Urban Escape Hair reviews – Time Out Melbourne, 24 August 2014
One of the world’s most innovative green hair salons is right on your doorstep
What are some of your complaints about hair salons over the years? Lack of care and attention? Shuffled around from pillar to uncomfortable post? Tatty mags in uninspiring surroundings? Wasteful use of water and electricity?
Well, Craig Withers has taken it upon himself to address them all – and you wouldn’t expect any less from someone who was a Young Australian of the Year finalist in decades past and has been scooping awards ever since, the most recent being this year’s Micro Business Award category at the 2014 Telstra Business Awards.
Let’s start with the salon itself. The name says it all – this Urban Escape has been entirely gutted and refitted, with one wall lined with floor-to-ceiling windows that show off the garden outside. Thanks to the generous-sized mirrors, guests stationed at the opposite wall get the same effect.
It’s spacious, too – around three metres between clients – with a colouring station (or “bar”) in the centre, built out of old railway sleepers by Craig himself. The LED lighting installed in the bulkhead ceiling emit a daylight-like ambience so that you can be sure you’re getting the colour you asked for.
Not only does Craig have the highest distinction of Aveda stylists – he’s a “purefessional” – but Urban Escape won the Aveda Green Salon award in 2011, that included salons the world over.
He hasn’t missed a trick when it comes to sustainability: the sealant he used is water-based; he used hand tools rather than electric; the energy-efficient light globe system cost him an extra $40,000; the bathroom lights are on timers; all the paint is low-VOC; the Easydry towels are disposable and biodegradable to save on laundry emissions; and the staff clean up using only water and Enjo cloths.
Some of that may seem excessive, but as Craig’ father always told him, “Even if you’re going to be a garbo, be the best garbo.”
Upon arriving at Urban Escape, you’ll be greeted by Craig’s dog Duke, then seated with a herbal tea, cucumber and lime-infused water or a coffee as you receive a neck and shoulder massage. There’s free wi-fi, but we’d prefer to watch Craig at work. He’s Aveda’s National Educator, so you’re in extremely good hands.