcakes and it does easily last hours. Less is more though, as this is a thick formula! I wouldn't suggest this as a first-buy for liquid lipstick beginners.


Kylie Cosmetics Gloss in Literally
Shop on Kylie Cosmetics $15.00
These glosses are super pigmented, smell of cupcakes and last forever because they're so thick, but, Kylie Jenner needs to up the quality of her products. The brush for this still hasn't improved and I am really quite reluctant to repurchase any of these, given that the Anastasia glosses are just so much better in terms of applicator and pricing. The formula is similar, so I will skip on the Kylie if she can't be bothered to improve an aspect of her brand that literally thousands of people have complained about. Yes, these brushes still shed and don't make for easy applcation.


Urban Decay Naked Lip Gloss in Rule34 (Discontinued)
I have spoken about the Urban Decay glosses before on my blog, but they have actually warmed to me over time. I don't need insane pigment at all times with my glosses, and I can appreciate the muted, nude tone of this product from Urban Decay. I wouldn't repurchase this myself (this one was gifted to me) but I do like it. However, I am not surprised that these were discontinued - the cute packaging just doesn't make up for a boring, sheer gloss.


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