Living relatively local to London – a 2 hour train trek if we’re getting geographical – can only mean one thing. Sightseeing aside, I’m talking in the way of shopping sprees, beauty stylee. Floors upon floors inside the world’s most mammoth department stores, 5 star salons and spas, stand alone pop-ups and beauty boutiques – oh yes, it has it all. And so when I get the time to hop up for a shop, the moment my feet touch down on the platform of the underground, you can bet I’ll be making a move in the direction of my top makeup havens…
Dotted all over city are 24 Space NK’s – South Molton St is above, but the best and biggest is the Soho store. The friendly guys and gals will welcome you in, their brains filled to the brim with beauty background, and show you around the edited array of the worlds best hair, body, makeup and skincare stuff. The cosmetic counters carry Chantecaille, Hourglass and NARS to name a few, and are also exclusive UK stockists of By Terry and Kevin Aucoin. Walls are stacked with to-die-for Diptyque candles and perfumes, window displays are equally as eye-catching and I’m yet to set foot in one of their very own spas – the facial and massage menu looks dead dreamy…
The Beauty of London. On Oxford Street, Selfridge ground floor is where it’s at, accommodating every high-end counter imaginable. More recently, a brand spanking new Origins space arrived complete with help yourself sampling station, other skincare counters, Omorovicza and NUDE, and makeup, MAC, Illamasqua, and Shu Uemura are just a handful of the hundreds to take your fancy to. Late last Summer saw the launch of the Beauty Workshop which brought in over 50 new brands, in store services and the latest product launches. Whether you’re lured in on your lunch break or treating yourself to some therapy, the luxurious, but quick-fixes range from tanning and threading to salon blow-drys, makeovers and nail bars offering multi-branded mini mani/pedi’s.
Not too far away, ruling Regent Street is the iconic, leading London department store, Liberty, a one-off unlike the others making the shopping experience a very unique one. Counters in the beauty hall consist of Aromatherapy Associates, Aesop and Perricone MD – swoon. Through in a posh private suite on the floor above is the beauty spa and treatment rooms from Aveda, Sisley, Decleor and Dermalogica, as well as two rotating pop-up spa rooms – swish.
Chanel’s pop-up boutique in Covent Garden’s Piazza comes as the first-of-its-kind, a stand alone British beauty store providing new product previews, hosting makeup master-classes and offering a gift wrap service which includes a ‘note & quote’ from lady Coco herself. The shop stocks all of the signature scents, upstairs is equipped with makeover stations assisted by expert artists and downstairs features Chanel’s debut designer nail bar where a file and polish is priced at £25, then redeemable against any purchase. The best part? A nail varnish vending machine. Need I say more…
Nestled on the third floor of Harvey Nichols in Knightsbridge, is Beauty Mart, a makeup, body and skincare boutique founded by industry insiders Millie Kendall, of the Ruby & Millie makeup line, and former Vogue beauty editor, Anne-Marie Solowij. The fully stocked shelves offer a selection of the most sought-after, best loved beauty products, ranging from drugstore buys, Bourjois and Revlon to hard-to-get-hold-of brands such as Bioderma, EOS and Prtty Peaushun.
All things high-end are taken care of on the ground level – Armani, Jo Malone and Trish McEvoy counters take up a just a fraction of the floor, also featured is a shop-within-a-shop with a sizeable Space NK concession. Heaven. Back upstairs, three spas serve up specialist face and body treatments – Elemis’s Spapod supplies full-on facials and massages, The Daniel Hersheson Salon does all things hair, beauty and tanning and Beyond Medispa brings a new approach to medical aesthetic procedures with injectables, laser therapy and semi-permanent makeup.
Harrods, Knightsbridge, houses four beauty halls which make up the majority of the ground floor. The Cosmetics Hall parades the not-so-purse-friendly makeup products, The Beauty Apothecary an array of high-end hair, skin and body care brands, The Colour Hall carries exclusive-to-Harrods cosmetic colour collections and The Perfumery Hall is packed with possibly every bottle of fragrance known to woman. The fifth floor features ‘Urban Retreat’, a one-stop beauty destination haven and one of the worlds most spacious salons with 32 beauty rooms, 45 styling stations and stands stashed with the finest beauty brands.
A weeping wallet in one hand, an arms-ful worth of iconic paper bags in the other – a visit to any of these heavenly venues is never a disappointment. So if you’re a product obsessed, London first-timer, or have never hit up any of the above, make at least one (or five) a priority on your next trip’s to-do list – your bank card won’t thank you, but we’ll shift over that thought. Thanks for visited.
For the task :