Ibiza wellness: John Frieda Salons – Style and substance

Given the opportunity, most people would up sticks and wave goodbye to city living if it meant the chance to sample life on Ibiza. Who wouldn’t trade polluted air, clogged up roads and hot, crowded transport for pine forests, stretches of fine golden sand and a sea breeze to gently cool your face as you wander along them? When Jeffrey Eli was offered the opportunity to leave London and return to the white isle for a second summer to manage the exclusive John Frieda Salon at Nobu Hotel Ibiza Bay, he didn’t have to think too hard about his decision.

“I was out here managing the salon for two and a half months last year,” he explains. “But this time I’m back for the whole summer – six months in total.” Housed within the island’s most recent five-star offering on the shores of Talamanca, the salon is a high-end, luxury space where neutral walls are complemented by gold adornments and sleek, streamline chairs. Naturally, this is in perfect keeping with its setting and the demands of its glamorous, clued-up clientele.

In truth, that’s to be expected from any John Frieda salon. In a period spanning over two decades, it’s developed an illustrious reputation for having the most stunning salons and talented stylists in the world, with successful branches in both London and New York. John also has an intimate connection with the island – he’s had a home here for many years – so it’s no surprise that its reach eventually extended to our sun-blessed Balearic shores. “John Frieda has been going since the 70s,” says Jeffrey. “It’s a huge name on both sides of the Atlantic, and so it made total sense to open a space here on Ibiza, especially with a location like ours at Nobu Hotel Ibiza Bay. There’s really no other salon on the island like it.”

There’s no denying the salon possesses an air of chic cosmopolitanism, in look as well as vibe. But what also makes it stand out is the expertise showcased by its team of highly-trained stylists, who go through years of rigorous training before they’re allowed to fly the nest to the salon floor. “I’ve been working for the company for five years,” explains Jeffrey. “I trained with them and I’ve grown up with them, and of course, learnt much along the way.”

For Jeffrey, it was perhaps inevitable that he’d move into the world of hair. As a child, he’d frequently plait his sister’s hair, and his mother had an affinity for the trade, despite it not being her career. But he’s also chosen this path because he gets a genuine buzz from making clients feel good about themselves. “My favourite thing about the job is that I get to be creative while making people happy,” he explains. “Someone can be going through a lot in their life and you and just by doing their hair you can lift them up and make them feel so much better. It’s so satisfying.”

It goes without saying that a simple haircut is an extremely simple but powerful thing – we’ve all felt the benefits of having a transformative new ‘do, but it’s good to know that the team at John Frieda are powered by that same motive, while also have the high-level competence to back it up. “We have a lot of stylists who do session work and have celebrity clients,” says Jeffrey. “This gives them a lot of inspiration which they then bring back to the salon floor. We’re really encouraged to unleash our creativity, and we’re all inspired by each other’s work, as well as current trends.”

This summer, the London-based team are on rotation at the Ibiza branch – stylists and colourists among them. Pop in for a colour refresh, have your hair braided before hitting the clubs, spruce up your style, or go for Jeffrey’s signature blow dry. “I like to create a beachy, wavy look,” he says. “A lot of people use tongs but I like to use a brush because it minimises the intensity of the heat and it tends to last longer. A lot of people are fascinated by my method!”

That’s the difference at a John Frieda Salon. You’ve got staff who really know their stuff, who are willing to go out of their way to make you feel special and pampered, while simultaneously showing off world-class skills. And here’s a tip if you’ve suffered at the hands of sun, sea and chlorine – their range of treatments is designed to enhance damaged, dry hair. Good to know when you’re living life on an island. “Wave my wand and I can do anything!” laughs Jeffrey. Precisely the kind of magic we’re looking for when it comes to hair.