How to determine your hair type

Neville Hair Textures

Understanding your hair type is just as important as understanding your skin type. Without making a careful analysis, you will struggle to come up with an effective routine.

The first thing to know about determining your hair type is that there are 4 main categories: straight, wavy, curly and coily. What is more, there are other key elements to take into consideration such as porosity and scalp moisture which permit you to identify your unique hair type. Feeling lost yet?

When we talk about hair texture, we refer to the natural shape of your hair strands. There is an easy way to determine into which category you fall: next time you wash your hair you should let it dry naturally without adding any products. If your hair is bend and curl free and has a straight appearance, you can pretty much guarantee you have straight hair. Alternatively, if it dries with a slight bend or has an S shape, your hair is considered wavy. If your hair dries with a pronounced curl or loop pattern it means you have curly hair. Finally, a tight curl or spiral shape means you have coily hair.

When considering your hair, it is important to think about its structure and particularly its thickness. This is a deciding factor in how well your hair will react to products and which hairstyles you will be able to adopt. The best way to assess which category your hair falls into - either fine, medium or coarse - is to take a single strand of hair and place it next to a piece of thread. Thin hair will generally be finer than the thread and sadly probably won’t hold curls. If it appears thicker you most probably have coarse hair, and this will be further confirmed if you have difficulty styling it. If your hair is more or less the same size as the thread it is considered medium, making it easy to style and hold curls.

Porosity is another key aspect of your hair, which ultimately determines how much moisture or product your hair can retain. This is generally not how you determine your hair type but mostly to give you an idea of which hair products you should be using. There is an easy spray test you can carry out to determine your hair’s porosity. In order to carry the test out you will need a small water bottle with a spritz nozzle. Take a small section of naturally dried hair and apply water on small section. If the water appears just to sit on top the hair, chances are you have low porosity. This basically means that the cuticle lays flat preventing moisture to be absorbed, it is therefore recommended to apply any haircare on wet hair. Normal porosity is if your hair absorbs the water slowly, this is the lowest maintenance type. If your hair soaks in the water immediately, you have high porosity which means your hair is dry and brittle. For anyone that has high porosity we recommend using a lot of nourishing treatments and to avoid heat styling. Leave in treatments are also a great option to prevent further damage to the cuticle.

How to repair and fix damaged hair from home

How to repair and fix damaged hair from home

Even with the best of intentions and a cupboard full of hair products lockdown has undoubtedly taken its toll on your tresses.

If the sheer sight of yourself in the mirror makes you scream ‘dry hair’, ‘split ends’ or ‘frizz’ then you’ve come to the right place. All of these words indicate that there is some damage that requires your attention. Damage is mostly noticeable on the outer layer of the hair or cuticle and generally happens as a result of the cuticle opening.

One of the first things you should do is assess your hair, if you have trouble detangling your hair, if it’s suddenly unmanageable, lacks lustre or feels rough, chances are your hair is damaged. This can be the result of a combination of factors such as heat styling, bleaching, hot showers, sun exposure, chemical dyes etc…

Like with any problem there is a personalised solution, however before addressing the different types of hair damage and the best way to tackle them it’s important to reassess your haircare routine.

These are a few simple ways to prevent further damage from occuring:

When washing your hair, apply a 50 pence coin sized amount of shampoo into your hands and apply on the scalp only. Do not rub the actual hair strands. These will wash themselves when you rinse your hair.

Brush your hair in the shower whilst your conditioner is on using a wide tooth comb. This will untangle your hair and prevent it breaking. Your hair is at its weakest when damp.
Avoid using hair ties particularly when going to bed. These can have a really terrible effect on your hair. Please feel free to check out our latest blog post here.
If limiting heat styling is not an option for you, make sure you are using a heat protector.
When possible let your hair air dry.

Now, back to personalised solutions here is our advice for your specific hair type.

If your hair is Dull and Dry, it’s most likely being deprived of natural oils. This can happen as a result of using the wrong shampoo for your hair type. Particularly if you are using a shampoo which contains harsh chemicals. We would in this case recommend limiting the amount of times you wash your hair weekly to give your natural oils a chance to regenerate. In addition, we recommend replacing your shampoo for one of the following options:

Option 1:

Shop here

A highly-nourishing and reparative shampoo that leaves hair easier to manage, shinier and healthier with each use. It repairs and protects hair from everyday stresses — including damaged hair, split ends, and frizz — by re-linking broken bonds. N°4 is color-safe and proven to reduce breakage and strengthen all types of hair.

Option 2:

Shop here

This deeply nourishing shampoo is enriched with pure organic Argan oil and is suitable for both natural and coloured hair. The shampoo creates strong, shiny and manageable hair and is intensely nourishing for the hair.

If your hair is extremely knotty, it’s a sign your hair needs TLC. Hair gets tangled when raised cuticles rub together. The best way to reverse this is to use detangling sprays and moisturising masks and conditioners. It is also recommended to brush your hair working from the bottom up not to tighten the knots.

Option 3:

Shop here

When your hair needs some extra nourishment every once in a while, this is the product you need. The name says it all; the Repair Mask repairs dry and weak hair and gives your hair a soft, luxurious feeling. The mask is enriched with the signature Balmain fragrance and feels like the instant salon treatment.

Option 4:

Shop here

The Neville boar bristle paddle brush is great to massage the scalp and help detangle your hair.

Another effect that you might be experiencing as a result of damage is fizziness , this happens when the cuticles aren’t lying flat. You are most likely to notice frizz around the crown. The best way to deal tame frizz is to use serums. We recommend:

Option 5:

Shop here

Treat yourself to a 10 minute moisture makeover at home. This weekly one-time use mask offers an intensive at-home treatment. Inspired by K-Beauty and trendy hydrating facial masks, the All Soft Mega Recovery Tissue Mask delivers much-needed moisture to severely dry, coarse hair. It leaves hair with increased hydration and manageability.

Option 6:

Shop here

A highly-concentrated, weightless styling oil that repairs damaged and compromised hair. Dramatically increases shine, softness, color vibrancy, and manageability. Minimizes flyaways and frizz while restoring healthy appearance and texture. Provides heat protection of up to 450°.

Finally, split ends which we are all prone to is when the hair splits in two. Split ends can lead to breakage. This will be most difficult to reverse from home, particularly during lockdown as haircuts are not an option. However, you can minimise the breakage by using a specific treatment such as:

Option 7:

Shop here

A luxurious rich hair serum for an intensive overnight repair treatment. The concentrated formula repairs and strengthens the hair. Enriched with natural oils and extracts the serum reduces visible signs of damaged hair and protect the hair against split ends.

The truth about hair ties

The truth about hair ties

During summertime it can get extremely hot, and you may feel compelled to tie your hair up. Whether it is for comfort or practicality, we are all prone to tossing our hair up in a messy bun. Some may do it to hit the gym, others as a result of hitting the snooze button one too many times, either way it’s causing damage. You may not know it because you can’t see it but tying your hair up several times a day or even a few times a week causes unwanted friction. When you tie your hair up, you are ultimately eroding the hair shaft which in turn causes breakage that cannot be fixed or reversed.

The damage caused will often go unnoticed, until your next haircut of course. As a hair salon, we notice the damage caused by hair ties, when the stylist parts the hair at the nape of the neck only to reveal it is inches shorter. You can spot a ponytail wearer the minute they sit in the chair.

So, what can we do?

Luckily for us, the scrunchie has made a comeback and now more than ever is the time to invest in a high quality scrunchie. I will link some of my favourites below. Alternatively, you can opt for bobby pins or clips instead to keep those flyaway hairs at bay.

Elena’s edit:

Silk Hair Ties:

Shop here

Shop here


Shop here

Shop here

Thairapy during Isolation

Hairapy during Isolation

Feeling distant from your hairdresser? We have some top tips from the dream team - Jack Merrick Thirlway, senior stylist known for his razor cut, killer blowdries and fashion week looks, Seniz Alkan senior colourist renowned for ombre, ombrayalage and more, and Tom Cruickshank senior colourist and the blonde king.


We generally encourage regular haircuts to help maintain the health of your hair, however cutting your hair yourself will most certainly result in a bad haircut and bad self-esteem. Neither of which would do wonders to the morale at the moment. Besides the obvious, attempting to cut your own hair, could potentially lead to long term damage such as uneven lengths, unwanted layers or shredded ends if professional scissors aren’t used. A DIY cut could also mean your stylist has to end up cutting a lot more than you’d bargained for to rectify the overall look. Hair cutting in general can look easy, however it really isn’t. Experts undergo many hours practising how to hold their scissors and position their body to perfect the correct angle. They also, practise on dolly heads for years prior to qualifying. Aside from their technical skillset, hairdressers have a real understanding of what style will suit your personality, appearance and lifestyle. Interestingly enough, none of our stylists cut their own hair either. So instead of a botch job, try these tips to keep your hair in condition and colour hacks…

Top tips to maintain your hair colour and style whilst in isolation?

Don’t assume you need box dye. Look at other products such as L’Oreal’s root touch up, Colour Wow, Mascara Power and also dry shampoo that will blend your regrowth. Being in isolation is also the best time to be using treatments such as Olaplex Number 3, 4 & 5. Another favourite of mine is the Philip Kingsley elasticizer which will do wonders to the quality and health of your hair. – Seniz Alkan

During isolation why not take this time to give your hair a well-earned rest, try not to use too much heat and if possible let your hair air dry after its washed, better still use a nice hair treatment that can be left in for 20-30 mins before rinsing. Being on lockdown can be used as a time where your hair can be treated with love and care ready for when you get to have your first appointment at your salon after quarantine. Maybe it’s a time to work with your natural textures and watch some tutorials on the @nevillesalon Instagram page to see some quick and easy updo’s and styles that will not take long to achieve with very little equipment. Regardless of whether you are going to use heat on your hair or not I would always suggest using heat protection creams such as L’Oreal Liss control. This will give your hair, most importantly the ends the moisture it needs. As we know it is impossible to get a haircut or colour during this period but the worst thing you could do is try and tackle any problem yourself. Please wait until it is possible to get to your stylist/technician, as a bad job done at home could take months to fix. – Jack Merrick Thirlway

Ways to stop Blonde going brassy?

The best way to stop blonde going brassy is to use a violet or silver shampoo to neutralise yellow and brassy tones, such as the Kerastase Blond Absolu Bain Ultra Violet Shampoo. Depending on your hair type it’s probably best to use it once a week to avoid build up over time and actually turning violet. The good news is it won’t affect any future colour process so when we get back to normality your colourist won’t have to carry out major repair works.- Tom Cruickshank

Grown your own ombre?

While growing your ombre may seem like a good opportunity, it’s not going to be hit colour this summer. People will be over roots by then and be desiring block colour or soft tones I call it Subtle Dimension - we will be moving in the direction of an allover colour with multifaceted tones and hues. It's a very natural look. Says Tom Cruickshank

Roots Manoeuvre

Either embrace your roots during isolation or adopt a nifty new parting. Simple as that. Pick a new way to part your hair, depending on where most of your greys are.

Or simple idea is a bun or top knot that hides a thousand sins. A lovely chunky Alice band or elegant silk scarf.

How to maintain your hair colour and condition during isolation

During isolation it is important to look after your hair, if it is possible to order online of if you already have at home, using “Kerastase Masque Intense” every few days, particularly on the ends but also on any dry fragile bits of hair will help maintain the condition until you get back to your salon after lockdown.

One of my favourite products is Olaplex No3, which is an at home use conditioning treatment that helps to rebuild the bonds that have been broken over time due to colour, heat and general wear and tear.

Olaplex also have a formulation called Olaplex No6, which you apply to your hair before blowdrying, this will protect from the heat and also help to keep the bonds protected. If it is not possible to find these products online at the moment, Tesco has a Masque called “Pantene Gold Repair”, this helps keep your hair moisturised. Once rinsed and towel dried. Use Schwarzkopf guardian angel heat protection spray. This will protect your hair from heat damage from the hairdryer. Do be careful when blowdrying your hair, make sure to take most of the moisture out with a towel and then rough dry 90% dry give or take for your hair texture before applying heat directly down the hair shaft. This will save the hair from heat damage.- Jack Merrick Thirlway

Elena Lavagni’s Beauty top tips:

Use shampoo and conditioning from the same brand, they have ingredients that complement each other, and you will end up with a better result even with a budget product.
Sleeping on a satin pillow is known to reduce hair breakage. Cotton and other materials are quite rough in texture due to which they also cause more friction against your hair.
Rinse your hair with cold water as hot and warm water opens up the hair cuticles and the pores on the epidermis. If the water is too hot, it can damage your hair. Use warm water for shampooing. After you have conditioned your hair, rinse it off with cold water.
Use clarifying shampoo once a month. It helps to clear your scalp from products build up and leave the scalp clear and easy to breathe.

Do or Dye


To be stuck at home is challenging, even for the ultimate home lover. Now that we are in a lockdown situation, constrained to stay in, albeit for our safety, it can make us feel very self-critical. Catching those pesky greys in our reflection in the morning can be so frustrating and might even lead those of us who have never attempted box dye, to think the unthinkable!

We asked Senior colourist Tom Cruickshank to give us some insight as to what could go wrong and to explain the processes you will need to reverse the damage:

What most colourists are not telling you is, for those of you who have only ever had your hair professionally coloured, you will be appalled by the results of box dye. Firstly, the application process is messy, and it will most likely not end well for you, your bank balance or the condition of your hair…

The first likely scenario is that you select a colour that is too dark for your complexion. Not only will this affect your morale more than the greys did, but you will need a colour correction appointment as soon as the salon reopens. What you need to appreciate is that unlike professional colour, home colour products are extremely challenging to remove. Firstly, to remove the colour requires a large quantity of bleach before re-colouring to the desired shade. What is more, your hair will be extremely sensitive, meaning you will likely, over the next year, spend a fortune to stop it from fading and turning a brassy shade of orange.

The second scenario is for those attempting to do a home lightener. Whilst daffodils are a great indicator of spring, yellow hair isn’t the solution! You will most likely end up with a colour you hate or a chemical hair cut (i.e. broken hair). Either of these outcomes will make it near impossible for us to correct, without asking you to invest heavily on long-term treatments and that’s before we even discuss sorting out the colour. Remember trained colourists can do marvellous things with your disasters, but ultimately, you have to remember it is a colouring brush, not a magic wand.

In the end the choice is yours, would you rather spend your summer crying over a short haircut you didn’t want or covering your roots, badly, to go nowhere and see no one?

Hair treatments: What you need to know

On a daily basis our hair is subject to an array of aggressions caused by diet, stress, heat damage, colour, over washing and over processing. These can have a nefast effect on the appearance of our hair and can also play havoc on our psyche.

A recent study revealed that a whopping 77% of women don’t feel like themselves when having a bad hair day. And with our brain ticking away with endless to do lists the last thing we need, is to feel insecure because of our hair. The root of the problem, stressed hair!

Just like you, your hair needs love.

Depending on how stressed your hair is it can take time to repair and bring it back to good health, which is why consistent treatments and trims are key. Equally, if your hair is not damaged but you fancy improving the appearance of your hair, treatments should be an essential part of your haircare regimen.

Life is busy, I get it! Finding the time to come in for a cut is challenging enough without having to find additional time to spare on a treatment, but that’s where the beauty of technology kicks in. Nowadays, there are a wide variety of instant and bespoke treatments that can be done at the backwash and tailored to your hair’s exact needs, meaning you can now reap the benefits of healthy shiny hair without spending any additional time in the chair.

Whether strengthening, nourishing, smoothing, resurfacing or for added shine, reputable salons will always offer you a hair treatment with any styling or colour service as it’s the base of good hair.

Combining regular hair treatments with a good home care routine will guarantee you a head of hair that will make heads turn.


Fusio Dose The instant treatment that combines a concentré with a booster to meet your unique hair needs. With 20 possible combinations, your main and secondary hair concern will be tackled with no extra time at the backwash.
5 minutes ~ £25
Smartbond A protective and strengthening treatment, specifically designed to protect and strengthen the hair. The system consists of 3 components, the first 2 being used in salon and the 3rd one at home. I particularly recommend this treatment to people who colour their hair to prevent any damage.
1 hour ~ £150
Philip Kingsley Elasticiser Dry, brittle hair can snap under tension, and it’s fair to say that no one wants breakage. The best way to prevent breakage is to strengthen and moisturise the hair. Philip Kingsley’s elasticiser can do just that. Designed by Mr Kingsley for Audrey Hepburn, the elasticiser is a pre-shampoo intensive moisturising treatment that delivers shine and elasticity to the hair. Results are visible from first application and continue to improve with use.
30 minutes ~ £45
Redken Gold Mask This mega recovery gold tissue mask for hair was inspired by facial sheet masks. Designed to restore softness and manageability, the gold mask contains a blend of cactus, aloe vera and to nourish the hair. It provides intense moisture while smoothing the hair cuticle. Recommended weekly.
20 minutes ~ £45

To book a treatment click here and go to Hair Treatments.

Why Paying for Salon Colour is Worth It!

Undeniably there’s a big difference in cost between getting your hair coloured in a salon and buying a box of dye in the supermarket to use at home. Here’s why I think salon colour is worth it every time.

THE CRAFT OF COLOUR The expense of salon colour comes first and foremost down to the fact that you are paying for a trained expert who has spent years learning every aspect of the craft. Changing the colour of your hair permanently isn’t a decision that should be taken lightly, because it changes the physical structure of your hair. Not only are these experts thoroughly trained in handling the strong chemicals involved in the process, and not only do they have a vast array of colours and equipment at their fingertips, they have also learned how skin tone and hair colour interact as well. Using their trained eye and artistry skills, they can tailor your colour to complement your complexion, face, hair type and lifestyle for a truly bespoke finish. From juniors to the most senior colourist, each member of salon staff is in situ to deliver the finest experience and result.
SAFETY Used incorrectly, the chemicals involved in colouring hair can have damaging effects. Hair colour, for example, contains allergens that can cause a wide variety of allergic reactions, from cases of rashes and hives, to hospitalisation and even fatalities. The most common allergen is paraphenylenediamine or PPD and is found in over 99% of permanent hair dyes. You may or may not be aware that it has been a legal requirement for all hairdressers to carry out patch tests prior to colour services. Reputable salons will never guarantee your appointment until that test has been done. With such factors in mind, safety should always be at the forefront when colouring hair both at home and in a salon. This is undeniably easier in the salon, where extensive safety procedures are in place. Should - god forbid - an accident happen then the correct equipment and fully trained and insured staff are immediately on hand to respond. This is not the case at home.
SALON DESIGN Salon owners invest heavily to ensure the salon environment is ideal for cutting and colouring hair. Seats are designed to support our backs, backwashes to guarantee the best shampoo and treatment services and lighting arrangements such that our hair colour and skin tone are rendered in a faithful way. Light must be even, natural and free from shadows.
HAIR HEALTH Colouring our hair compromises its health in varying degrees. In a salon environment however, the styling and colour experts have a wealth of expertise and first fate products that enable them to best prescribe a routine to maintain and enhance hair health both professionally and at home.

Salon hair colour is expensive, I don’t deny that, but now I hope you understand a bit better why it’s well worth the investment. Brilliant hair colour is truly transforming!

All students can benefit from 30% off all hair services upon presentation of a valid NUS card. Bookings can be made via our reception on 0207 235 3654.

Inside Out

I have said it before and I will say it again - This year I want to go back to basics and try to live in a more wholesome and celebratory way. I feel tired of reading about faddy diets and listening to everyone claiming they have this allergy or that intolerance. Being in this business I know that good hydration and a varied, balanced diet is essential to grow healthy, luscious hair as well.

Most of us have about 120,000 hairs on our scalp and these are made up of very fast growing cells – in fact, hair cells are the second fastest growing cells in out bodies, (slower only than intestinal cells). This vigorous growth must be sustained and supported.

The only problem is that since our hair is not a vital tissue or organ it is not - and will never be - prioritised in terms of the nutrition and hydration sent its way. As a result, nutritional shortcomings and dehydration often lead to hair loss or depletion in hair health.

I personally believe that the vast proliferation of fruit and vegetable heavy diets in recent years has led many people to believe that their bodies won’t be compromised by a diet that doesn't contain sufficient proteins, carbohydrates and calories. This isn't right. Yes, vegetables and fruit are hugely important, but nutritionists remind us constantly that happy, healthy bodies (and hair cells), need protein, complex carbohydrates, iron, vitamins, minerals and good hydration to work well.

Trichologists (hair and scalp specialists), advise that to enhance hair health we should try to eat protein for breakfast and lunch, as well as a portion of complex carbohydrates such as potato, sourdough bread, oats, brown rice, pasta or whatever.

Water is equally essential to the health and vitality of all our bodily cells, delivering essential nutrients and removing waste. Put simply, a dehydrated body can’t function properly. Those who don't drink enough water on a long-term basis will compromise the health of their hair follicles and cells, which won’t be able to grow sufficient hair to replace that which is shed naturally.

Hair loss caused by dehydration is easily fixed by making a conscious effort to drink more water. Note that the best water for hair health is natural spring or mineral, and that in a cooler climate like ours, doctors advise consuming at least 1.2 litres of water a day. Prepare to drink up!

The Truth About Patch Tests

I think it’s safe to say that we probably all feel the same about patch tests - They’re a bore!

Because with work, family, friends and endless to do lists, it’s difficult enough to find the time to get our hair done at all, let alone to make additional salon trips for patch tests in the days before - Especially when the majority of us have probably never had an allergic reaction in our lives.

I get it. I really do. We all want to look fabulous and to make that happen as quickly and efficiently as possible. Life is busy!

The most common allergen, paraphenylenediamine or PPD, is found in over 99% of permanent hair dyes. And from cases of rashes and hives, to hospitalisation and even fatalities (a poor 19 year old Parisian woman had a near-fatal reaction in only November last year), 5% of people suffer negative reactions of some kind to hair colour.

These reactions often occur when the sufferer least expects them – Did you know for example, that we can all develop new allergies at any stage of our lives? Moreover, hair colour formulations are tweaked constantly to modernise them and make them kinder to our hair, the downside being that a product that doesn't irritate you now, may - frustratingly - do so in the future. It’s inconvenient but true! Safety therefore, should be at the forefront of all our minds when colouring hair both at home and in salon.

You may or may not be aware that it has been a legal requirement for all hairdressers to carry out patch tests prior to colour services. Reputable salons will never guarantee your appointment until that test has been done.

So let’s face it, while patch tests are far from convenient, they are essential and continue to save lives worldwide on a daily basis. Perhaps, just perhaps, next time you are asked to book in for one, swap your irritation for reassurance that you are using a reputable salon that is fulfilling its legal requirements and puts your safety first.

Patch tests should be booked at least 48 hours before the colour appointment. A pea-sized quantity of the colour formula will be applied to the back of your ear or nape of your neck. If you subsequently experience a reaction of any kind, notify the salon immediately so that you can be advised on the correct procedure.