Frank Fowden Hairstylists: A Cautionary Tale

Frank Fowden

I am thirty years old and therefore old enough to know better. But sometimes you look down at your hair and it’s so split and damaged that a force bigger than you compels you to have it cut immediately. This happened to me last Friday afternoon. I usually see Andret at Mooi, who is the best hairdresser in the world. Fact. Unfortunately (for me), it seems that every woman in Cape Town agrees with me, so it’s near on impossible to get an appointment unless you book weeks in advance. My broken barnet needed tending to, and sharpish, so I ended up booking a panicked appointment at Frank Fowden at the V&A Waterfront, which is right across from my office (handy/extremely detrimental). For those not familiar, Frank Fowden is a very high-end salon – if you want Frank to personally cut your hair, be prepared to pay R750 for the privilege. He’s a little out of my price range, so I settled for a senior stylist, who still came in at a punchy R400. What’s the worst that could happen?

Home Alone

I learned a valuable lesson last week: I will never book a hair stylist’s last appointment of the day ever again. My stylist had been on her feet since 9am in a hot, loud salon and she was less than interested in what I had to say. The only time she showed any enthusiasm was when she managed to bully me into having a ‘treatment’ for R270. Proceed to the hair wash – I thought ‘Well, I’m having a treatment so at least I’ll get a nice head massage’. Wrong. The ‘treatment’ was applied to my scalp and pushed around for the sum total of about 30 seconds before it was rinsed off and I was frog-marched back to my chair. My stylist then proceeded to have a completely inappropriate conversation with me about her personal and professional life, which left me feeling awkward and uncomfortable. During all the chatting (hers) she managed to lob off way more than I specified, but it’s not the worst cut I’ve ever had (I once left a salon with an actual mullet, so I’m not going to lose sleep over this).  It’ll grow out, I’ll get an appointment with Andret and she’ll make everything right again.

The blowdry, however, was another story – I left with disgusting, greasy roots on account of the ‘treatment’ not being washed out properly. Ponytail…immediately. My hair was so greasy, in fact, that later that evening, Jules’ fiancé asked me if someone had rubbed a pork chop on my head! Have you ever? Like I said, the cut is fine, and maybe I can overlook the blowdry (maybe I can’t), but the whole experience was so deeply unpleasant, and that is what left such a bad taste in my mouth. Obviously I didn’t voice any of this to my stylist because I’m a coward – but be honest, how many of you have smiled through gritted teeth and said ‘I love it’ when what you mean was ‘I hate it’?

So there you have it. Don’t make the same mistake I did – rather just go to Mooi.

Image via

13 comments on Frank Fowden Hairstylists: A Cautionary Tale

  • Jo

    What, no picture of the greasy do?? 😉

    • Camilla (author)

      I couldn’t possibly do that to you – no one should have had the misfortune of seeing it! x

  • Lize Hartley

    Oh noooooo!

    I have to cheat on my hairdresser as he’s away for the next 2 weeks, and I’m away the week thereafter. But I’m cheating on him with Mooi so I don’t feel too frightened.

  • Terri

    I’m sure that you must have been very upset. I know I’m putting myself in the line of fire now, but this is not the type of post that I’m used to reading in this blog. I think you should have brought it to the salon’s attention and given them an opportunity to fix their mistake before thrashing them on your blog. I’m sure that you realise the influence that you have so use it wisely.

    • Camilla (author)

      Hi Terri. No, not at all – we value all feedback. I absolutely agree with you – however the environment was such that any feedback/criticism would not have been well received and that is why I chose to bite my tongue. I have been through this experience before, and I have complained before – but I did not feel comfortable confronting this particular stylist. I debated about whether or not to write this post, and I know it is harsh, but I stand by what I have written.

  • Lize Hartley

    @Terri OR Camilla can use her influence a) however the hell she wants [this is, after all, their blog, no?], b) to give her loyal readers an honest account of her experiences? To me, that’s the kind of blog I want to read.

    • Terri

      Lize you are being very ignorant if you think that people can say whatever they want to on any form of media.

      • Lize Hartley

        Terri, please don’t make that kind of judgement via a platform such as this. I am anything but ignorant, and spent years working in the media industry. Camilla’s review is truthful, and she has no need to cover up what happened. She has given an honest review of HER own, personal experience at the salon on her own, personal blog. I’m not saying anyone can say anything on any platform [mostly because I’m not retarded], but Camilla certainly does not need to cover up the facts. She has not “trashed” the salon, she has given an honest review. And she is entitled to that, just as you are entitled to go elsewhere for your daily beauty fix if you have a problem with her honesty.

  • Mbali

    Great, honest post.

    And regarding Terri’s comment, I think you’re entitled to use your influence and voice in any manner you choose. This is EXACTLY how the media functions.

    Well done.


  • Jules

    I can see Terri’s point but I also think it’s a very tricky situation. In this case, I don’t believe anything would have been gained by complaining to the salon because the stylist clearly wasn’t in the right frame of mind to receive constructive criticism. I think Camilla was already feeling awkward and I don’t blame her one bit for keeping her mouth shut.

    It’s not easy to post a negative review and put ourselves in the firing line but sometimes it is necessary and in this case, I believe Camilla is entirely justified. People must make up their own minds about it – that’s what freedom of speech is all about.

    I encourage healthy debate and am glad that our readers are able to share their thoughts honestly in this way, as long as each interaction is respectful.

  • Nicola

    Love the honest feedback – but more importantly… can’t wait to try out Andret at Mooi!

  • Mark Adrian

    Hi Camilla
    I am shocked at your experience at Franks multi – award winning salon . I know him to be a commited and meticulous salon owner and feel he should be afforded the oppurtunity to respond. I am sure he will council the stylist responsible and resolve your discontent.For salon owners criticism is as important as the compliments we receive as this input culminates in us offering best salon practices.
    Kind regards

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *