A speedy manicure? Perhaps a beautiful blow-dry? We’ve picked five of our favourite London beauty salons – whether you fancy a really effective facial, relaxing massage, perfect pedicure or just an indulgent afternoon of beauty treatments and cocktails with your best girlfriends…. The best beauty salons in London? Look no further!
For An Afternoon With the Girls: Barber & Parlour
The rejuvenation of Redchurch Street has seen a host of exciting stores open over the past few years, but the three-floor extravaganza that is Barber & Parlour is an attraction that won’t be beaten any time soon. After you’ve explored the cinema and checked out the all-day café and juice bar, head upstairs where you’ll find an entire floor dedicated to pampering. The Cheeky Hair by Josh Wood salon offers a selection of the acclaimed hairdresser’s services at more ahem, cheeky, prices. Cuts, blow-dries, colours, treatments and styling – whatever you want, you got it.
Beauty-wise, The Cheeky Parlour‘s manicures are legendary and staff are used to customers multi-tasking and large groups to cater to, making this the perfect location for a fun afternoon with friends. Enjoy a pedi while your friends get a blow-dry or order some impressive nail art while your pal has her highlights done – and don’t miss out on Barber & Parlour’s menu while you’re at it. Salads, toasties, brunch or cold-pressed fresh juices keep everyone happy. The salon is also a fantastic idea if you’re heading out for a big night out – order the cocktails (we like the Picante de la Casa) or a bottle of Prosecco and select your services. Nails? Makeup? A big blow-dry? And with Barber & Parlour’s Shoreditch location, you’ve no shortage of bars and clubs, and not far to stumble once you’ve been prettified!
From the street, you’d be forgiven for thinking that DryBy is an upscale interiors store, decked out in rich, dark wood and a curated selection of furniture and mirrors. However inside is a chic, contemporary haven to blow-dries and nail art, with an environmentally-friendly ethos. Haircare, treatments and styling products have been carefully chosen for their high performance and quality organic ingredients, including hip Australian range Original & Mineral plus cult brand Philip B. The blow dry bar offers a menu of five styles dedicated to international destinations including va-va-voom The Rome and super sleek The Tokyo, that can be customised to get the exact finish you want. Not bad for £28.
I opt for the rock chick, boho look named after London, but ask my skilled stylist Lisa for looser, more mussed up curls. You can have a manicure simultaneously if you prefer the multi-tasking approach, but the lower floor is dedicated to nails, with an area for mani and pedi makeovers with ‘5-free’ colours from Nailberry and Lauren B. There are stations for elaborate nail art creations, gel formula CND Shellac and an IBX nail repair service too. In under an hour I’m happily swishing the only languid waves I’ve ever left a salon liking and shiny sophisticated nails that stay chip-free for an impressive week. I’m putting DryBy on speed dial now.
The unrivalled queen of beautiful feet – Margaret Dabbs – has opened a swanky new destination clinic within the hallowed walls of Space NK’s Notting Hill branch. Bright, spacious and chicly adorned with furnishings in muted tones, there are five treatment rooms kitted out with the latest foot-perfecting equipment for the team of qualified podiatrists to work from, each dispensing the expert menu created by Margaret. I’ve long been a lover of her signature Medical Pedicure, in which feet are buffed and polished into submission until even the toughest dry skin is whisked away and feet feel baby soft. Nails are brought in check too, with dead cuticles and stains removed and toenails left improbably shiny. So shiny in fact, that I’ve forgone nail polish on holiday when I’ve managed a clinic visit just before departure. Yes, really.
Other treatments range from a luxurious, pampering Foot Therapy that includes an energising oxygen boost, to more serious sessions to tackle nail infections and bunions. There’s also a nail spa area where you can be polished with colours by Rococco and leave with a faultless manicure and pedicure, plus waxing, brow and lash services if one-stop grooming is the aim. And for fans of holistic foot treatments, both reflexology and foot acupuncture are available which will leave you blissed-out and walking on air. Trust me – your feet will thank you for it.
Recently refurbished, the ultra-sleek flagship Elemis spa in Mayfair has upped the ante when it comes to combining effective natural products with sophisticated technology. Testament to this is the BIOTEC Facial line-up, each of which seamlessly blends hands-on application with lightwave, vibrational, microcurrent and oxygen technology for complexion boosting benefits, be it sculpting, brightening or blemish control. Every facial begins with a Skin Lab diagnosis, one of those terrifying cameras that captures areas for improvement such as enlarged pores, pigmentation, wrinkles and dehydration. From this, the therapist can prescribe and personalise your facial, using the most effective skincare and hi tech gadgetry for impeccable results. Fans of well-loved treatments including the Pro-Collagen facial and frangipani body wrap won’t be disappointed either as they remain staples, albeit with some refinement.
This ‘healing hub’ is tranquil, airy and filled with aromas, colours and textures from nature, as well as a fresh juice menu to bliss out all your senses. The beautiful Penthouse suite boasts an Amber and Quartz Crystal bed to boost cellular energy during massage as you sink into it like a memory foam mattress. There’s also a room devoted to pregnancy treatments, complete with a comfy bean-filled bed, and a Speed Spa offering 15 and 30-minute treatments, from neck firming to an eyelash tint. With every beauty, grooming and wellbeing resource you could imagine on tap, think of the House of Elemis as your new home.
If you’ve ever been to New York, you’ll be well aware of the city’s numerous drop-in nail parlours and just how fantastic they are. Pop in, get your nails done without spending a fortune et voila – done. London’s answer to our Big Apple addiction is Nails & Brows: a sophisticated beauty salon in the heart of Mayfair that specialises in top-notch manicures, pedicures and signature brow treatments. The chic salon is a elegant, concise space with the downstairs area dedicated to nails and everything else taking place upstairs. Nail treatments are carried out by an expert team, trained to adapt to suit you; whether you’re after a speedy lunchtime mani or prefer relaxing and enjoying an indulgent afternoon pedicure.
An extensive range of classic and on-trend colours are on offer courtesy of brands like Essie and Kure Bazaar so you’re sure to find something you fancy. My nail colour lasted for a full week afterwards with absolutely no chipping – result! You can expect the same level of expertise with Nails & Brows’ eyebrow services; treatments are tailored to each individual and staff take time over their work to create the finish to suit you. The salon uses products from Hollywood brow guru Damone Roberts – the creator of Gwynnie and Bey’s eyebrows no less. We’d definitely recommend their Brow Makeover as a fantastic place to start – it’s amazing what a huge difference a tine and reshape can make to your face. And don’t worry – the salon might be in Mayfair, but they aren’t Park Lane prices. Add this beauty address to your little black book pronto.
Reviews by Caroline Brien & Alice Revel