London – the home of cucumber sandwiches, red phone boxes, Big Ben, and Kate Moss. It’s also where you can find some of the best beauty treatments in the world. While Brits might be best known for always talking about the weather – it’s a thing – they’re also in the know when it comes to what’s hot in the beauty industry.
Not only is London the birthplace of global beauty trends, it’s also where major brands and leading therapists choose to set up shop, offering everything from advanced facials to perfect blow-dries, on-point nail art, and everything in between. Our Beauty Editor scoured the streets of England’s capital to compile the ultimate little black book of beauty, but be warned: severe wanderlust may occur.
The Facial Fix
111 Harley St.
If you haven’t heard of 111Skin, it’s time to get out from under that rock. Trust us when we say that you, and your skin, will never be the same again. The go-to brand for pretty much every A-lister and supermodel in existence (Margot Robbie, Candice Swanepoel, and Adriana Lima included), it’s the backstage secret to glowing skin and used at almost every Fashion Week show. It also boasts the best facial treatments in the business.
Established by 111Skin founder Dr. Yannis Alexandrides, 111 Harley St. clinic offers everything from micropen facials to PRP, peels, and mesotherapy. Treatments are entirely tailored to your skin and concerns, and include a blend of different techniques and products to create the ultimate bespoke combination. Expect lots of whizzy devices, revolutionary ingredients, and 111Skin’s sell-out masks. And if you’re lucky enough to bag a booking with Milena Naydenov, Head Aesthetician of 111Skin, you’ve basically won the beauty lottery.
The Waxing Experts
Being away from home and in need of a wax is never fun (we’ve all lived the horror stories), but when you book in at Strip, you can relax knowing that you and your unwanted hair are in the best possible hands. Not only is each salon seriously chic, with themed treatment rooms that are a far cry from the sterile waxing rooms we’re used to, but there’s also a TV on the wall so you can watch Friends – a welcome distraction from making awkward small talk with the woman up in your lady bits.
Even more fun is that your wax (Lycon, of course) is specially blended to suit your skin and hair type, and you get to choose the ‘flavor’. There’s a gold blend that gives you a gorgeous afterglow, a decadent chocolate, a fruity berry, and soothing lavender. The therapists are quick and efficient, making the process as pain-free and comfortable as possible. There’s a reason why Victoria Beckham, Emily Blunt, and Poppy Delevingne don’t go anywhere else…
The Best Blow-Dries
For the best blow-dries in London, head to Hershesons. Whether you take a seat in its incredibly cool (and seriously spacious) salon in Fitzrovia or at one of the numerous blow-dry bars across town, we guarantee you’ll leave with your hottest head of hair ever. Having launched its first outpost over 13 years ago, it’s safe to say Hershesons has perfected its art. After all, the man behind it is Luke Hersheson – a.k.a. Victoria Beckham and Sienna Miller’s go-to guy.
Armed with Hershesons’ hair tools, dryers, and tongs (which are arguably the best in the business), your stylist can whip your hair into shape in as little as 15 minutes. There’s a hair menu offering everything from the classic ‘Big + Brushed’ to the London cool-girl fave ‘The Flave’ (the ultimate effortless textured wave). You can also opt for a boho braid, elegant updo, or go off-piste and let your stylist make the call. Luscious London locks, here we come.
The Laser Specialist
D. Thomas Clinic
The secret behind the gorgeous, glowing complexions of Dua Lipa, Jourdan Dunn, and Zara Larsson? Debbie Thomas, a.k.a “queen of laser facials”. Her beautiful boutique-like D.Thomas Clinic in South Kensington is home to some of the most high-tech treatments available, and each bespoke treatment here is tailored to your skin concerns – whether that’s breakouts, pigmentation, eczema, or just general rejuvenation.
For over 20 years, she and her team have been combining laser technology with traditional methods and top-notch skincare to transform your skin from within in just over an hour. Expect lots of deep cleansing, gentle peels, soothing masks and, of course, laser beams that won’t hurt – promise. So, pop on those goggles and get ready to get your glow on.
The Nail Artists
If you spy a chic Londoner sporting a perfect mani, chances are that she has been to DryBy. Not only would we happily move into the cool, cozy salon (it’s all muted pinks and grays, exposed wood floors, and gold detailing), but we could also get lost in its Instagram feed for hours. This is the home of elegant, minimal nail art – subtle details that give your nails a touch of je ne sais quoi.
From moons and stars to stripes, ombre, palm trees, and polka dots – there’s nothing that the creative team at DryBy can’t do. The attention to detail is astounding, and each piece of nail art is painted on with painstaking precision. But it’s not just the array of designs that will keep your mani looking fresh. The salon also boasts one of the largest selections of nail brands and shades we’ve ever seen, from CND Shellac to Smith & Cult and Louboutin to Lauren B. This may make decision-making a little tough, but it’s also the perfect excuse to keep coming back for more.
The Heavenly Hammam
Just when we thought you couldn’t get a more indulgent treatment than a classic hammam (because who doesn’t love being scrubbed, buffed, and bathed to perfection?), we discovered the uber-luxurious marocMaroc in Harrods. Enough said. You’ll instantly be transported from Knightsbridge to a hidden riad in the heart of Marrakech as soon as you enter. It’s calm, it’s peaceful, and it’s perfectly private – and a far cry from the hustle and bustle of shoppers below you.
Used for thousands of years to deeply cleanse the skin and boost blood circulation whilst promoting healing and hydration, this is a sure-fire way to rid your body of dead, dull skin and restore your natural glow. You’ll be taken on a journey through a labyrinth of marble rooms before your personal kessala places you on heated marble and takes care of you from top to toe. To round it off perfectly, you then get to enjoy a sumptuous relaxation lounge. It’s worth it for the Moroccan mint tea and that decadent platter of dates, nuts, and crudités alone.
The Holistic Facial
If you thought massage was reserved solely for your body needs, think again – because its skincare benefits are endless. Hidden away in her beautiful home in Chelsea is where you’ll find “the skin whisperer” Nataliya Robinson, who takes a holistic, hands-on approach to beauty – literally. Her bespoke facials focus on pure and natural ingredients as well as lots of detoxification and lymphatic drainage through the art of facial massage. Not only is this one of the ultimate ways to relax and unwind, but it also works wonders on boosting your complexion while instantly lifting and firming your face.
Whether you want to reduce puffiness, calm stressed skin, clear congestion, or look 10 years younger (yes please), Robinson customizes her massage technique to your needs, enhancing it with natural skincare from her Quantum Botanika line. The treatments take place in a beautiful boho-style room that, along with the rest of her home, offers some major #interiorsgoals – not to mention the ultimate beauty escape. So lie back, relax, and let her work her magic with her healing hands.
The Hair Salon
Celebrity hairdresser George Northwood (a.k.a. the king of “undone style”) is on the speed dial of countless A-listers and British beauties – Rosie Huntington-Whiteley and Alexa Chung included. His trendy London salon is also our Beauty Editor’s go-to when it comes to cool cuts and incredible color. Here, you don’t have to be a celebrity to feel like one because you’re treated like a superstar from the moment you step through the salon’s doors.
Split across two levels, its relaxed vibe and on-point interiors feel more like a stylish New York apartment than a luxury salon. It al so goes to great lengths (excuse the pun) to ensure your every need is met. You’re given bowls of popcorn and freshly baked treats – made by Northwood’s mom, no less. There are also cozy sofa areas where you can kick back with one of his favorite books, cool artwork adorns the walls, and there are hot desks complete with phone and laptop charging stations. Basically, you’ll never want to leave, but you’ll also be bounding out the doors ready to show off your hot new ‘do.
The Heat Therapy
Heat by 111Cryo
If the cooler London climate is taking a little while to get used to, give yourself a warming boost with the Heat by 111Cryo chamber. The first (and only) machine of its kind in the UK, it heats up to 90ºC and uses infrared technology to gently warm the body from the inside out, thereby releasing toxins and increasing blood circulation, collagen production, lymphatic drainage, and muscle recovery while it’s at it. It might just be the perfect post-flight pick-me-up.
Lie back in the futuristic pod (which feels more like a spaceship than a spa device), choose between an energizing medium temperature or a fat-burning high heat (which can burn up to 600 calories in just 30 minutes!), and select a scent to match your mood. You can even add massage vibrations if you’re looking to totally relax, and there are various LED light options to help treat everything from acne and aging while you sweat it out. It’s totally customizable, and you have full control of the settings throughout. For the ultimate body blasting treatment, combine with a visit to the 111Cryo chamber just next door, where you’ll be blasted with an icy -90ºC to reduce inflammation, pain, and fatigue. Cool, right?
The LED Facial
The Light Salon
Speaking of LED treatments, LED facials are all the rage right now – and for good reason, too. They use a powerful but gentle light source and a range of LED colors (red for collagen boosting and plumping, blue for acne and breakouts, yellow for regeneration and healing, and green for redness and pigmentation) to rejuvenate skin from within. Although there’s now an array of at-home LED masks you can buy, nothing beats treating yourself to a professional treatment. Plus, who wants to lug one of those halfway around the world? Exactly.
The Light Salon specializes in all things LED light, offering everything from 15-minute quick fixes to full-body LED cocoons. Treatments take place in a beautiful light and airy space tucked away on the fourth floor of Harvey Nichols (ideal if you need mid-shopping pampering) and include a blissful face massage and thorough cleanse. With no downtime and immediate results, this is one to book if you’ve got a special evening planned or need an instant beautifying boost.