Saturday, 1 August 2015

Bristol Review: McQueens Hair Salon

I'm sure everyone knows the pain of trying to find the perfect hairdresser, makeup artist, nail technician etc, especially when you move to a new area. There is nothing worse than knowing that you need to get something done, whether it's filing your nails to perfection or getting rid of those roots that are now starting to reach your ears, and not knowing who to trust to sort it out.

What if I end up with half my eyebrow waxed off?! What if I want a trim and a scissor happy individual cuts 5 inches off my luscious locks? The struggle is real guys, but I'm here to help! Over the course of this blog I'm going to make it my mission to try out all types of beauty services in the Bristol area and review them. That way, if there is somewhere in the area you are wondering about, you can read a full review about the experience to see whether it's one to try out or one to steer clear of!


To get the ball rolling, I'm going to tell you all about McQueens Hair Salon. Until very recently McQueens was a hidden gem, tucked away above the bustling shops of Park Street with nothing but word of mouth and a small sign to lead you up to the salon on the first floor. Having lived in Bristol all my life I was really surprised when I stumbled across it after reading about them in the Bristol Post. Initially I thought it was new but a little more research told me that McQueens has actually been open for 25 years!

That's not to say that this place is quiet though. Upon entering I was greeted with a vibrant, buzzing atmosphere with every chair in the place filled. It quite clearly has a loyal following and is extremely popular with those in the know. They have very recently moved to a larger ground floor salon located at 16 Park Street which makes them far more visible. I suspect this move will promote McQueens even further, changing from being a hidden gem to one of the most well known and loved salons in Bristol.

Now I'll be honest, while I love the process of having my hair done, the actual act of going to a new hairdresser terrifies me. Why? Because I turn into an insecure mess. A thousand questions go through my head on approach to the door... what if everyone in there is the super cool type that make you feel like you need to go to hipster school? Will there be a horribly awkward silence when I can't think of a conversation topic or equally worrying, will I need to prepare for 2 hours of inane holiday chat? How am I looking today? Is it going to be painful looking at my face / outfit / ginormous arms in the mirror for the rest of the afternoon? On and on and on...honestly, my brain is a scary place to be.

So I'm sure it's pretty easy to guess from that neurotic brain dump that the most important thing for me on entering a salon is that I feel at ease. That's a pretty serious task but honestly, McQueens managed it within moments of entering. Every single member of the team is so friendly and while they are most certainly cool, they are definitely not intimidating. Emma Choremi, the owner of the salon is extremely interactive with the clientele and often welcomes you as you come in the door, regardless of whether she is your chosen stylist or not. I found this to be a lovely touch that instantly makes you feel so welcome and really valued.

Despite being located in the heart of Bristol their prices are refreshingly reasonable, making them accessible to a whole range of budgets (From £24.00 for a cut and finish). They provide a great number of services from a standard wash and cut to latest techniques such as Balayage and Ombre. They are also a Great Lengths salon and won the Great Lengths New Comer Award for 2014/15. For the uninitiated, Great Lengths are some of the best extensions around.

I chose to have my hair styled by Emma and I am so happy that I did. She is such a pleasure to talk to and is really open to ideas. Something I really love is that you can show her a few pictures and she will talk you through how it can be achieved and more importantly whether it is realistic and will suit you. For me, the key to really being able to trust a hairdresser is having one that will a) tell you if you will look like a washed out ghost with that platinum hair and b) will not be content until their client is 100% happy and Emma is most definitely both of those things.

On my first visit my hair was transformed from a mousy, flat non-do to a wonderfully multi-tonal blonde with a cracking fringe going on.
My hair transformation!

The second visit was just a touch up to keep my hair looking stylish but the third time, I fancied something a little different. I came across the picture below which served as inspiration and thought I would like a subtle ombre, so presented it to Emma the next time I went to McQueens.


As usual, straight away she came up with a way of creating the look and went off to mix the colours. After an hour and a half I had been foiled, cooked, and my hair was washed and toned. I had been entertained with many a magazine, fun conversations about wedding planning and a cheeky glass of vino. I was a very happy girl. 

Now, remember here that this was a little bit of an experiment that the pair of us had come up with, deciding the colours to use and the kind of look I wanted at quite short notice. Unfortunately the darker tones used at the top and the lighter tones at the bottom hadn't fully blended through so there wasn't quite the flow of colour change that I had initially imagined. So this might sound a little strange, but the fact that it hadn't gone 100% to plan is actually what has made me truly love this salon.

Straight away Emma wasn't content with the look and added in some extra highlights to break up the colour change which helped a lot. In the end I decided that I'd like a slightly cooler colour and for the ombre to be even more subtle and once again, everyone was more than happy to help me out to achieve the look I wanted. There was never a moment where I was made to feel like I was being "difficult" and it really felt like Emma and the team always want to make sure their customers are completely satisfied. Remember how I said that was one of the key things required for a "good" hairdresser to be a "great" one? Yup, you can definitely count on that here. 

Truly great hairdressing is a creative art, one which requires experimentation and adaptation. What goes hand in hand with that, is that there can be a teensy chance that sometimes things don't come out exactly how you first imagined and personally, that's fine with me. I'd much rather have a hairdresser with creative flare who you can really create a style with, than one that provides a template haircut for every person that enters.

Most importantly, I am SO happy with my finished look. It's exactly what I wanted with a lovely, soft transition from dark to light blonde and a sweeping fringe.



As I'm sure you've deduced from my ramblings, I would absolutely, definitely, 100% recommend this salon to anyone. In fact, since I have started visiting the salon earlier this year it's resulted in about 4 of my work colleagues becoming clients of McQueens too. The salon is glamorous yet comfortable, the staff are friendly and talented and the prices are more than fair for the amazing quality. I'm already looking forward to my next visit!

Have you visited McQueens before or are you tempted to visit soon? Or is there a different salon that you absolutely love? Have you tried an ombre look? Let me know in the comments!
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4 comments

  1. I love your hair I think you look so edgy and the ombre curls are gorgeous xox
    http://www.fadedspring.co.uk

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    1. Aw thank you so much Ana, such a lovely comment to start my day off :) I loved your latest post! xx

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  2. Your hair looks lovely, especially in the second pic. I've been looking for a salon in Bristol to do balayage and I think I'm gonna go for McQueens! Thanks for the review!

    Faye x
    i wish i could wink

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