Hair we go again: the best hair and beauty salons to visit as the UK exits full lockdown

By Juliet Herd | 10 Apr 2021 | Culture, Style
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One thing we can probably all agree on as life begins to return to some kind of normality is that most of us are in dire need of hair and beauty maintenance – haircuts being top of the list, if the prime minister’s increasingly unruly blonde barnet is anything to go by!

As non-essential shops reopen, we round up some of London’s best hair and beauty salons and find out what new trends, treatments and launches are in store.


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5 Pont Street, SW1X 9EJ

One of London’s busiest salons, Neville Hair and Beauty is bouncing back with the offer of a new investment power cut (as in hair) that testifies to the nation’s collective strength and resilience post-pandemic. 

Neville director Elena Lavagni is calling it the Chanel Power Cut in homage to the French fashion designer, explaining: “Coco Chanel once said, ‘The First World War made me; I work up in 1919 famous’. We all deserve to look and feel fabulous after this tricky year and at Neville, that is what we are all about – spoiling our clients.”

Short and flirty and oozing style, the new shorter cut is predicted to be the hit of the summer as we slowly begin to shake off the weight – literally! - of a heavy year. Whether you’re looking for a choppy Pixie crop or wanting to lift your bob a few inches to lobe-length, there’s something liberating about lopping your locks. “This cut is everything that represents a strong spirit in a woman – super sophisticated and classy,” adds Lavagni. 

Another innovation at Neville is the new ‘silhouette slicing’ contouring colouring technique, devised by colour director Seniz Alkan. The bespoke technique takes into account individual face shapes using a combination of foil highlights placed in an upside-down triangle and positioned so as to produce different tones and depths to create shadows.

The idea is to enable clients to go blonder without compromising the health of their hair – it also instantly boosts their complexion, says Alkan.

Men haven’t been forgotten either - there’s a hair colouring system designed especially for them. In a matter of minutes, greys are blended away, leaving shiny, healthy, natural looking hair. 

This year, the salon has partnered with One Tree Planted, so for every £5 PPE surcharge charged to clients, it will be donating £1 to plant a tree.

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4 W Halkin Street, SW1X 8JA

Colourist to the stars Daniel Galvin Jr, MBE, is eager to get back to doing what he does best – making his clients feel like royalty and working his magic on their hair. 

A daily fixture at the two-storey Grade II listed Belgravia salon, he’s usually the first person you spot, ready to greet you with a smile and his trademark line, “It’s all about you” – which, his loyal clients will readily testify, it is!

For summer, he’s taking a more natural approach to colour, aware that clients have had plenty of time to embrace their roots during lockdown – not to mention having become accustomed to a lower maintenance beauty routine. The new ‘rooty look’ is designed to give hair more contrast and movement by utilising natural root colours and focusing on contouring the face through strategic use of highlights.

“It’s all about creating a framing halo effect using hairline highlights and bone-structuring balayage to ensure seamless regrowth and blending,” explains Galvin Jr. “This will create contrast and depth, make your cheekbones look stronger and your complexion warmer.”

An added bonus is that clients could even go off travelling for up to six months without having to worry about a regrowth problem. “Our signature is continuity and low maintenance as well as quality and integrity of hair care,” adds this fourth-generation hairdresser.

For blondes, he recommends sun-kissed low lights with frosty tips courtesy of balayage through mid-lengths and ends, and for brunettes, olive-based hues to avoid any yellow or orange tones caused by sun exposure.

A pioneer of the organic movement, Galvin Jr uses his own range of award-winning organic hair products, including the Highgrove personal hair care collection he created for Prince Charles (he’s also a long-time patron of The Prince’s Trust). His super nourishing Organic Head Argan Oil Detox Hair Masque proved a lifesaver during lockdown for many of his regulars.

Did we mention how friendly the Galvin Jr team are? Many of them have been trained by the maestro himself, including talented young colourist Grace Wellington, and others, like styling director James Brunt, fully embody the caring ethos of this popular salon.

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88 Fulham Rd, South Kensington, SW3 6HR

There’s no excuse not to get your hair cut at Hari’s – all four of its South West London salons will be open seven days a week (8am to 8pm) in a bid to manage its 2000-plus post-lockdown waiting list. 

The iconic salon chain – part of London’s hair scene since 1976 – has compiled some interesting stats showing that 72% of clients are in desperate need of highlights while 82% are queueing for cuts. 

In order to restore hair to pre-lockdown glory, Haris’ team of expert stylists have come up with a special lock-lifting line-up of services.

There’s the Hair Hug, described as a hug for your hair, which involves an essential cut for fresh, happy ends, plus a conditioning treatment and a colour gloss enhancer treatment. You can also opt for the Colour Clinic, which promises to give the “kiss of life” to your hair following any at-home colour catastrophes, or the ‘Over It’ Overhaul, if you want to totally transform your look post-lockdown.

A three-in-one care package will focus on getting rid of split ends, detoxing your scalp, restoring hair and beautifying nails – all designed to make you “feel a little more like you”.

Launched by the legendary Hari Salem, who was trained in the Sixties by Twiggy’s stylist, the business has grown from the original Sydney Road premises in Chelsea to encompass salons in Fulham Road (flagship), King’s Road, Parsons Green and Ledbury Road, Notting Hill.

Frequented by royalty and A-listers, Hari’s has welcomed the likes of Sienna Miller, Jemima Khan and Goldie Hawn over the years, and in-house stylist Sonnie-Jo Macfarlane even had the honour of styling long-term client Princess Eugenie’s hair for her wedding. 

As a thank you, Hari’s is offering NHS staff workers 25% off any appointment.

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186 Pavilion Road, SW3 2BF

Although small, this bijou salon packs an impressive punch with a roster of talented stylists assembled by co-founders Belle Cannan and John Vial, including Emmanuel Esteban, famed for his sleek and speedy blow dries, and leading hair colour specialist, Sophie MacCorquodale, favoured colourist of Hollywood actress Scarlett Johansson. 

MacCorquodale is tipping new-wave balayage – first seen on the streets of New York - as the hair colour for the summer. A natural colour technique, it gives the impression that your locks have been gradually lightened by the sun – and what’s more, it’s enticingly low maintenance and lasts for months. 

Inspired by lockdown, the Chelsea salon has also launched a bespoke colour package called ‘Professional Smudge’, designed for use in-between salon appointments. It includes prescribed colour formulation and detailed instructions to help clients maintain their personalised colour – a saving grace for many during the long months of lockdown!

Expert stylist Cannan also kept in touch with clients via Zoom, offering SOS styling tips and even conducting tutorials showing them how to cut their hair at home. 

Her tips for summer haircare include using sun protection that contains filters to protect hair from the harmful effects of the sun, sea and swimming pool. And if your hair is dry or brittle, she suggests investing in a treatment that will nourish, hydrate and control frizz. “You can mix this in with the hair sun protection and leave on all day,” says Cannan. “Also, wear a hat!”

Unsurprisingly, the ultra-discreet salon is something of a mecca for high-profile clients, from actors to supermodels and media moguls – okay, whisper it, names like George and Amal Clooney, Taylor Swift, Mel C and Bryan Adams.

By nurturing next generation hairdressing talent, the salon is able to offer an accessible menu with prices starting from £35 for a blow dry and £98 for a cut and blow dry – without scrimping on quality.

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St Martins Courtyard, 8 Slingsby Pl, WC2E 9AB

As the UK’s leading on-demand luxury beauty service, Blow LTD is gearing up for a busy summer, especially if last year’s post-lockdown experience is anything to go by.

Indeed, there was such a call for cuts and colour that the founders introduced a full hairdressing menu and recruited extra stylists from top London salons to meet the high demand.

There is a permanent beauty bar in Covent Garden but the rest of the business is mobile, built around at-home services. Clients just have to download the Blow LTD app and book whatever treatment they desire – anything from colour, cut and blow dry to massage, waxing, brows and lashes, and hair and makeup. 

The team are all Covid-tested, CRB-checked and trained to use the app and deliver Covid hygiene-certified services in the comfort of people’s homes. 

“Hair colour and cut are now our most popular service,” says co-founder and former magazine editor Fiona McIntosh. “It’s so much easier to have it done at home and the client feels safer having one stylist in PPE in their home rather than trekking to a salon.”

Unsurprisingly, one of the most popular post-lockdown services is the family package – a huge time-saver, which enables mum and dad to get on with whatever they need to do while the kids enjoy the novelty of having their hair cut in the kitchen. Genius! 

In other good news, the massage menu has been expanded to include deeply relaxing CBD and hot stone massages. These can be booked by women for their male partners and undertaken together but are not available to men on their own. 

Designed to fit into clients’ busy schedules, Blow LTD operates in London and the home counties as well as Manchester and Birmingham.



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125 Mount Street, W1K 3NS

We can’t contain our excitement at the opening this month of renowned skincare specialist Dr Barbara Sturm’s first stand-alone London boutique and spa in the heart of Mayfair. 

If you’ve ever been fortunate enough to be treated to the ‘Sturm Glow’, you’ll know that this launch is a big deal in the beauty world; the equivalent of a child being let loose in a sweet factory. Just ask celebrity devotees Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, Gwyneth Paltrow, Hailey Bieber, Chrissy Teigen, Kim Kardashian, Kate Moss – the list goes on…

Known for her non-surgical anti-ageing treatments and cutting-edge products, the German aesthetics doctor will offer her signature facials and sought-after treatments, including her revitalising Instant Glow facial, which calms the skin using purslane, a superfood plant packed full of regenerative antioxidants and nutrients. You can also add micro-needling or micro-dermabrasion to your facial to stimulate collagen and elastin in the skin.

Other hero treatments include the Super Anti-Ageing facial, which deploys acupressure techniques and massage using a nano skincare device for deeper penetration, lifting the skin around the jaw and reducing fine lines and wrinkles – with the added benefit of no downtime. Men can enjoy a customised treatment of their own, designed to cleanse, tone, soothe and comfort irritated skin, especially after shaving. The men’s facial also removes rough or dry skin while fighting the signs of ageing, under-eye discoloration and puffiness. 

Set over two floors, the sleek, minimalist flagship spa has been designed in collaboration with architect Tobias Freytag, who also created the look for Dr Sturm’s LA and Dusseldorf residencies. Services include 1-1 private appointments with an expert aesthetician and a discreet VIP entrance as well as access to Dr Sturm’s complete molecular cosmetics line. 

Aficionados will also be delighted to learn that the Mayfair establishment will be the first to offer exclusive body treatments, including an invigorating anti-ageing treatment and a zingy new scalp massage, ideal for combatting Zoom fatigue. Remember, you heard it here first!

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251 Brompton Road, SW3 2EP

Launched between lockdowns last year is another innovative skincare sanctuary - award-winning facialist Lisa Franklin’s new flagship clinic privé

Tucked away on the corner of Brompton Road and Egerton Gardens with views over elegant Knightsbridge, this luxury oasis is the ultimate escape for stressed-out Londoners. 

A former make-up artist, Franklin has been quietly building her reputation as an expert in problematic skin, including acne, redness and rosacea, for more than 20 years. Her treatments combine traditional techniques with state-of-the-art science-based technology and scientifically-advanced products, both from her own range and other carefully curated brands.

All the treatments are unisex, with the most popular being the Repair, Recover, Renew signature facial, tailored to individual needs and focused on cleansing, protecting and restoring vitality. To finish, there’s a soothing rose quartz lymphatic massage guaranteed to lull you to sleep! You can then add on courses such as CACI (non-surgical face lift), Dermalux (delivering LED phototherapy to treat ageing skin, acne and blemish-prone skin), and Endospheres therapy (to improve lymphatic drainage and increase blood circulation). 

As a London resident and rosacea-sufferer, herself, Franklin has long been aware of the impact of pollution and city living on skin, prompting her to create her own award-winning vegan range, packed with antioxidants, key actives, vitamins and minerals that quench free radicals. The latest addition to her skincare portfolio is a collection of super serums for brightening, hydrating and tackling specific skin concerns, such as rosacea and acne. There’s also a men’s range, including a gel wash, refining scrub and pollution defence cream.

As well as being able to offer more treatment space at her new clinic, the energetic Franklin has plans to provide medical and wellness services with dermatologists and nutritionists on hand.

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57 Ledbury Road, W11 2AA

Now here’s a beauty and wellness company that wasted no time in pivoting during the pandemic. In the space of a week, revolutionary facial workout brand FaceGym switched from being studio-based to completely digitised, offering dynamic online workouts to its rapidly growing community of international fans. 

Need a face workout while WFH? Simple. Just book a tailored 1-1 online appointment from anywhere in the world with a master trainer or join a class, showing you how to tone and tighten the 40-plus muscles in your face. As with any sports gym, you can even buy ‘class passes’.

Following the reopening of non-essential shops, FG bunnies can start returning to their local studio (King’s Road, St John’s Wood, Notting Hill and Coal Drops Yard, plus the original concession in Selfridges), where they can sit back and let one of the team’s expert trainers do all the hard work – focused on lifting, firming and sculpting the face, all non-invasively, of course.

As promised in the blurb, FaceGym sessions aren’t for the faint hearted. They are literally a fitness workout for the face using customised massage techniques, including knuckling, pinching and whipping strokes, to stimulate blood circulation and collagen, boost the lymphatic system and increase cell renewal. As with any exercise, it begins with a warm up, followed by some intense cardio and sculpting and finishing with a calming cool down.

You can complement your studio workout with add-on technologies, including radiofrequency and cryotherapy, and choose from a range of best-selling skincare products and high-tech face tools, including the classic Face Ball and Gold Derma Roller, to use at home. 

One of the changes customers will notice when they return to the studios is the careful attention given to hand washing, masking up and temperature taking, inspired by the Japanese bathing ritual of hand and feet washing. “We’ve made it feel not scary, but actually quite beautiful,” explains FaceGym founder and creative director Inge Theron. “Your face trainer does it, you do it – it’s mutual, like, ‘I’m going to protect you and you’re going to protect me.’”

And if you fancy doing a class at home any time, you can continue to work out online.

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2 Hans Crescent, SW1X 0LH

This must rate as the ultimate retreat: a complete beauty, wellness and lifestyle hub located just behind busy Sloane Street in a five-storey, 12,000-square-foot former private residence, known as the White House. 

To celebrate reopening, Urban Retreat is offering two hours of ‘Get that Glow’ treatments at the specially discounted price of £195 (usually £250) throughout April, including facial micro-dermabrasion and mask, brows and lashes overhaul, waxing treatments, mani/pedi and bottomless tea and coffee.

All facial treatments are customised and feature techniques such as Galvanic deep cleaning, hot and cold therapy, vacuum lymphatic drainage and extractions. You can also choose from both surgical and non-surgical cosmetic treatments at Dr Medispa, including medi-facials, anti-wrinkle treatments and IV vitamin infusions.

From 16 April, skincare expert Kirstie Garrett, founder of eco-skincare and wellbeing range ebo and co-founder of beauty brand Balance Me, will be holding a pop-up clinic two days a month, featuring her signature seasonal facial rejuvenation treatment and ‘relax and revive’ full body massage.

Four-time winner of the British hairdresser of the Year award Angelo Seminara is back conjuring up new styles in the UR hair salon – as well as offering a male grooming experience using eco-friendly Goodlife products. Aimed at the “busy modern-day gentleman”, this fine barbering service includes tailored cuts and shaves.

For those interested in getting physical, Urban Retreat will be launching fitness classes and hot yoga, including men’s yoga, from the end of the month. There are also plans to introduce masterclasses in fertility, menopause and other health-related issues. 

And from 18 May, you can treat yourself to a healthy post-treatment lunch, dinner or snack at the new plant-based restaurant Holy Carrot.

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106 Harley St, Marylebone, W1G 7JE

As a registered medical practice, this leading medical aesthetics clinic has been open for limited treatments during lockdown, but is now able to once again offer its full range of cosmetic treatments. 

Founded by internationally renowned dermatologist Dr Nick Lowe in 1994, the cutting-edge clinic favoured by royalty and celebrities, is regarded as one of the pioneers in the use of injectable aesthetic procedures, including anti-wrinkle treatment. 

Tailored to client’s unique skin types, dermatological problems and aesthetic issues, treatments include both non-invasive and surgical procedures as well as regenerative medicine, ranging from non-invasive injectables and lasers to stem-cell rejuvenation.

There is also specialist treatment for acne, rosacea, melasma and pigment and psoriasis and a dedicated hair clinic, headed up by dermatologist Dr Ophelia Veraitch, dealing with issues such as hair loss for both men and women.

One revolutionary new treatment that’s tipped to be popular after lockdown is Endolift, an innovative non-surgical procedure performed by top aesthetic plastic surgeon Mr Ali Ghanem that boosts skin restructuring and reduces skin laxity, particularly of the lower eyelid. 

After long hours spent staring at a screen and enduring stress-related sleepless nights, serious eyebags are certainly something many of us now have in common!

The laser procedure involves correcting mild sagging of the skin and fat accumulations around the chin, cheeks, mouth, jawline and neck - and eyelids. Happily, there’s none of the pain associated with incisions or sutures and no recovery time required.

Another sought-after treatment is Dr Shirin Lakhani’s ‘injectable facelift’, which involves dermal injections in the face to plump up the skin and reduce lines and sagging – again, with minimal recovery time.