Knightsbridge's cutting-edge department store hit it out of the ballpark with their latest beauty venture ...
If you've ever had your eyebrows threaded slap-bang in the middle of a busy beauty hall, you'll realise how many department stores fail to get "speedy beauty treatments" right. (Seriously, who wants to lie back in a chair looking up at blinding strip lights, while the whole world and his wife watch the beautician go to work on your monobrow?) Thankfully Harvey Nichols have managed to get it right with the launch of their Beauty Lounge - a dedicated space that's the answer to every time-strapped beauty lover's prayers. In addition to their original beauty halls downstairs, the Beauty Lounge has a more spacious, chilled out vibe (it even has its own entrance on Seville Street, so you don't have to elbow your way through busy Harvey Nichols shoppers to get there). You can come for express treatments (with extended opening hours), attend beauty events and pick out your perfect niche skin cream, lipstick or perfume.
Architects Virgile + Partners have created a space that's an antidote to the usual visual "noise" that department stores are often associated with. Instead it's a peaceful space in which you could happily while away an afternoon. A beauty concierge at the front take appointments; behind them is a waiting area, while further back, Nails Inc. manicurists are sat round a circular work station, busying themselves with clients, as do the nearby stylists for Hershesons Blow Dry bar - all seamlessly integrated with noone looking cramped or harassed.
There's also a mini boutique 'Beyond Beauty' selling niche independent beauty brands. I was pleased to see a few of my favourite underground lines had been cherry picked for the space, from cult lipstick range MDMflow, to OUAI haircare (their Wave Spray is in pretty much every beauty editor's handbag right now) to Iconic London's game-changing foundation brushes (below).
The perfumery is no less stunning - featuring store exclusive Memo Paris (above) - a beautiful niche range that was inspired by the founders' travels - each fragrance is pure wanderlust in a bottle.
During my visit, I tried an "Express LED Rejuvenation Facial" at The Light Salon within the Beauty Lounge, a specialist skincare clinic, who use near-infrared and blue light to repair skin at cellular level. This works to speed up collagen production, leaving skin more plumped and hydrated. It also helps to combat acne too, and with prices starting at £35 it's a relatively cheap pick-me-up for stressed, flagging complexions. They also offer microdermabrasion and hand treatments in collaboration with Nails Inc.
The treatment space is thankfully screened off from the rest of the store, and almost 'pod-like' in shape, with cheery non-clinical decor. You can kick back in one of the easy chairs while a space-age contraption (the LED-emitting apparatus) is poised over your head. A slightly daunting prospect, but the cheery therapist soon put me at ease, warning me that there would be slight discomfort but that she would be in the room with me the entire time and assured me I would have gorgeous, glowing skin for my troubles.
A quick cleanse and make-up removal later, and the LED contraption was placed in front of me (you're offered a mask to shield your eyes from the brightness) and the LED switched on. Aside from slight warmth from the lights, it didn't sting or burn and was definitely among the more relaxing treatments I've tried. My skin definitely felt firmer and smoother several days in - as well as looking more awake. I'd definitely recommend this one as a pre-party/wedding boost to pep up a tired complexion.
With my skin sufficiently "zapped", I spent the rest of the time browsing the gorgeous perfumery and the rest of the beauty space - it really is a treat for anyone fanatical about beauty - and fragrance in particular as the below snaps will attest...
From Serge Lutens, to Shay & Blue, Annick Goutal, Maison Francis Kurkdjian and many more niche gems, you'd be hard-pushed not to find the perfect scent to jazz up your autumn wardrobes. And there's not a pushy "spritzer salesperson" in sight. But if you're feeling slightly stuck, the Beauty Concierge service will help guide you round the different beauty and fragrance lines.
Click here to view the list of treatments available at The Beauty Lounge. Entrance is on Seville Street, Knightsbridge. (Nearest tube is Knightsbridge on the Jubilee Line.)
The Express Beauty Services are available Mon – Sat: 8am – 10pm and Sunday: 11:30am – 6pm
The rest of the Beauty Lounge is open Monday to Saturday: 10am – 9pm and Sunday: 11:30am – 6p
For appointments, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 020 7259 441