Surry Hills’ Boutique Hairdressing Studio, Marc & Maxwell
Nestled away in a treehouse-like oasis on Surry Hills’ bustling Bourke street sits Marc & Maxwell – an urban chic hair salon with a team of wickedly talented artists boasting character, skill and confidence.
Their doors opening just after Sydney’s first lockdown in 2020, the studio celebrates their first birthday. With a string of beaming clients and applause through social media reviews, their success speaks for itself.
I personally find boutique hair salon experiences less intimidating and rather more enjoyable and intimate when compared to the rushed and frantic scenes you’d find yourself in at franchise salons. The banter and briefing between yourself as the client and the hairdresser performing a potential miracle makeover on your head of hair is far more natural and engaging – and dare I say, meaningful. They show they actually care. If I could even just review my experience at Marc & Maxwell on a social level, I’d say it was hands down the most personal and entertaining of all, to date.
I arrived at the studio with dry, semi-dead, medium-length, earthy-brown hair. Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t feel completely disappointed with what I had going on at the time. I still felt I could pull off a good look for Instagram photos on a night out – it wasn’t what my hair was like in 2019 (think: Hermione Granger after too many vinos and a limited understanding of hair products). So, my June 2021 hair – the hair I walked in with at Marc & Maxwell – wasn’t a disaster, but it wasn’t fabulous. It was without a doubt though that an upgrade was desperately needed.
The dynamic duo of Marc Armstrong and Sabrina Maxwell conceived a theatrical performance of cut, colour and style that day in June. Between the two of them, they have over 40 years in the industry with their work showcased in editorials in leading Australian and International fashion magazines.
They revealed they’ve worked on fashion week in both New York and London whilst Marc has directed shows here in Sydney. “Education is a passion of ours and we have represented many recognised brands such as Schwarzkopf, KMS, Oribe and R&Co. A highlight was experiencing a T.V. appearance doing makeovers on shows such as The Biggest loser (Australia).”
Sabrina did my colour, transforming the dull, crunchy brown to a warm dark chocolate. “When a client comes in, we evaluate their features and skin tone by using a colour chart to reflect the tone that will best complement your skin on completion. In doing so we decided that we wanted to take Claudia darker. It really suits her skin tone and makes her eye colour pop.”
The subtle yet remarkable juxtaposition in colour boosted my confidence instantaneously. With my skin tone on the fairer side and my eyes sporting a shade of light blue, the darker head of hair dramatised these features, and in a truly fantastic way.
Marc cut my medium length hair into a long bob. I teased how my head shape is an accurate circle, so shaping was key. “With Claudia’s hair cut, less means more. We chose her optimum length to suit her face shape making sure that the lengths had a blunt but sharp finish, while at the same time we introduced layering to take away the weight and create shape through the bottom third of her hair.
“Additional texture was added by chipping into the ends and slicing the mid-length for that lived-in look, finished off with a soft curl.” The sophistication of my new do had me feeling like a French woman embarking on a luxurious business trip around Europe. Again, it was the big-dick-energy confidence boost I needed.
When it comes to seasonal trends infused with much-needed post-lockdown inspo, I asked Marc and Sabrina what they’re expecting to see and to create once salons reopen this spring.
Sabrina says bolder colours will be a hit. “Whilst we have seen baby lights around the hairline, this will be replaced with more prominent and heavier pieces. Placement is everything. If you feel that your balayage needs freshening up, try changing the tone to a brighter more saturated look like burnt copper or Manuka blonde.”
“Instagram has a huge influence, and we tend to draw a lot of inspiration from there. There are so many amazing and inspiring hairdressers that don’t get the gratification (e.g. Guido, Eugene Souleiman and Vidal Sassoon).”
With haircuts and styles, Marc says “for the short hair fashionistas, the trusted mullet will be turning heads, whilst the longer haired clients will be sporting the shag!”
On a more general basis, the duo revealed Billie Eilish has a big pulling power with their younger clients. “This is due to her forward-thinking colour. Keep your eye on Bella Hadid’s new look, too. Hailey Baldwin is also making waves with her perfect balayage.”
As the salon has just celebrated their one-year anniversary while under these latest restrictions, they say they’re eager to pop open a cork as soon as they get back in! “Still, we persevered and utilised the lockdown time to ensure we missed no luxury that we could offer the clients. So, in a way, Covid did us a great favour by giving us time to reflect on our values and beliefs, knowing we are offering our clients a premium service with every visit.”
“We launched #hairtasker so clients can order their favourite products and have them delivered to their door, including home haircare colour kits through our website and Instagram. Whilst most people have had more time on their hands, we promoted our virtual consultations to get them thinking about their mane and new post-lockdown hair. We are predicting change is in the air.”
Flaunting an above par aesthetic, charismatic staff and premium services, It’s more than safe to say I’ve booked my post-lockdown make-over with Marc & Maxwell. November 3, 2021, is looking like a very good day for me.
You can follow Marc & Maxwell’s Instagram for their exciting updates, and check out their website for bookings and services.