If you are a regular reader of this blog, then you will know that when it comes to likes and dislikes, Peppa Pig and cake are top of Allegra’s LIKE list and washing hair, brushing hair, brushing teeth, and washing her face are all very much firmly on her DISLIKES list: note, this is not to say that she isn’t forced to endure all of these things, after all, I am not in the business of raising a grubby little urchin child, it just means we have a fair few morning tantrums!
As such, I have often put off taking Allegra to the hairdressers, where not only is there hair-washing (or at least hair wetting) and hair brushing on the agenda, but also hair cutting, which is likely to send her over the edge. In the past, we’ve gone to a couple of small local salons for effectively a quick fringe trim and tidy up, but she’s always had to sit on my lap to have her hair cut and she’d only ever endure it for about 5 minutes or so before she starts fidgeting and getting upset and we have to abandon the outing.
Consequently, her visits to hairdressers have had mixed results (depending on what stage we have to abandon things!), from the slightly boyish/pudding basin-esque cut that resulted when Richmond Daddy took her to his cheapo men’s hairdresser (never again!) – see exhibit A on the left – to a fairly tidy but slightly meh “do” that she got when we went to the marginally posher hairdressers around the corner from where we live… exhibit B on the right. I won’t even share with you the pics of her hair following the time I decided to cut her fringe while she was asleep in bed… ahem, let’s just say I won’t be doing that again…:
So, I was excited and intrigued in equal measure when I was contacted by children’s hair salon Happy Faces with an offer to come visit and try out one of their salons – would it lead to a happy and successful hair cut for Allegra? read on to find out…
Happy Faces currently have salons in Fulham (Muster Road) and Clapham (Webbs Road), with further salons planned in Hampstead, Dulwich, and Mayfair. The Fulham salon is our closest, so the week before last, we booked an appointment for the First Haircut Package – well, I decided that it would be Allegra’s first “proper” haircut as opposed to fringe trim – and took ourselves off there to check it out.
The salon was a bit smaller than I was expecting, but it is beautifully decorated in bright colours and is totally designed with kids in mind. The minute we walked through the door, Allegra seemed captivated and intrigued by the place and wasted no time in picking out a girly pink vintage car style seat to sit in for her haircut (other seats are a Thomas the Tank Engine, New York Cab, and cute yellow and red aeroplane). She was happy to be lifted into the seat then sat stock still and was very very well behaved throughout as the haircut sort of happened around her!
I should say at this point that the very likely key to success on this front was the fact that back-to-back episodes of Peppa Pig are played out on two large TV screens embedded in a rather funky orange crab surround (see pics), which she gazed at in a trance through the whole experience. This didn’t make for the best photos as she essentially ignored all requests to smile or engage with us or the hairdresser at any point, but it did mean that she was extremely compliant in getting her hair cut, so essentially it’s a winning formula: smart move Happy Faces!
The lovely hairdresser first took a Polaroid photo of her as a “before” pic, then set about spraying her hair wet and combing it through (this made me laugh, quite a lot, something about her sitting there with combed through wet hair just looked comedy, I can’t quite explain it!). Then the cutting began. I couldn’t quite believe my eyes that Allegra literally didn’t move a muscle, she just compliantly sat through the whole thing, in silence, totally comfortable, and yes, in a trance courtesy of Peppa. In fact the only time she really moved was when the hairdresser momentarily got in her eye-line and she clearly felt the need to lean to the right to peer around her to continue watching the TV! She even happily allowed the hairdresser to blow-dry… YES, BLOW-DRY!!… her hair. That too had me in fits of giggles.
Once she was all done, they took another Polaroid, as the “after” picture and then both photos were framed along with a special “first haircut” certificate and a lock of hair: very cute and a nice memento. She was then offered a lolly (which she duly took) and a large pink balloon (also gratefully received), before we went on our merry way after what was a really positive and happy experience. Allegra had a whale of a time and has been talking about it ever since and we’ll definitely go back the next time she needs a haircut as it was just so stress free and easy! Happy Faces definitely gets the thumbs up from us, if you live anywhere near one of their salons, you should definitely check-it out.
Disclosure: Allegra was treated to a complimentary My First Haircut Package by Happy Faces, which would have cost us £29.95 if we were paying. A regular cut and finish for a child under 24 months is £14.95 and for a child aged 2-4 years is £16.95. For a full outline of services and prices, visit the Happy Faces website.