The best health venues in London
The best beauty venues in London
Most popular salons and spas
Blue Tit East Village
A stone’s throw away from Westfield Stratford – if you’re shot-putter that is – is the latest outpost from hip boutique hairdressing salon Blue Tit. In a marked departure from the vintage style for which the salon has become known, the new offering is bright, airy and ever-so-slightly industrial. With untreated wooden floors and concrete fixtures – plus the obligatory cactus plants – you could almost imagine yourself in a Stockholm salon. Almost. But while the interior design may have undergone an update, the menu – using all-natural products – and service remain unchanged. This is no bad thing: with its fashion-forward approach, fair pricing and friendly staff, Blue Tit has built a loyal following of customers, which sees no signs of waning.
The already impressive Carnaby outpost of beauty heavyweight Mac has packed up the kaleidoscopic make-up counters and upsized to a massive new shop. It’s a canny move: the new building sits in one of London’s premier tourist thoroughfares. Inside, the brand’s ever-popular collaborations and tongue-in-cheek limited edition lines (the latest, Haute Dogs features lippies inspired by pedigree pooches) take pride of place. There are also nine make-up stations, for quick drop-in demos or longer, bookable lessons. Upstairs is dedicated to Mac’s Pro line, beloved of make-up artists and drag queens alike. With an exhaustive selection of products, it’s shopping nirvana for slap-happy amateurs and serious professionals.
John Bell & Croyden
After two centuries of dishing out cures to Londoners’ maladies age had started to wither this venerable pharmacy: cue a multimillion-pound revamp which balances an imposing heritage with a new range of products. Intriguing bits of antique paraphernalia are dotted among of-the-moment wellness fads –JB&C houses a royal prescription book, so you can gawp at Queen Victoria’s beauty secrets (cold cream and Coraline toothpaste, FYI). The store is also home to a globetrotting selection of fancy brands, from French cult favourites like Embryolisse and La Roche Posay to under-the-radar Antipodean suncare. You might come in looking for blister plasters, but you’ll leave with a bathroom-cabinet’s worth of loot.
The Nomad Barbershop
Does your barber cut hair on a mountain top? Perhaps you’re using the wrong man. Miguel Gutierrez, of hugely popular vlog The Nomad Barber, travelled the world to observe cutting and shaving techniques in Dubai, Turkey, Chile and even London’s East End. The video series documented Liverpool-born Gutierrez’s year-long odyssey to learn the history of barbering. ‘I wanted to create a concept that would allow me to travel, but also keep me in the industry,’ Gutierrez tells me as he snips methodically at my wayward hair. I’m getting spruced up at the Nomad Barber’s first permanent residence, a smallish shop off Brick Lane. The space is stylish without being pretentious, and it’s free of the hippyish travelling trinkets you might expect. Chic indie flows through the speakers and portraits from Gutierrez’s travels adorn a wall. It’s a cool, comfortable set-up that’s been swamped with happy customers since launching. ‘We get such a varied mix,’ says Gutierrez. ‘City boys, hipsters, guys who want a style they’ve seen on Instagram.’ Ah yes, Instagram. The Nomad’s hefty social media following has served him well, he says. ‘A lot of customers come via YouTube.’ The three-man team (one of whom was a sniper before he became a snipper, so think twice about asking for ‘a tiny bit more off the sides’) work through cuts and shaves in 45-minute slots, priced at £28. It’s competitive, and extras like a hot towel with every cut make it memorable. Let’s hope this nomad has finally settled.
You wouldn’t need an overgrown fringe to miss Asashi Hair when wandering around Shoreditch. Tucked away in a workshop down a cobbledy alley is a modestly attired little grooming bolthole, delivering cuts (£45-£55) but not colour. It’s the home of mono-monikored Asashi, a Japanese stylist who has coiffed for the likes of Vogue, GQ and Dazed over a 25-year career before opening this spot for personal clients. He has Dapper Dan pomade on hand for ducktail-seeking dudes, or precision snips to deliver a directional spirit-levelled bowl cut. But if you must ask for a trim, you’ll get one.
Back where I’m from, a long-haired urchin like me would often be treated to a cry of ‘Cut your hair!’ from a passing Ford Fiesta. With the arrival of Cut Throat in my adopted home of Peckham, the drive-by style advisors have finally got their way. It’s a cosy white cube of a hairdressers, with just four seats. Reassuringly, on my visit, the other two customers were equally tentative (‘Can you do something… to my beard? NOTHING WEIRD!’) but the staff coaxed vague requirements and excellent styles out of all of us. I was treated to fancy pomade which I was assured was vegan – good to know as until now I’ve been using bacon fat. A full menu of shaves, trims and cuts are on offer (£10-£35).