An oasis of Identity in the heart of Hoxton
It was a Thursday afternoon, it was raining, but I was excited. Why? Because I had been invited to the Identity Salon in Shoreditch, London, to try out a new hair technique called Thermasmooth. Created by hair specialists Mizani, apparently it strips away the need for your usual relaxer, as it straightens the hair using an innovative in-salon smooth-pressed style technique! Not only was I eager to try this latest technology in hair, I was also keen to see the new home of Identity salon, who had moved into their new premises just six weeks ago.
Owner Tony Hegarty first opened his salon in 2000, and along with his business partner Michael, they’ve taken the salon on an ambitious journey. They’ve moved from their salon in the heart of Shoreditch to a three storey building situated within easy reach of Liverpool Street, Shoreditch and Hoxton and uber trendy Brick Lane. Truly prime location.
I received a lovely warm welcome as soon as I stepped through the doors of Identity. I got the sense of a calm, serene place, sure its a funky, cool environment yet it doesn’t make you feel uncomfortable. I was introduced to Tony, and after a chat and consultation with him about previous treatments, the last time I’d had a cut (over 10 years ago!) and the general state and usual style of my hair, he set to work.
Firstly Tony applied the Thermasmooth shampoo to clean my hair and get it ready for the smoothing process, this was followed by the Thremasmooth conditioner that softens and shines the hair and preserve its elasticity. Then it was time for the leave-in thermal protecting serum (readers I won’t trouble you with the science bits but suffice to say, this is where the magic happens).
As the serum was taking effect I was given a guided tour of the new salon. As well as cool looking cutting and styling rooms upstairs and down, there are two treatment rooms offering a range of pampering and spa treats from £30. Tony revealed there are big plans for the rest of the building.
Looking at the pictures that adorned the salon walls, I realised that I had been a fan of Tony’s for a while without even knowing it. His fabulous hair styles have graced the front and inside pages of various hair magazines over the years and I had often been drawn to them due to the striking versatile looks he had created. He comes from good hairdressing stock too, his mother had owned a salon and Tony had worked there for a while.
As well as that he managed Ocean Boulevard in London’s Covent Garden for ten years where he headed up the creative team. He later moved to Radical Design in Camden, as the salon’s Artistic Director. In 1999, he was a finalist for Afro Hairdresser of the Year in the annual British Hairdressing Awards. In November 2003, he was awarded Stylist of the Year by Black Hair magazine, and Identity UK was also awarded Salon of the Year in the same awards.
After the tour it was time for the final stage of the treatment (and after receiving a lovely much needed head massage, from one of Tony’s assistants) I was escorted upstairs to where Tony applied the Thermasmooth shine extend anti-humidty spritz, which gives a a high shine finishing polishes and locks in the shine. As Tony cut and styled my hair (a lovely added bonus I must say!)I was given a chance to see some of the salon’s diverse client range, from the high flyers in the city, to the trendy folk of Hoxton, to the mums from the local community to the students from the local university and college. Whoever they were, it was evident that they all received the same high level of service
Just before leaving with my ‘just stepped out of the salon look’ I had time to fire a couple of questions at Tony: So who’s hair would he like to get his hands on? Shirley Bassey – she’s our only UK diva isn’t she? Who does he think always gets it right celebrity hair style wise: Step forward Beyonce.
Ladies( and gentlemen), if you want affordable hair care, along with genuinely nice service in a funky and friendly salon, I’d advise you to book your appointment at Identity now. Not only will you have a fabulous time, you’ll probably bump into me, your Precious editor, having yet another beauty treatment! I’ve bookmarked this as my regular hair and beauty stop from now on!