Beauty, People of Joburg

7 min with David Gillson

Dec 11, 2019, Author: Hello Joburg

Well-known hairstylist and co-owner of Carlton Hair in Hyde Park and Melrose Arch, David Gillson has opened a brand-new hair salon on the Insta-famous Elizabeth Street in London. Like Carlton Hair, Issy’s is also a sustainable salon that stocks high-quality and eco-friendly Davines products. We sat down with David to find out more. 


What’s the story behind Issy’s? 

I’ve always wanted to have a business overseas – especially in London because I travel there frequently – so when my manager from Carlton Hair Hyde Park moved to London and wanted to open a salon, I was thrilled. One of my clients who lives between here and London also wanted to get involved, so the three of us teamed up and put the budget together to open Issy’s. We bought it in May and in September it closed for renovations, but as of 1 October it’s been officially open!  

What makes Issy’s a must visit for Joburgers travelling to London?  

The location is amazing – it’s on Elizabeth Street in Belgravia, one of the most Instagrammed streets in the world. It’s home to Dominique Hansel, Baker & Spice, Mungo & Maud as well as Peggy Porschen Cakes, where people line up from eight in the morning to eight at night to take Instagram pictures outside the store front. Everything on the street is completely unique; nothing is a chain, so that makes it special.  

How do you deal with the seasonal difference in hair trends between Joburg and London?  

More and more there are no seasons. Years ago, they would predict the seasons and it would take us a year to get it. Thanks to the Internet, people in South Africa are now very aware of what’s going on overseas and around the world. Although some trends work better in certain seasons, I don’t see us as behind anymore. It’s not like you still have to wait for Vogue to come out to see the trends. 


What are the top summer hair trends? 

Balayage and face framing baby lights are big. In fact, Davines has launched a new toning system called View, that’s is great for achieving these trends. It’s a semi-permanent toner that can be used to tone hair however you want it. The point is that if you have the lighter hair you can do natural colours or unusual colours like steel, charcoal or amethyst. 

What are some other new launches from Davines? 

Davines has launched the Alchemic System line of colour shampoos and conditioners that add a fun wash of colour to hair. It lasts one or two washes, so it’s great if you’re going clubbing or to the beach and want to look really cool. You can also play with the intensity of the colour, as the colour payoff is dependent on how long you leave it on for. And if you don’t like it or are going back to work, you can wash it out with the deep cleansing shampoo. There’s also a new treatment, On Protection; a reconstructing treatment that’s great for people who want to be chameleons and change their hair colour, but also want to maintain its health.  

What makes Carlton Hair and Issy’s sustainable?  

We use eco heads to conserve water and only use Davines products produced in Parma, Italy, which are made with all-natural ingredients and have no carbon footprint. At Issy’s we also use disposable towels because they’re biodegradable, but unfortunately they’re just too expensive for the South African market. 


What made you passionate about green beauty?  

I’ve been working with Davines for over 10 years now. I was interested in the topic because if you live on the planet, you should obviously have a vague interest in it. Seeing their passion and how achievable it is, is what pushed me more and more in that direction. 

What are your summer haircare essentials? 

Definitely the Davines On Protection treatment and their Oi Oil – my hero product. This oil is perfect to take to the beach. The newly launched Oi Butter, which is a very intense take-home product, is also fab. 

Facebook: @davidgillson 

Twitter: @gillsondavid 

Instagram: @gillsondavid 

Instagram: @issyshairsalon 

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