Style with a smile at Valerie French

Valerie FrenchHairdressing, who achieved a 5 star rating in The Good Salon Guide in 2017, 2018 and 2019, is a very friendly hairdressers with lots of regular clients many of whom seem to know each other. Using L’Oreal, Montibello, Schwarzkopf and Brocato products, Valerie and her team look after clients from age one right through to 94 years old.

Valerie opened the Knaphill salon in June 2011, having been in nearby Horsell for 10 years. When the owners wanted the premises back, Valerie was pleased to come back to Knaphill where the family had lived when her children were young. Valerie told The Knaphillian she feels very happy in Knaphill with lots of friendly people around. ‘It feels like home’, she said. ‘I must wave to people out the window at least five times a day!’

Inside the salon.

Daughter Tracy (who also works at the salon) and husband Patrick lend great support to the business, and Valerie’s good friend Jo does the books and helps in many other ways. ‘But’, says Valerie, ‘it’s my mum and dad who are my heroes as they are so full of encouragement and so proud.’

Valerie with her parents Bill and Margo.

Valerie adds, ‘My brother John French has always inspired me in business and is always ready to give good advice. The best decision I made was to open my own business at the age of 47. I think by then you have not only confidence that you can do it but also wisdom (which came from my parents).’

The regular team at Valerie French are (l to r): Mady, Tracy, Valerie, Sarah, Cathie, Kerry and Lisa.

Valerie French  pride themselves in doing some amazing wedding and prom hair, and offer trail runs for wedding hair with the hair stylist you would like to use on the big day.

Services include a bespoke consultation with one of our wedding specialists and the opportunity to try out different styles until you find the perfect one. Arrangements can then be made to style your hair and that of your bridesmaids at home or at most wedding venues.

The salon also specialises in Balayage colouring. Balayage is a French word meaning to sweep or to paint. The colouring technique is a freehand technique where the colour is applied by hand rather than using the traditional foiling or cap highlighting techniques. This gives a really blended natural look with no harsh or obvious re-growth lines. Balayage can be used in even the shortest pixie crop however, the best results is in hair below the shoulders.

You might not know it, but:

Valerie is now hosting pamper parties for children aged seven to 14 years. The parties are held in the salon on a Sunday and guests can have their favourite music, games, fake tattoos, hair put up, straightened and curled. Individual client’s needs can be catered for and refreshments and food can be provided, or if guests have special requirements, they can bring their own.

Photos show Maddie’s 7th Birthday ‘pamper party’ at Valerie French Hairdressing.

The Knaphillian (TK):  So Valerie, what did you want to be when you were at school?

Valerie: I’m very lucky as I always wanted to be a hairdresser.

TK: What is the most unusual or unexpected job you ever had?

Valerie:  One of my clients I have had for 25 years, was planning her wedding and spent two years growing her hair. We practiced various hair-up styles for the big day, then five weeks before the wedding she asked me to cut it all off ‘like Victoria Beckham’. It looked amazing and she loved it and her future husband did too! 

TK: What do you feel are your best achievements?

Valerie: We have managed to keep the business going when lots of small businesses are closing.

TK: What makes you happy and laugh?

Valerie: Between my husband and I we now have 14 grandchildren and I adore them all. My son Stewart (also a hairdresser) is living in Australia and had their second daughter last year. My grandchildren make me laugh and feel happy. I love people with a great sense of humour.

TK: What do you do on your days off?

Valerie: Patrick and I go through our ‘to do’ list and run from one thing to another. We also have a fabulous mobile home towards the south coast which is a lovely get away for us and also the grandchildren. And most weeks I get to spend a day with my lovely parents.

TK: Do you have any hobbies?

Valerie: I like to cook and I love watching Masterchef, but my life is so busy I don’t really have time for hobbies as such!

TK: What makes your weekend complete?

Valerie: When I’ve caught up with jobs at home and we’ve seen the children and I can take time to relax on a Sunday night.

Contact Valerie French on 01483 767214 or email


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