If what I read in every beauty interview is true, models, actresses and trendy people everywhere are sleeping in their makeup, air drying their hair and generally giving zero fucks about grooming in general. They might even have a grandma somewhere fabulous who slathers on only Vaseline every day and is the most glamorous woman anyone’s ever known. Whilst I’m still searching for this land of American Spirits, low BMI’s and god given dolphin-soft skin, I’m slowly accepting my need for highlights, someone to squeeze my blackheads and the fact that I’ll never be that grandma.
If this sort of frustration sounds familiar, we should probably talk about maintenance, where to do it and how to do it right – because what you see isn’t always what you get and most of us didn’t wake up like this.
Let’s get started with the least fun a girl can have naked – the wax, more specifically, the Brazilian wax – because Missoni bikinis were not made to accommodate hair. The importance of the right waxist cannot be overstated. Arguable the most selective you will ever need to be with someone who see’s you naked below the waist, your waxist needs to strike the delicate balance between being professional, without making the one-on-one vibe uncomfortable. I don’t want to hash out the details of my boyfriends nationality whilst the final hairs are being tweezed from my inflamed crotch, neither do I want to suffer in silence.
My preferred venues for waxes that are quick, amiable but not weird are:
Strip – £49
Arezoo Kavani - £80
The Ministry of Waxing - £50
Note: Male waxists, vajazzles and any sort of pubic hair sculpting are a waxing NO.
Blonde may be a state of mind, but let’s be honest—it’s mostly a hair colour, one that usually requires stuff like ammonia, tints and an expert colourist with a natural touch. Are you more of a Lady Gaga-in-the-Versace-campaign blonde or Khloe Kardashian-2014 ombre? Well, shoddily applied highlights don’t care about your hopes and dreams so it’s worth shelling out a bit more to avoid an ashy situation.
Hannah masters the art of very glamorous but very natural highlights and is particularly amazing with brunette hair. She’s been doing my colour for several years now and completely understands my wishes for hair that’s very low maintenance and subtle. I spent years as a blonde but Hannah has taken me back to my natural state using a mixture of foils around the face and balyage on the tips. Another of her amazing techniques is to highlight underneath the parting, avoiding roots but allowing the colour to shine through your natural tones.
Carmel is the master of caramel hued locks and will transform brassy tones into a Doutzen Kroes-esque honey in a single session.
No one I have ever seen is more thorough than Magda and she will work with you over several sessions to achieve your dream colour. It’s obvious that your desires are extremely important to her and it could take her an hour just to apply the colour, even asking her clients to tip their heads forward so she can get as close to the roots as possible.
Balyage-big -dog Amy has been working with my silkiest friends for years. Always inspiring hair envy, Amy is best for those who want to be a little adventurous, without looking try hard. She might even throw in a lilac streak just to add a bit of sass to a standard ponytail – YOLO.
Cut and Blow Dry
Even though us London girls are probably too chill to care about having regular blozza’s there are times when voluminous, bouncing locks really do require a professional touch. For a speedy, long lasting blow, I prefer to frequent the following:
This newly launched blow dry bar in Chelsea is my number one for good times and great results. You’re given a leather bound menu of styles to choose from (although innovation and direction are welcomed) as well as the option for a quick trim. Perfect for those who prefer using their index fingers to their vocal chords, this service is so quick you’ll be in an out in around 25 minutes. I particularly like Giovanni.
£55 Trim and blow dry
The in-and-out sister to Real Hair in Chelsea, Blo have fantastic stylists and are particularly good with longer hair.
£25 blow dry
Another point and go situation, Hersh have salons all over London that offer a 15 minute service. Their menu is extensive, so whether you’re up for a ‘Bardot’ inspired ponytail or ‘second wife of a Texan billionaire’ bounce, Hershesons can make your follicular dreams a reality.
£25 Blow dry
A good manicure is not only a great indicator of someone’s personality; they’re also an excellent emotional barometer to how that person feels about themselves that week. Are you short, neat and nude or long, pointed and pink? There’s a lot to consider when choosing from the Essie or OPI colour wheel. Do I want something classy like ‘After Sex’ or something fun and beachy like ‘Sand Tropez?’ Do I get a light colour to accentuate my tan? Or something dark and mysterious so my nails can say ‘fuck off’ before people get close enough that I have to say it myself? Decisions, decisions…I prefer an in and out nail bar with massage chairs and the option for nail art. Not that it’s my thing, but it’s always nice to know it’s there. Here are my choices for quick, easy and mainly anonymous venues.
Julies Nails – King Road Chelsea
JK Nail Design – Munster Road Fulham
At long last, you’ve gained some insight into a beauty regime that works. You’re down with the serums, the importance of SPF and you even do a plasma mask from time to time. Despite all of the hard work and funding that goes into your AM/PM ritual, you’re still getting spots, your pores are ‘huge’ and blackheads pepper what is otherwise a very flawless complexion. Of course, all of this diligent maintenance will improve your skin in the long term, but no matter how often you Clarisonic your face, you’re going to have to call in a professional to really give your dermis the full clean it requires. It was just the other day I spent an hour on my back having my pores cleared by my favourite facialist. Even two weeks on, the brightening effects are astonishing.
Whether you have sensitive, oily or dry skin, a facial that combines several different approaches is always the best. Everyone can benefit from a thorough extraction, however your therapist may want to do a little microdermabrasion, a galvanic treatment or even a blast under the Omnilux light.
Remember this: good skin isn’t achieved using stem cell regenerating anti-wrinkle creams made from Swiss golden apples or fairy tears, it’s attained through clean skin and clean livers. For the best facials in London, try the following.
I can’t say enough wonderful things about Arezoo and I would recommend anyone try one of her facials or indeed, her waxes. Not only do I leave with glowing skin, her kindness and compassion always make me feel really, really great about myself. Sometimes I’ll leave a facial and need genuine ‘down-time’ for days after, but a session with Arezoo (or one of her wonderful team) will afford you super-clean, juicy skin and a wealth of skincare knowledge to take home and think about. Another plus is the privacy of her Knightsbridge salon, so you never need to worry about bumping into your ex and his new bird with an (ever so slightly) reddened face.
Facials from £150
Sarah Chapmans legendary facials combine serious facial massage, omnilux light therapy and liberally applied seaweed masks. There’s no dicking around with whale music and sniffing essential oils, this is serious, let’s get down to business skin improvement. Of course the facials are actually relaxing but they’re also thorough and highly effective.
Facials from £120
For the cool kids who want a reeeeeally in-depth deep clean, look no further than Notting Hill based Una, who relies on just her hands, warm wax, ice and an incredible face and back massage. Una has been a beauty editor favourite for years and her wealth of health and skin knowledge will also help you maintain your complexion from the inside out. Book well in advance as she gets busy months in advance.
£150 for 2 hours
Self tanner might fall into the “maintenance” category for some people – just another step in the shower/shave/cleanse/moisturize kind of routine. But for others, it’s right up there with other “spa day” beauty activities, which are just a hassle to get involved in on the reg …especially self tanner for the body. The dry time, the staining, those vast expanses of body parts that require an “even application.” If I’m doing it myself, self tanner for the face is probably the only thing I won’t screw up – it’s just a few inches wide! How would that be possible? Plus, between October and March, you really only need to look good from the neck up. Unless you’re a stripper, a model, or Candice Swanapoel who, of course, has to look good all over, all the time. In my opinion, it’s always best to seek professional help to avoid going from Caspar to Pauly D when left unattended with the St Tropez. Try these for natural results. I love Daniella the most because she comes to your house, sprays in seconds and can give you facials, waxing and even laser hair removal from the comforts of your living room.
Daniella Nikolova – £50
Fake Bake Spray Tan Booth - £25 – (Tanning Salons nationwide)