Positioned perfectly alongside Paddington’s bustling Five Ways is the Wilson and Marz hair salon, co-founded by Sally Schmidt (nee Wilson) and Alicia Courtenay (nee Marz). The dynamic duo has had a longstanding friendship since working together as apprentices at both Valonz and Element Hair in Woollahra. Together, they hold immense experience and have worked Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar and Marie Claire and catered to celebrity clients including Kate Moss, Cate Blanchett, and Toni Colette. Their focus? Attaining ‘beautiful, gorgeous, sexy hair’ for all.
It’s brunch time on a busy Saturday morning as I head into the salon for a cut and colour. Summer’s here and I want to trade in my thick, licorice mane for a more lightweight and sun kissed alternative. While I dream of pastel pink shades and platinum lobs, my lack of patience and perseverance when it comes to upkeep is appalling. In reality, I’m all for the effortless, low-maintenance, ‘I-woke-up-like-this (but not really)’ hair…But aren’t we all?
From the moment I step into the salon, I can feel a vibrant and dynamic energy within the space. Wilson Marz exudes an air of both comfort and chic. As I’m warmly greeted by Alicia and Sally and steered towards a vacant seat, I can’t help but notice the salon atmosphere exuding a sense of perfect equilibrium. Clients perched in plush leather seats are chatting comfortably with their stylists; A Spotify playlist plays relaxed, upbeat music and the salon boasts an eco and hair friendly mix of ‘uptown’ and ‘downtown’ products from Oribe, L’Oreal and R&Co on their shelves.
The creative forces behind Wilson and Marz compliment each other like yin and yang. While their salon is just two years old, both women hold immense experience under belts and remain absolutely down-to-earth. Alicia is a master when it comes to translating emerging trends and techniques to slick and wearable styles tailored to suit her clients. (Their most requested style? Lara Worthington’s chic bob) Sally’s flair as a colourist has seen her work alongside some of the world’s hairdressing heavyweights, including Antoinette Beenders, Beverly Cobella and Renya Xydis. Alicia deals with the business and paperwork aspects, while Sally manages their colour contacts and social media accounts, including their Instagram account. Their friendship is akin to sisterhood, where outside of work they both live in the same suburb and have their youngest children born within two weeks of each other.
During my consultation Sally and Alicia play to their strengths. Alicia recommends softening the layers to add a bit more texture in the hair, making the shape less triangular and giving my locks a bit more movement. Sally hears my wish for an easy transition into Summer shades, advising me on lightening the roots and ends of my hair slightly to brighten the face as well as adding in a gloss to seal it all in.
I am then lead to the basin room, which is a beautiful contrast to the minimalistic style in the hair salon and a great escape from the outside world. The walls are painted in a shade of cerulean, inspired by the ocean and the Greek islands, and I can’t help but notice the 60s silver and pink pendant light.
As I return to my seat I’m offered a selection of nibbles from the café next door, The Jim. My eyes scan the menu, from the gourmet bacon and egg roll, gluten-free sweet treats to the selection of Ovivo tea and coffee, and focus almost immediately on the avocado toast with lemon and feta. Alicia and Sally both nod in approval, confessing that it’s their most requested order off the menu. Wilson Marz also integrate the expert nail services available at the Paddington Beauty Room across the road, where one of the therapists can come over and happily do a mani and pedi simultaneously while you wait for your foils to set.
As I crunch happily through my avo toast, Alicia evenly trims my hair before I’m handed over to Sally for the colour, which she paints on swiftly before settling me with another green tea and some glossy magazines. Half an hour later, Alicia blow-dries my hair with the R&Co Chiffon Mousse and I can see gorgeous biscuity tones emerging. I ask for a slight wave with my stubbornly straight hair, and Alicia sprays the hair first to give it grip and then curls the hair – giving it more hold and longevity. My style lasts beautifully through my weekend and my fresh new colour that gives me a thrill every time I catch a glimpse in the mirror. Wilson and Marz salon is everything you would hope it to be and more – I’m already plotting my return.
Review by Amanda Chan
223 Glenmore Road
Paddington, Sydney NSW 2000
(02) 7900 5352
Wilson Marz would love to offer all Beauticate readers the opportunity to experience Wilson Marz with a 25% discount off all services and retail on their first visit and a 25% of their second visit if they re-book the next appointment when leaving.