By Paige Donner
Leonor Greyl has used natural ingredients to formulate her hair products for more than 40 years. It’s the type of natural beauty salon and hair care product company that is so native to a Parisienne’s beauty regime, that it’s become cultural. In that sense, as a visitor or tourist, you wouldn’t necessarily know it was there or that it was “naturelle” until someone deemed you worthy enough to tell you.
It’s not that the Leonor Greyl salon is hidden. Not at all! Its location just behind Madeleine in Paris’s 8th arrondissement makes it a perfect appointment stop just before partaking of the Crillon High Tea, stopping in at Hédiard for a gift box of “fruit jellies” or finding that perfect silk scarf at Hermès.
Its second-floor (first floor, French) locale gives the Leonor Greyl salon that intimate feeling of a ritual to be indulged in, a ritual to be shared only with your inner circle, and a ritual that is all about taking time just for yourself.
It’s worth reserving in advance for the Salon Privée or the private treatment room. It’s just a small room off the main salon floor but the experience cordons you off from the salon chatter and symphony of hair dryers. It is also here where Leonor Greyl’s signature treatments are given.
One of these signature treatments is designed for deep hydration of not just your hair follicles but all the way down to your scalp. This ritual is called “ventouse therapy” and it begins with your hair esthetician, in this case, Nina, a delightful Parisian sporting a gold Bindi, who will apply a honey thick dose of “huile de germe de ble” or wheat germ oil to your whole head of hair.
The wheat germ oil is used as a treatment for hair that tends toward oily. The vegetable oils and vitamins of the wheat germ facilitates the elimination of excess sebum at the roots of your hair. The result is shinier, more voluminous hair where “health and vitality” glows through from the roots to the tips.
The Ventouse Therapy is what you can request while the wheat germ oil is left on your hair for more thorough penetration. It is a small suction cup that your hair esthetician will place on small sections of your scalp. You will feel a slight vacuum sensation as the oil and the delicate skin of your scalp mingle to achieve a deep hydration and revitilization of hair and skin follicles. This therapy stimulates healthy hair growth, or so swear generations of satisfied Leonor Greyl clients.
After the Ventouse Therapy your hair is wrapped in a warm towel, your esthetician gives you a neck, shoulder and arm massage and then you are left to enjoy your warm herbal tea while you relax in the reclining chair with your head under a cocooning hair dryer for 10-15 minutes. This is where the privacy and quietude of the Salon Privée is most appreciated.
You can be assured that all products used at the Leonor Greyl salon are Paraben and alcohol free, all are “naturelle,” though they don’t make the claim that the products are “bio,” meaning organic.
Many French beauty traditions are rooted in natural processes. The more established ones do not trumpet this fact because, well, it’s simply what they’ve always done. For them it would be akin to announcing the sky is blue. Leonor Greyl is one of these ever so Parisienne, ever so French and predominantly naturelle salons.
If you are lucky enough to get Stephan, a sort of charming French hairstylist version of a George Clooney, to give you a blowout, you will walk out of the salon and to your Crillon High Tea feeling – and looking – like a princess.
Leonor Greyl 15, rue Tronchet, 75008 Paris www.leonorgreyl.com