'Women do tend to shy away from asking me for a Brazilian or a Hollywood,’ says broad-shouldered Andy Penniceard as he mans the counter of Privet, his new beauty venture off Westbourne Grove. ‘But if I’m behind the counter, men are much more likely to walk in and book a treatment.’ Pruning and preening has always been a rather feminine business, but Penniceard is making it appealing for a man to have a massage, manicure or even a downstairs tidy-up without feeling like a sissy.
Privet is the opposite of a girly or snooty beauty parlour – decked up, literally, like an indoor garden with the minutest attention to detail: nail varnishes spring like tulips out of plant pots, and astroturfy mats cover the floors. Sounds naff – and it is a teeny bit – but it’s also a lovely place. Treatment rooms are in neat custom-built sheds, complete with old-fangled radios and various pastoral props. Men’s treatments take place in the Toolshed, with trowels and forks hanging from nails (none are actually used during treatments), and a magnificent old workbench in lieu of a table. There is a sense of humour about it all. A gentleman’s eyebrow wax is called a ‘Gallagher Be Gone’ (£15.50), and a pit wax is an ‘Under Gun’ (£19.50). Tans (for both sexes) are administered in the Orangerie. But it’s all luxurious as well as faux-bucolic. And the service is as good as anything we’ve tested in top notch hotel spas – think the latest Essie gel manicures (£43). If you’re a lady or a gent with a case of typist’s hunchback, ask for a session with Erinah (£45-£70), who uses extraordinary African and Thai massage techniques that pull no punches when it comes to knots – at some point in my session I think she might have been actually jumping on me. After that, an Under Gun will feel like a walk in the garden.
214 Kensington Park Road
|Opening hours:||10am-8pm Mon-Fri; 9am-7pm Sat; 11am-5pm Sun|
|Transport:||Tube: Ladbroke Grove|
|Do you own this business?|
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