Michael Van Clarke: my life in London

Mhairi Mann

20 December 2019

Influential hairstylist and Marylebone's man about town Michael Van Clarke shareshis grooming and lifestyle tips

20 December 2019 | Mhairi Mann

Michael Van Clarke trained under legendary hairstylist Leonard Lewis before opening his eponymous salon in 1988. He pioneered the Diamond Dry Cut, and is London's longstanding go-to for expertly sculpted, coolly textured dry haircuts. Clarke also launched his own product line, 3’’ More Inches, which specialises in strengthening and restoring hair to its best condition. Here, the king of low-key coiffures shares his grooming and lifestyle tips. 

We opened the salon in Marylebone on the last day of the 1980’s boom and the high street rapidly collapsed into the '90’s recession. A quarter of the premises were soon either charity shops or empty. The resurgence started in the late ’90s, with a Howard de Walden strategy to make Marylebone ‘village’ a destination living, working, shopping and leisure area. It has continued to improve and is seen by many as London’s most vibrant and attractive high street.

People are becoming more conscious of seasonal ‘healthcare for hair’ and the problems that changing weather conditions can bring. So whatever their look, there is a solution to ease their way through cold dry winters and the issues this can cause hair.

The biggest faux pas people make when it comes to hair care? False economies – saving money on the best haircut costs both time and angst for home haircare management in-between appointments. And poor quality hair products will diminish the long-term health of the hair.

I have around 100 clients that have been with me for nearly 40 years. Our relationships can be longer than any others in their lives, so I often know many things about them that their significant others don’t.

I like to head for a game of tennis at 7am in Portman Square. We have our own in-house deli at the salon and our chef creates a juice shot including orange, ginger and turmeric to then start my day. It's perfect for blasting the cobwebs during the winter months.

My favourite restaurant is The Ivy Café on Marylebone Lane as it’s a three-minute walk from the salon and we’re always well looked after. For a nightcap, Annabel’s in Mayfair.

I like to wear a suit for work, mostly Gucci or Savile Row, but always understated with labels only on the inside.

My grooming staples include floss on a stick - a daily essential - and 3’’ More Inches 10 Second Transformation grooming balm. It is the best for controlling mid-life crisis hair and no man should be without it.

My biggest indulgence is lifestyle research. lots of travel and eating in good restaurants.

The last thing I treated myself to was a new Apple MacBook Pro 16”, having squeezed nearly eight years out of my last one. I spend a large portion of my time writing blogs for our website and articles for press.

Top of my wishlist is a month in the Maldives.

3’’ More Inches Luxury Gift Set, £72

Haircuts from £55; £395 for a haircut with Michael Van Clarke; 1 Beaumont St, Marylebone, London W1G 6DF, vanclarke.com

Enjoy festive special offers at Michael Van Clarke here.