Never a week goes by when I haven’t put a treatment to the test – whether it’s the latest massage technique, a facial guaranteed to make me look like a ‘supermodel’ (eye roll), or a new hair colouring technique that claims to allow me to frequent the salon just once in 6 months. Sometimes I’m just going back to old favourites, but for the most part, I’m trialling new haunts and hotspots to share with other beauty aficionados.
With December just around the corner and a plethora of upcoming parties to attend, I thought now was a good time to put pen to paper and broadcast some of the best London based beautifiers to guarantee you’re looking and feeling fabulous (and perhaps attracting a saucy date too).
THE FACIAL: Enhance Salon (Islington, London)
You could walk straight past this salon and not give it a second glance, which I will admit to doing a number of times. Whilst I initially went in for a wax, I got chatting to the supremely knowledgable salon owner Nas (who possesses the skin of a 21 year old, she’s 45) who talked me into having a facial too. Using mainly Murad products, she also uses a concoction of her own lotions and potions bespoke to your individual skin needs, and whilst it isn’t the most relaxing experience in the world (a glycolic skin peel was applied), my complexion was as near to perfect the next day as it’s been in years. What I loved about Nas was her holistic approach to tacking skin concerns – for Rosacea she recommended I buy Burdock and Milk Thistle tinctures, adding them to hot water daily as a drink, whilst these also work to balance the hormones for PCOS sufferers too. A very clever lady.
THE TAN: James Harknett (W Hotel, Leicester Sq, London)
It’s a given that most girls feel at their best when they have a bit of a bronze going on. A good tan hides a multitude of woes – from cellulite and thread veins to slimming the silhouette and giving the illusion of a perkier bust or defined calves. Yes, that really is the magic of a tan. All that said, it takes a particular talent to avoid looking like an Oompa Lumpa who’s failed at contouring class. Step forward James Harknett, aka the Tom Ford of Tanning. From his ballet-dancer movements to his sculpting strokes and super natural results, he gives seriously good tanning game and I go back to him every time I’m in need of some sunshine.
THE LASHES: Boudoir Lashes (Shoreditch, London)
I’ve never been a big fan of false stick on lashes. They generally result in you resembling a TOWIE extra, have a tendency to come unstuck, with you sporting one lash at the end of the evening, and Christ, are they hard to apply. Lash extensions on the other hand, now these are clever little devils. Asma, owner of Boudoir Salon in Shoreditch, is a genius. After going through the different options, I opted for the ‘Volume’ lashes for a subtly enhanced effect. Using the ‘NovaLash’ system, she individually glues a lash onto each of your own (this takes about an hour and a half and you sit back with your eyes closed). I emerged with serious WOW lashes, without being identifiable as fake. They survived a holiday to Dubai and are still going strong now – saving me hours of endless mascara applying, I’m hooked.
*Book in with Asma and quote my code “PRETTYUGLY’ for a 20% discount on lash extensions at Boudoir Lashes
THE BEAUTIFYING SALON: Blush & Blow Salon (Parson’s Green, London)
You may well know how much I love an Instagram photo, but you may not know just how much post production work goes into each shot. From adjusting lighting, to finding a filter and amping up details, it’s no easy task. Unless of course, the raw materials are already picture perfect. Step forward Blush + Blow Salon in Parsons Green. A photographer’s dream, this salon is definitely #nofilter necessary. Everything, from the colour scheme, to the huge sofas, to the gold rimmed wash basins, it’s Instagram perfection, whilst the treatments are dreamy too. I’ve trialled waxes, pedicures, manicures and blow-dries here and every time I emerge feeling and looking better. For someone who visits salon after salon, this forever sticks in my memory and is well worth the hour’s trip to get there.
THE HAIRSTYLIST: Jason Collier at Matthew Curtis Salon (The Rosewood Hotel, London)
Picture the Orient Express, and you’ll almost be spot on with how good looking this salon is. Teeny tiny (the best things come in small packages), the salon can fit a maximum of 3 clients in at one time. Hairstylist to none other than Victoria Beckham, Jason is THE hair colourist to book in with – he talked me out of a blonde obsession in seconds and had my hair balayaged and bronzed in an hour. The speediest colourist ever (becuase who really has a spare 4 hours to spend in the salon?!), he’s also a dab hand with a tong – think Rosie Huntington Whiteley waves, and my colour has never lasted so long – he only put colour through the mid lengths and ends and kept it very minimal, cue no regrowth or streaking. GET HIM ON SPEED DIAL.