AS I trudge along North Street in Chichester, battling the wind and the rain, I’m suffering a touch of post-Christmas blues.
The decorations and lights have come down, we’ve heralded in the new year, the seasonal festivities are over and everything seems rather grey – until I walk through the doors of Q Hair and Beauty and find myself enveloped in a warm glow.
From the friendly welcome I receive, it’s obvious from the very start that I have come to the right place to achieve my aim – getting the new year off to a flying start by indulging in some serious pampering.
The busy run-up to Christmas, hectic festive celebrations and then having to deal with a certain amount of storm damage following the recent gales have all taken their toll.
My skin’s dry and weather-beaten, my hair looks flat and brittle and my shoulders and back are aching and tense.
Not for long, though, as my day of indulgence begins with a detox body treatment at the expert hands of Chloe – a full body scrape followed by full body massage.
This gets rid of all the dead skin which has built up over the winter – the combination of chilly weather outside and central heating indoors really dries out skin, but this wonderfully hydrating treatment leaves it silky-smooth and also gets the circulation going – perfect January therapy.
All the therapies at Q are carefully tailored to suit individual needs so after a relaxing chat in the softly-lit therapy room, with relaxing music playing in the background, Chloe decides which of the three different oils she could use for the treatment would be best for me.
She chooses the ‘tonic’ because of its uplifting qualities, based on several herbs and spices which really warm up the muscles, ideal to ease my minor aches and pains.
I’m already feeling relaxed once the body scrape is completed, but then it’s time for the full body massage and here Chloe certainly works her magic.
Applying just the right pressure and paying particular attention to my tense neck, shoulders and back, she teases out the knotted muscles, breaking down lactic acid in areas where it has hardened, and I can feel my whole body relaxing even more, almost drifting off to sleep.
I have always been a fan of good massage, but this treatment is the best I have ever experienced.
After two hours of sheer bliss, I can stretch out fully without the slightest twinge and my skin is glowing and smooth as silk.
Now it’s time for Michaela to take over for my manicure, another lovely unhurried and relaxing process.
My nails are short, but after being tidied up and the cuticles delicately trimmed, a neutral tone of polish is decided upon and applied – for a change my hands look almost elegant!
Then I go down to the main salon, not just for my hair to be restyled, but for the day of sheer indulgence to continue.
Charlotte hasn’t cut my hair previously so, as she would with any new client, before my hair is washed she spends ten minutes or so finding out what I would like to achieve.
She asks what I like and what I don’t like about my hair – do I want layers, how long do I prefer my fringe to be, how do I like it blow-dried, do I like to use mousse, which styles do I think suit my face shape?
We also talk about my lifestyle – hectic! – and having covered all the basics and moved on to details, we decide on a ‘blunt’ bob which is low-maintenance and therefore easy for me to manage.
But before the cut, I’m in for another real treat, this time at the deft hands of Ellie – the luxurious Awapuhi Wild Ginger keratin treatment.
I lean back with an eye mask on while this fabulous product is gently massaged into my hair – I’m so relaxed I don’t bother with the iPod which is offered to me, but I’m more than happy to enjoy an excellent hand massage from Ellie while the treatment takes effect.
The closest thing to the human form of keratin, Awapuhi is ideal for reviving hair which has become dry, perhaps just due to winter weather, or through colouring or using heat for styling.
The boost it gives will last for about six weeks.
Charlotte takes over again and my hair is treated to another superb treatment – Moroccan oil which gives a wonderful silky texture, and a mousse which adds volume and bounce – before she sets to work on creating a splendid bob, taking enormous pains to check the layers and lengths at every stage.
A quick spritz of Express Style, a very light, soft product which shields the hair from heat damage, and my blow-dry begins, starting from the back in quite large sections to achieve the effect we’re aiming for.
Once my hair is dry and bounced up, Charlotte checks the outside edge of the bob to make sure it’s a clean, sharp line – perfection, a style which is just what I wanted and will stay in shape for six to eight weeks.
I can’t think of a better way to start the new year – my skin feels fabulous, my new hairstyle looks great and I really do feel it’s a new me, ready to face the months ahead with a spring in my step, thanks to the fantastic team at Q.