Top ten beauty treatments: London favourites

Salons and therapists for top-to-toe glow, hand-picked by Destination Guide editor Laura Tennant (with a little help from her glossy magazine editor friends)

I’m a great believer in treatments that have you walking out of the salon feeling better and looking different to when you went in. That may sound basic, but how many times have you signed up for a facial that brought you out in spots, or a cut and blowdry that collapsed after an hour, never to be replicated at home?

Luckily, London is a strong contender to be makeover capital of the world, so if you find yourself in need of an instant beauty pick-me-up, you’re in the right place. Read on for a secret address book of salons and treatments personally road-tested by me and my beauty editor friends. This little lot will give you your va-va-voom back in no time – we promise.

1. Haircut, Mayfair

Mathew Alexander Atelier

It’s simple; Mathew will give you the best haircut of your life, leaving you feeling younger, friskier and just a tiny bit in love with yourself. He’s an intuitive, masterful scissorsmith – he preps a number of celebrities for the red carpet. Add a make-up lesson for polished perfection. Cut and blowdry, £153.

2. Hair colour, Mayfair

Four London

Founded by four specialist colourists and stylists with a combined client list that is bursting with A-listers, Four is a favourite among actors who need to change hair colour for a role (and then change it safely back again). Book in for bespoke tinting and highlighting (the team promise diagnostics, too, for hair in need of TLC). Full head of highlights, £275.

3. Facial, Chelsea Bridge

European Dermatology

In an age of cosmeceuticals, facials are now so much more than a relaxing massage with an expensive-smelling product. Dr Stefanie Williams is one of the best dermatologists in London for problem and ageing skin, and I can testify that the facials on offer at her clinic are the business, using state-of-the-art medical grade products and equipment to deliver visible results. Try the Ultimate Anti-Ageing Facial, £220, which uses natural collagen, a glycolic peel and red LED light, plus much more.

4. Lashes, Victoria and Islington

Sleek Lashes, Islington
Lady Lash, Victoria

Individually applied lash extensions are my favourite beauty treatment of all time; they last 4 to 5 weeks and you wake up pretty every day. To the casual observer you’ll simply be blessed with thick, luscious and ridiculously long eyelashes; only you will know that your extensions do things to open up your eyes that mascara and eye shadow never could. London is full of lash bars, but the two listed have been personally road-tested by me. From £65.

5. Feet, Soho

Margaret Dabbs Sole Spa, Liberty department store

I’m not usually a fan of going ‘au naturelle’ (see fake lashes, above). But after a visit to this salon, your feet will look so lovely you’ll dare to bear in varnish-free toes. Founder Margaret is a podiatrist, you see, along with all her highly trained team, and the results are quite different from those you would get with a high-street pedi. The Sole Spa is also great for people who don’t like their feet being touched (they exist, I am one of them). Medical pedicure, £80; check the Magaret Dabbs website for other locations around town.

6. Yoga, pilates, ballet, Covent Garden

Good Vibes, Covent Garden

Actresses, dancers and other early birds can be found at this chilled little exercise studio from 7.30am every morning. I am addicted to their Glow Yoga classes, offering vinyasa, or flow yoga, plus a short visualisation in rooms with enveloping infrared heating and lighting designed to fight off seasonal affective disorder. A great pit stop if travel exhaustion has left you in need of spiritual nourishment. No need to book; just turn up and pay for a one off session (prices start at £16 for a one-off class).

7. Personal training session, Battersea Park

Absolute Fitness

Too much full English breakfast? If you’re pining for fresh air and a proper workout, put in a call to Kathryn Freeland of Absolute Fitness. Her classes take place outdoors, in beautiful Battersea Park, just across the river from Chelsea. Best of all is a session with Kathryn herself – she’s trained a number of actors and ‘royalty’, and exudes a charming head girl ‘keep your chin up’ spirit guaranteed to motivate. Her Absolute Taster package costs £140 for two one-hour bespoke training sessions, plus a phone consultation. Alternatively, check the website for group classes in Battersea Park over the summer.

8. Quick fixes, around town

Kim Parker is Beauty Editor of Red Magazine

‘A quick mani or pedi goes a long way to help you feel more “done” and for that, I’d pop into the Cowshed or Groom bars. For a quick blow-dry, I’d choose Blow in Covent Garden – it’s a New York-style blow dry and mani bar, opened by a former editor of British Elle. It offers genius pick and mix treatment options, a bit like a takeaway menu. If you’re after a tan, I’d recommend James Read in Harvey Nichols.’

9. Groomed brows, Knightsbridge

Alice Hart-Davis is an award-winning beauty writer and creator of Good Things Skincare 

‘Shavata Singh introduced British womanhood to the concept of the perfect arch with her Shavata Brow Studio and her salons can often fit people at fairly short notice – even at her new HQ in Beauchamp Place.’ Threading starts at £17.

10. The ultimate spa, Knightsbridge

Bulgari Spa at the Bulgari Hotel

No list of beauty treatments would be complete without a spa, and this one comes recommended by my friend Annabel Rivkinwho writes a compulsively readable beauty column in London’s evening paper, the Evening Standard. The Bulgari spa is located at luxury conglomerate LVMH’s first hotel venture in London, and they have spared no expense in the creation of this 2,000 square metre, two-storey space with ESPA treatments, a hydro vitality pool in a ‘gold chamber’ decorated with gold-leaf mosaic tiles, and a Margaret Dabbs foot spa. Lashes and brow tinting start at a mere £15.

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