A while back I was lucky enough to have my hair cut by Adam Reed, of the Percy & Reed salon and have to say that to this day it remains one of the best experiences I had at a hairdressing salon-the place had a cool vibe, the team was friendly, I had one of the best ‘shampoos’ and a wonderfully invigorating scull massage and Adam himself was the funniest and most indulgent hairdresser-he asked for my views, made suggestions and I left with a cool haircut and lots of tips on haircare, including the Shu Uemura hair products that I have continued to use to this day.
When a couple of weeks ago I read that Grazia, one of my favourite magazines, was hosting a Percy & Reed event at Selfridges, introducing their new haircare range, I thought it would be nice to go and promptly booked my ticket.
I came to Selfridges and took the escalator to the exhibition hall on the 3rd floor, where the event took place. I entered a bright room, decorated with faux green hedges, bird houses, shelves covered with Percy & Reed products (of which I will talk below). The room looked like a scene from an English countryside ( both Adam Reed and Paul Percival were raised in the countryside and wanted to have the vibe come through) , wit pub like benches and tables, covered by white and green chequered cloths, trays with jam and clotted cream, little sandwiches, scones and smiling girls pouring you champagne or apple and elderflower cordial. The room was already buzzing, with Adam and Paul talking to people and women and a few men .) of various ages taking their places-it seemed a happy and friendly place to be, which doesn’t happen often in the hairdressing environment-in my experience many hairdressing salons tend to be quite faux and full of pretentious people-so a great start .) which only got better.
Adam and Paul make a great combination, Adam being slightly louder and very funny while Paul is more reserved at a first glance,yet he is very charming and has a wonderfully wry sense of humour-it was great to see them genuinely nervous, yet sharing the ideas behind their range and useful hairdressing tips and bits of gossip. Their were joined on stage by Lauren Murdoch-Smith, Grazia’s very pretty and graceful beauty editor, who is their long-standing client and was testing all the products before they went into final production-she looks similar to one of the characters on the bottle of ‘no oil oil’ and was an inspiration behind this product, which I think is bound to develop a cult following .)
Adam and Paul wanted to create a haircare line that will answer all of women’s hair dilemmas in an effective kind of way. Adam actually admits to poking into his friends bathrooms and looking at the products-he says that he doesn’t want their products to stay at the back of the bathroom shelves, so it was important for them to get the formulations right, down to the minuscule detail-be it the bottle, the design, the smell or the actual formulation. It really resonated with me-after all, how many of us buy a hair care product and use it but often getting disappointed and pushing it to the back of our bathroom shelf ?
Even though both hairdressers/stylists are busy with photo shoots, video, fashion shows (they were responsible for the hair for the House of Holland s/s 2012 show this Sunday during London Fashion week) and doing the work on TV-the X Factor last year and British and Irish top-model this year, both are in the salon three days a week, as it’s important for both of them to continue to evolve and hone their skills-and I have to say, considering how well-known they both are Adam and Paul are kind,genuine and very interested in their clients and making them look beautiful, unlike many other of their well-known contemporaries.
At the moment the range consists of 16 products that cover women’s hair needs-you still have to pay attention to what you eat andhow much water you drink!!! The bottles look very pretty, they are the creamy/beige colour with a beautiful sketch of a girl-a pretty and stylish one with exact instructions of what the product will do and what’s even more important, how to properly use it. There are also humorous yet very cool tips on each bottle that will make you giggle and take notice! There is a dry shampoo and a first in haircare, a dry conditioner (which adds gloss and shine to the hair and revitalises it thus making it feel ‘conditioned’ on the go ), plus two masks, hairsprays, mousses and two types of oil-all of the products smell beautifully, as the smell was very important to both men to get it right-it fragrances your tresses, yet doesn’t overpower you, nor overtake the perfume that you wear-they sort of ‘compliment’ your perfume. To my ‘untrained’ nose it smells of freshly mowed grass and fresh clean county air-Adam said that walking in the countryside or walking in the rain was part of the inspiration-in moments like that everything smells fresh and clean as your senses are heightened.
Paul said that many hairdressers mix and match several products to get the final ‘finished’ result, so with that in mind they worked hard to make sure their range would have a cumulative effect and end up being a semi-professional range, which with the correct use will achieve beautifully looking hair without overloading the hair shaft with products.
As the range proudly bears the Percy & Reed London name , both Adam and Paul also wanted to make sure that their products reflected their heritage and experience, but at the same time each product stands on its own.
Both hairdressers are very aware of trends but acknowledge the fact that nowadays, thanks in part to Internet, consumers are savvier than ever and pay attention to trends. Women lead particularly busy lives balancing too many things on a daily basis, so they want the hair care products, like the skincare products (as Lauren added), to achieve the desired effect quickly and efficiently. Paul and Adam know first hand that women want their hair to have texture and movement, yet not be stiff.
It was very obvious that this range is a labour of love and when I asked Adam and Paul how long it took them to develop the products, they said that the end result took about 2 years-they laughed saying that they were a little overconfident in the beginning, (having worked in the industry for over 26 years) thinking it will take them about six months but because they are so meticulous in their approach (often getting or asking for feedback every four weeks during the process of working on the formualtions), things took longer but they are extremely proud of the end result..
We all were treated to a demonstration of products at work while Adam and Percy styled two models and girls just looked amazing. We also continued to enjoy champagne cork popping-which made everyone giggle. Adam and Paul thanked their team and Lauren and said that they hoped the range will appeal to the women and help us in our quest to get beautiful hair.
After the presentation was over, I took an opportunity to ask Adam questions about the products for my fine and sometimes fly-away hair and also quizzed him on the best products for frizzy hair, while Paul gave me a tip that I will definitely use in the future-when you apply products to your hair, spread it not only on your hands, but also between your fingers and then spread it evenly between your hair-strands, followed by brushing the product through your hair with a comb, so your hair actually benefits from the products. He also advises using a hair mask while you are in the shower or taking a bath once a week-covering your hair in a swimming cap or towel will make the product even more effective.
I also saw Percy & Reed team in action, finishing each other’s sentences, models having their hair styled and then working on the till, selling the products, and members of Percy and Read on hand for styling and products tips-I honestly had one of the most enjoyable beauty nights in a very long time. I went home laden with products and so far, having used volumizing shampoo, volumizing conditioner and oil have to say that after one use my hair feels fuller, bouncier and I am actually not inclined to pull it in the pony tail as I normally do (unlike another hair oil that I used until now, Percy and Reed’s volumizing no oil oil makes your hair shiny and not at all greasy, giving my hair a wonderfully conditioned feeling).
My huge thank you to Adam & Paul and their team, Lauren Murdoch-Smith for being so gracious and enthusiastic and for Grazia’s efforts in putting this event together.
p.s the products can be bought at Selfridges and QVC, later becoming available at SpaceNK. You can also purchase them from the Percy & Reed site above, that also offers tips, demonstarations and lots of other useful information.