The Story of an English Speaking Hair Studio in Paris

May 31, 2019

On the Champs-Elysees, one of the most famous streets in the world is the elegant Polished Hair Care Salon. Warm tones welcome you into a light-filled space with distinctly Parisian touches. California native Nicole Pembrook opened the salon in 2007 and has built a flourishing business amongst the women of Paris. She was invited to style famous men including Will  Smith, Justin Timberlake, and the  2015  Givenchy  Men’s  Show. Pembrook became a hairdresser at 17, working beside her mother, and spent her early career focusing on education both in and out of the salon. She moved to  Paris  13 years ago after visiting with a  friend.

What was it like when you moved?

“Coming to this beautiful city was like a dream come true.  Everything is made to be romantic: the buildings, the food. But coming on vacation and living here are two different things.  There are still the things we love about Paris  – the food, the wine, the shopping – but there’s a lot to get used to, especially when you’re learning the language.  I met my husband about 10 days later, which changed the course of my life here. I  thought I’d be going to Maison Blanche or Buddha Bar and  I  ended up having kids right afterward. Becoming a mother changed my priorities.”


How did you decide to open your salon?

“I always wanted to work for myself, to implement my ideas.  I was a freelancer at first,  then entered an international hair show for  L’oreal and won first prize.  My husband believed in my talent and pushed that forward in helping me open my salon.  At first, my clients all came through word of mouth.  They were Parisian,  French, African and Mediterranean.  Now with Facebook,  Instagram,  and our website, my English speaking clientele is growing.  For the first seven years, I didn’t speak English here at all.”


How did you choose this location?

“Champs-Elysées chose me.  At that time salons were getting bad names.  The public was looking for something more personal which is what people enjoyed about my service.  I looked for months and couldn’t find anything.  My husband found this place and  I fell in love with it:  the ceilings, the layout, the floors.  It felt homely and warm.  A great address – better than all the other places  I looked at.  My husband and  I are a team and the look of the salon came from that.  With his European flair and my American modernism, it worked out.”

How does Paris inspire you in your work?

“The detail.  Everything has to be unique, very fine-tuned.  You have to be innovative.  It trains you to look at things outside of the box.  Everything here is more delicate,  lighter.  It inspires me with hair because  I want the hair to be light,  to be airy, to flow.  I don’t want every hairstyle to be the same, even if it’s small changes like using my hand instead of a comb.  Every person needs their look to be their own.  It might be the same concept, but a little bit different.”


What advice would you give to others who want to come to  Paris?

“If you want something you’ve got to go for it.  Whatever you want in your life,  keep that right in front of you and keep taking baby steps toward it.  Sometimes we get distracted by the circumstances that push us back.  It’s all an illusion.  You can create whatever world you want.”

“Wherever you want to be,  it’s possible.”


Written by our Paris Network Developer, Krystal Kenney

Sign up to get updates on Blogs & Tours!

Comment (0)