I’m pregnant with my second child, I have too much shit to sort before my life gets turned upside down again and I really want to get my hair cut. It’s too long and just sits there. I feel like Morticia from the Addams Family, or as someone once said to me, ‘Cher’. I’d thought about booking in a cut (ooh, maybe some balayage too…) but I couldn’t bear to set aside the 2 hours I’d need (including travel etc – I don’t have THAT much hair!) especially when free time was so precious. Turns out that my solution popped up (quite literally), whilst I was heading home from a Pregnancy Yoga class in Shoreditch.
I’d heard about Chop Chop, the 20 minute, £20 hair cut from Kat, who I knew from PushPR, and who’d posted a photo on her Instagram stories about it. However, I only took a quick glance at their website at the time – I thought the concept was great, but with time so limited, just getting to wherever it was would be too much of a hassle.
BUT. After my pregnancy yoga class, as there was no direct train on the overground back from Shoreditch to Highbury, I decided to return home from Old Street. I love the area around Old Street – there’s so much exciting stuff and that’s just in the station itself. The walk was enough of a temptation, especially as I had to walk past Doughnut Town with their ridiculously delicious-looking creations (some of which have WHOLE JARS OF NUTELLA ON THEM!) I could have headed straight to the Northern Line at Old Street but instead, took a nosy to the other end of the Old Street where I saw the Chop Chop pop-up.
I was greeted by Sherman who approached with a brochure but honestly, I was already sold. I needed to get my hair cut and if they could do it in 20 minutes, HURRAH! There are 24 hairstyles to choose from, which include Ladies Cuts, Ladies Styling, Ladies Braiding and Men. Even though it appears to be a ‘speed’ service, it’s not rushed and Sherman took time to sit with me and find out what I wanted. I left it in his hands to recommend what would be best for my requirements (less heavy and just something more lively). Apparently a layered cut would be best. We discussed the length and how short the layers would be and then we got started! Unlike a usual salon experience, there’s no head massage and hair wash so everything is dry cut. Thank goodness I’d washed my hair the day before.
According to Sherman, dry cutting can be beneficial because unlike when cutting wet hair, hairstylists can see how the hair reacts and naturally sits on the head. Wet cutting is traditional and often needs extra tidying when it’s dry. This technique drastically reduces the time you’ve got in the chair. Now, they say each hairstyle takes 20 minutes, but mine took a little longer – approximately 30-35 minutes – as I’ve apparently got rather thick hair. I was slightly worried that Sherman would rush to get me finished within the 20 minute window but he continued with his attention to detail for the whole cut. I also noticed that in terms of products, they use one called Phyto. When I asked Sherman about this, his response was that they’re plant-based and organic and they like to use the best products for their clients. Good answer!
Whilst I was having my hair done, I saw two girls having braids done. They were pleased with the results, so much so, that when their two other friends turned up, they decided to go for braiding too. There are several options for braiding but I especially liked the look of the floral style.
Chop Chop is co-owned by Kaye Sotomi, Laure Ferrand and Sherman Hawthorne, who set it up to service the time-poor who want fast services at their fingertips. And unlike many high street chains, they cater to a diverse range of hair types, from European to curly and Afro. Whilst Chop Chop is currently a 3 month pop-up at Old Street (finishing April 2018), there are plans to take booths along to Westfield in Spring and then onto more locations after.
Whilst part of me did yearn for the full head massage / hair wash experience, this was exactly what I needed. If you get there at quiet times, you can be seen to pretty quickly, but for those who want to pop out in their lunch break for a cut or style, they’ve got a mobile app so you can join their virtual queue and know exactly when you’ll be seen. I was also impressed by the price, especially considering the experience of the stylists; Sherman has styled hair for MANY years, working his way up from being an assistant to stints in Malaysia working on films and with celebrities. If you’re the kind of person who just wants something done well and quickly, get on down there. I’ll definitely be back!
Chop Chop provide fast, quality hair cuts, braiding and styling for only £20. There are 24 styles to choose from in total and they cater to different hair types too. They’re currently in Old Street underground until April 2018 and then they move into Westfield.