Hanging out with girlfriends? Life enhancing. Getting a beauty treatment: ditto. Combine the two and it’s about as much fun as you can have (without the involvement of Ryan Gosling or Eddie Redmayne).
Bonding over beauty treatments isn’t new; think girls getting their weaves done in Kingston Town or a bridal party being henna-ed before an Indian wedding. What is new is that salons and spas are catering specifically for get-togethers - making sure there is space to hang out, that treatment chairs are near enough to each other to allow for gossiping and ensuring there is a suitably female friendly menu.
And then there is the business of beauty. Forget the traditionally male domains of golf courses and boozers; spas and salons are where women are getting deals done. Want to lure a busy woman to a meeting? Offer to talk shop over a manicure or join her for a workout. It’s perfect for type As who don’t have hours (or calories) to waste over lunch.
Taking it to the extreme, Lena Dunham and Lady Gaga both celebrated their birthdays not with cocktails, canapés and the obligatory loathsome hangover but with a spin class at the ultra hip SoulCycle in NYC. Keeping it clean indeed. As one fashion industry type says of her ‘beauty bonding‘ meetings: ‘It’s perfect – you don’t have to get drunk or fat.’
The Best Beauty Bonding Hangouts
1) Meet your mates for a manicure at Chanel’s new beauty boutique in Covent Garden. While the upstairs is crammed with perfume and products, head down the spiral staircase to the nail bar, where, surrounded by giant varnish bottles you can have nails overhauled or your make-up done side by side. The best bit? The fees are redeemable against purchase. Nail shape and paint, £30.
2) A free make-up lesson. With your mates. At Bobbi Brown. From a five minute ‘Bronze Glow’ session to 45 minute ‘Pretty Powerful’ tutorial they’re all based on Bobbi’s pro tricks for making you look great. Available nationwide, but book ahead. Perfect before a big night out. www.bobbibrown.co.uk
3) There is nothing more transformative that a good brow shape. Combine this with a girl’s night in and the joy factor is through the roof. Enter Blink’s Secret Service. They’ll visit your pad and work their magic on your face framers. Oh, and they’ll do lashes and massage too. From £150, call 0207 409 1948.
4) If your chic friend is allergic to the term ‘hen do’ but craves some pre-wedding pampering, head to Espa Life at Corinthia. One of the best spas in London, it has a subterranean pool, decadent relaxation areas, and a state of the art gym. Sip champagne, then steam, sauna and swim and chat over two-course lunch. Book the Perfect Preparation (£370pp) which includes a body scrub, lift and firm facial, eyelash tint, eyebrow shape and advanced mani. Not an L plate in sight. www.corinthia.com
5) For the price of a boozy evening in Pizza Express you can get together with your mates and perfect the art of a blow-dry, updo or the perfect pony. Headmasters run a series of masterclasses (£45 per 45 minute class) to help you get a handle on your hair. Everyone gets their own stylist and the salon will give you chairs next to each other for maximum chat. www.headmasters.com
6) Forget pubs and clubs, for Liverpudlian lasses the Beauty Bazaar at Harvey Nichols has become the place to hang out. Reconnect while getting your brows perfected, chat over pedis and then get a side by side blow-dry, finishing in the ultra luxe Champagne bar. Heaven. www.harveynichols.com