Finding a trustworthy and affordable beauty salon after moving to Liverpool can be a nightmare. Many disastrous trips to countless Scouse beauty parlours have resulted in nothing more than a series of expensive tantrums, yet I think it is safe to say I have finally found the answer in city centre beauty parlour So Coco Rouge.

When I first arrived at So Coco Rouge salon, I was admittedly torn between excitement and apprehension. Located near Victoria Street, I immediately fell in love with the pretty Parisian façade, yet I could not get rid of the anxiety I’m sure many non-Scousers face on their first visit to a Liverpudlian salon: A genuine fear of being pinned down and attacked by an eyebrow pencil.

Famous faces in the So Coco Rouge salon

Nevertheless, I pushed these thoughts to the back of my mind and opened the quaint front door, only to be greeted with a handful of perfect, pearly-white smiles. As I noticed the wall filled with photos of celebrity clients my confidence began to grow; hey, if it’s good enough for Nancy off Hollyoaks, it’s good enough for me!

Katy’s beauty room

Nails, hair and makeup were all on the agenda for my afternoon of pampering, and up first was the manicure with beauty therapist Katy. After setting the perfect cup of tea on the table of the pristine beauty room, she began a luxurious forearm and hand massage. I’ve got a lot of love for dark nails right now, so my colour of choice from the selection of OPI polishes was ‘I brake for manicures’; a vampish deep purple-grey which was applied with the utmost care and precision as Katy happily chatted away – she obviously loved her job, but then again who wouldn’t?!

With perfectly polished nails and top coat nearly dry, I was led back into the salon where I met Bonnie, the bubbly, charismatic hairdresser who, despite her impressive volume, made me feel totally at ease. Just that morning I had been despairing over my roots (near dip-dye) and the general health of my hair (verging on white Bob Marley), yet as Bonnie looked over my blonde-ish mess there was no hint of the judgement or disgust that I so often dread when entering a hairdresser’s. Bonnie instinctively knew what shade and tone to mix together and after giving me (another) cup of tea, got to work. Something strange was happening: My hair was in the hands of a complete stranger and yet I was completely relaxed; her friendly attentiveness just made me trust her. As we chatted away about shopping and karaoke (Bonnie’s unsurprisingly a massive fan) I had almost forgotten I was there to review the place.

Two of the Rougettes: Bonnie (left) and Katy

Loving ‘I brake for manicures’ by OPI

Of course, Bonnie is also quite obviously a serious professional, and as she began to cut my hair she fell silent, claiming a perfect hair cut can’t be achieved without complete concentration; and I was not about to complain. After ridding me of the vile, scraggly ends of my hair, aided by a wondrous complimentary Morroccanoil treatment, she managed to perform what can only be described as the best non-Scouse blow dry – bouncy without being too much. Voila! My new hair colour was revealed; a perfectly-toned bright blonde (she informed me later she uses the same brand that is used on the Prada models, no biggie).

After Bonnie had finished off perfecting my shiny new hair, I was whisked over to Sian-Louise, one of So Coco Rouge’s two makeup girls. Now, I should point out that I am a control freak of the highest degree when it comes to my makeup, and I have never had a positive experience on the rare occasion I have trusted anyone else to have a go.  Traumatic flashbacks of a free makeover from years ago made me want to bolt straight out the door, but with courage and a heavy sense of my duty as a beauty journalist, I gritted my teeth and braced myself for what I expected to be an inch thick makeup mask, finished off with a super-sharp Scouse-brow. Oh, how wrong I was.

After quizzing me on my preferred look (natural yet flawless), my plans for that night (a house party) and my outfit (burgundy and white shirt with jeans), Sian-Louise got out her incredible collection of MAC makeup and began her work. She took everything I had said into account and consulted me before applying anything, so I had complete faith in everything she was doing. As she deftly applied a warm purple-brown eye shadow, we discussed techniques and products, and I learned she also runs makeup lessons with her colleague Robyn for groups of four or more for just £25 – hello cute present idea! By the time she had finished, I looked like me, with my own eyebrows, only ten times better. I loved it.

The finished product (in front of totally apt wall art)

So us students need despair no more: Here is a salon that ticks all boxes: Top end products, excellent customer service, highly trained and friendly staff, all in a beautiful setting. Oh, and we can’t forget that all-important student discount of 25% Tuesday-Thursday. All in all, the experience is one of complete luxury that won’t leave you weeping over your bank statement, or your hair.

So Coco Rouge
5 Old Haymarket
Manchester Street
L1 6ER

Tel: 0151 708 7245