Charles II Hair
Pampering Pleasure - Curl power.

Having long curly hair is a mixed blessing. While I don't have the expense of regular cuts or the bother of hair-straighteners, my twice-yearly trip to the salon still fills me with dread. My demand for a 2in trim seems to bring out the evil, mischievous side in almost every hairdresser I have ever met. ''What are you doing??'' I ask, as the scissors stray. ''Oh, just a little layering/feathering/thinning/fringe!'' My ensuing rage is usually calmed by a blow-dry that conceals the full Worzel Gummidge effect until after the next wash.

I have always suspected the cause to be that curly hair behaves differently when wet than when dry, so I was very glad to find out about a top London hairdresser who insists on cutting hair when dry. When I meet Michael Van Clarke at his state-of-the-art Marylebone salon, the elements have had their way, and my hair is at its most witch-like. This doesn't faze Michael, who sits me down and teases my frizz out to its full potential with his fingers. He suggests that I could do with a bit of gentle shaping (note: he does not use the scaremongering term ''layering'') around the front, a bit of lift at the back, and a deep conditioning treatment first.

Soon, a gloopy liquid is being brushed in and my head is secured into an overhead steamer. After a wash, my hair is dried au naturel using a diffuser - an appliance I haven't seen since 1989. Michael then sets to work on his signature Diamond Dry Cut. It is a lengthy process, but I feel assured by his look of concentration.

The result is very pleasing, and for once in my life, I leave the salon feeling calm – instead of red-faced and speechless.

Diamond Dry Cut from £45.90. Michael Van Clarke, 1 Beaumont Street, London W1 (020 7224 3123).