I finally managed to visit Tesco's beauty hall in Dudley this week. For those of you who haven't heard Tesco are trialing this service in three stores- with a view to eventually go nationwide. I've decided to split my review into two parts to make things a little bit easier- my experience with the Regis Hair salon and my experience with the beauty counters (which I'll post later in the week)
Firstly, I know what you're most interested in is the prices! (nobody's expecting a cutting edge hair salon here but we want something cheap and reliable- which when looking at the prices- I think is achieved.) Here's a full list of the prices for Tesco's most popular services.
Hair wash, cut and style, £20 (although it is £10 this week and £15 until the 14th November as an introductory offer).
Dry cut, £12
Eyebrow threading, £5
Tan (fake bake) £15
OPI manicure, £10 (quite an impressive amount of beautiful OPI shades on display)
French manicure, £15
Gel nails, £25
Full Leg Wag, £15
Eyelash Tint or Eyebrow Tint, £5
Overall, I think the pricing is spot on. I'm not sure I'd opt for the gel nails as I've seen them at this price in most salons; but for eyebrow shaping/tinting and manicures in particular they're close to offering the cheapest prices around.
Originally I just came to have a snoop, but as there is no booking system for any of the treatments (it's strictly turn up and try your luck!) and the place was fairly quiet, I thought I'd give eyebrow shaping (threading) a try. Once I realised that a hair cut was essentially half price, I decided to opt for a trim too.
Firstly, the eyebrow threading took place in a chair just outside the salon; amongst the other shoppers. On a fairly quiet day this was fine, but I imagine this would not be the case on a busy day in the run up to Christmas. This would be a major drawback in my decision to returning. However, the therapist was excellent- really chatty (which is what you need when in considerable pain- I have no threshold!) and very professional. She gave my brows a definite shape, which is what I was after. She also gave me some tips on filling in and helping my brows grow(as mine are quite pale and thin). All in all, she took just under 10 minutes.
I then went in to the salon (which is in the far right of the picture through the glass windows) for a hair cut and style.
The price is an excellent incentive and I was lucky to walk straight in. However, for me, getting my hair styled is something I tend to plan and look forward to and I'm not sure how this system can work long term (not least because a tan requires exfoliation 24 hours, which is impossible if you're not sure when you can be fitted in!)
As you can see from the photo, you are styled in full view of the public; not something that concerned me but it might be a concern for others (I dread to think of where they conduct the leg waxes though!). It's no frills and the decor is very basic.
The member of staff who served me in the salon was. in her own words, "quite stressed and tired"- it was clear that this idea is good on paper, but harder to execute by staff in reality. She was quite frank and honest (well, this is Birmingham!) with me and ended up listing all of her issues with Tesco for example-she had to provide all her own equipment, including straightners, hairdryers and even grips because Tesco would not loan her any. As a result, the straightners (which are an additional £3 if you want them used on your hair) are not GHD and the hairdresser said they were "not very good!" (her words!). She said she had worked for 13 days straight and was really tired.
I know we are all human, and I did feel for her (we've all been there when you're just having a mare of a day!) but I do think she was there to provide a service and I wouldn't expect this at another salon. I later heard her refusing to do an updo as she had no grips; so there's an example of the lack of equipment impacting on the customers.
Despite this, the hair cut was just what I was after and saved my a fortune compared to my usual stylist!
My overall verdict? Tesco Beauty salons exemplify what their brand stands for: quick, cheap and cheerful. If you want food of an excellent quality or fine dining, you don't shop there. If you want a hair done in a relaxing, profession environment and like the concept of being spoilt, don't cancel your salon appointment just yet. The saying is true: you get what you pay for and if you're looking for cheap maintanence on the go and aren't too fussed about frills you'll get just that.