You can now book online pampering sessions with my favourite facialists and make-up artists.
For most of the past year beauty salons up and down the country have had to keep their doors closed, and according to latest statistics from the National Hair and Beauty Federation the closures are costing £124 million each week in lost income. Alongside the obvious financial challenges, salon owners have also had to figure out how to help customers keep their routines going as best they can from afar, as well as trying to create other revenue streams.
For Shane Cooper, a beauty genius whose transformative, noninvasive facials and body-contouring treatments are always booked out (under normal circumstances) at his West London clinic, that meant ‘accelerating my dream of having an extensive collection of at-home treatments’. He worked hard to develop and release his Hyaluronic Boosting Serum (£110) and Collagen Firming Cream (£145) as quickly as possible; they now stand beside his Oxygenation Mask (£90, shanecooperuk.com), which regularly sells out. He started development early last year, working alongside an Italian professor, but sped up the process as his salon bookings had to go on hold. To help clients he demonstrates how to use his range on Instagram (@shanecooperuk).
The famously kind-hearted Shane points out that it isn’t all about skin. ‘My clients often comment that coming into the salon and having that time with me helps them mentally. In lockdown I’ve been concerned that some no longer had that escape so started live streams on Instagram talking about mental health.’ He has different guests each Sunday evening, with Kimberley Walsh, formerly of Girls Aloud, one of the most recent.
Deborah Mitchell’s Heaven Health & Beauty Salon is in Shifnal, Shropshire. Her line is well established with products such as her Nettle Venom Anti-Ageing Serum (£55, shop.heavenskincare.com), but forced closures and many customers feeling too nervous to venture in – even when doors reopened for a while – meant she had to rethink things.
‘I’ve designed a facial routine using Heaven products that incorporates massage techniques and I teach people how to do it. We didn’t start this to make money, just to help customers in a tricky time, although it’s been a huge success for the business,’ she says. They offer free consultations via Facebook Messenger to help people choose the right products and follow up to see how they’re getting on. ‘It’s been great to stay busy and keep in touch with our wonderful customers,’ she adds.
It was only in December that Natali Kelly opened her clinic on Walton Street in the heart of London’s Chelsea. She offers noninvasive treatments (Botox, fillers, etc) alongside wellness treatments, including acupuncture, sound baths and even psychic and numerology readings – she sees it ‘as a community where people can feel supported’. To this end she has organised Zoom evenings for clients that have included moodboard workshops accompanied by sound baths ‘to try to bring balance and hope’ as well as one-to-one skincare consultations for home regimes and to plan treatment programmes for when the clinic reopens (natalikelly.com).
Fortunately for The Light Salon customer, education was already established for itsat-home Boost LED Face Mask (£395, the light-salon.com). This silicone mask emits near-infrared light to plump, hydrate and calm skin and help with fine lines. This month sees things ramp up further with the launch of The Virtual Light Salon for online skin consultations and bespoke advice for getting the most out of your mask depending on your skin.
Of course, it isn’t all about skincare. Blink Brow Bar (BBB) – where brows and lashes are tinted and shaped – was lucky to have an already established product line. And while some make-up categories such as lipsticks have been falling, brow products are up 350 per cent since the first lockdown. BBB has seen particular interest in products that ‘keep unruly brows in place and also colour’ such as Brow Build Gel (£21), says founder Vanita Parti, MBE. Sales of BBB’s Tweezers (£21) and Brow Scissors (£15, bbb-london.com) are also off the chart. Until the bar can do in-person treatments again it’s offering online consultations to help advise clients how best to shape their brows.
Meanwhile, Edy Kurowska is well known and much sought after for her natural-looking individual eyelash extensions, and after years of hoofing from one client to another had finally opened her own salon near London’s Oxford Circus when, just 14 days later, the country went into the first lockdown.
Rather than become downhearted she decided to use the time to pursue a long-held passion project: create her own range of high-quality but affordable make-up brushes (she started her career as a make-up artist). She began the work in March and by October was taking pre-orders on her Edy London range of 28 brushes (from £8.99, shop.edy.london). They are available in four colours: turquoise (the most popular), yellow, grey and pink. You can get curated sets – which works out slightly cheaper – or buy the brushes you need in the colours you desire. They’re so good – and stylish – that they’re already in demand internationally.
Though Edy did also try to turn her hand to creating strip lashes (false lashes), she found it too tricky to perfect her designs, so is waiting for borders to re-open before she can properly finalise them. Meantime, she’s available for virtual make-up lessons to really make the most of using those brushes. @edwinaingschambers
Beauty assistant: Alice Robertson