We all deserve a little bit of pampering every now and then.
There was a time when I’d have considered a trip to a beauty salon both a little indulgent, and generally reserved exclusively for Towie-wannabes. I think I’d just not come across the right salon before. And now, now I most definitely have!
Smuk is a new breed of salon championing beauty, inside and out, which doesn’t just apply to people but the whole salon experience, from the staging of the interior environment to the eco credentials of the products used, the range of organic refreshments offered and overall sense of ambience and wellbeing.
Opened in Belgravia in March 2018 by Danish entrepreneur Miabella Ristorp, who has over 15 years experience on the international beauty scene, Smuk has been designed to offer a unique space that customers can trust for all their beauty needs, with a focus on the natural look and sustainability. That last part is key for me, as someone who has always associated beauty salons with layers of cake-like make-up, garishly long talons, big hair-dos and you’ve-been-tango’d tans!
I was introduced to Smuk via a chance meeting at one of my favourite london design destinations, Skandium, so knew this was going to be a very different type of salon experience even before I set foot in the space.
As you enter the wonderful world of Smuk you’re immediately immersed in a Scandinavian design lover’s dream; a light and airy space filled with sleek modern classics from Danish design brand Menu, including Anita Johansen’s Align daybed, Rotterdam-based Studio WM’s String lounge chair and Theresa Arns’ Septembre sofa.
While you recline in the hyggeligt waiting area, surrounded by an abundance of beautiful coffee table books, tea and coffee are offered up in beautifully tactile ceramic cups by Copenhagen-based potter Ditte Fischer, in a range of gentle pastel hues. This is certainly a place you can imagine happily spending plenty of time, quietly waiting for your colour to take, your nails to dry, or a friend to finish their treatment.
I’d been invited along to have my nails done – something I’ve only ever treated myself to a handful of times in my life (pun probably not intended).
Smuk use Kure Bazaar nail lacquer for their manicures and pedicures; an eco-natural formula that uses up to 85% natural materials, including wood pulp, wheat, cotton, potatoes and corn. Beautifully presented on two three-tier slate stands, there are a wide range of shades to choose from – including a few more outlandish ones for the daring amongst you (hello Carioca!) – with many centring around the perfect shade of red for different skin tones, as well as various nudes. Whereas I usually end up opting for the only vaguely neutral shade on offer, I thought I’d push the boat out for once and instead chose a wonderfully named shade of dark red: Scandal.
I’m not entirely sure how I’ve not ended up with a better photo of my finished nails than the one below (snapped against insidestore‘s gorgeous Charlie Oscar Patterson mural), but let me assure you they looked great, and the colour lasted almost an entire week – far longer than I’ve managed to sustain a manicure before without chipping!
I’m definitely keen to head back soon to try one of the other beauty treatments on offer at smuk, which include hair treatments, massages, facials, acupuncture, waxing and tanning. All of their services are designed to enhance your own natural beauty, using natural, toxin-free products from brands such as Vita Liberata, Oribe, Amazing Space and Kjaer Weis.
How often do you treat yourself to beauty treatments at a salon?
I’ve been trying to shift my mindset lately and genuinely carve out more time in my schedule for looking after myself, and consider the financial cost of beauty treatments in terms of the nourishment and wellbeing value they add, and not simply discarding them as a frivolous, unnecessary indulgence. I’m definitely more inclined to spend money on massage and other overall body treatments that promote relaxation having experienced the benefits in recent months, and while i’m probably not going to start treating myself to regular manicures (because i can reasonably adequately paint my own nails), I’m intrigued to try a proper pedicure next, because – shock horror, all my friends were utterly amazed – I’ve never actually had one before!
So, better get my next trip to Smuk booked in, stat!
→Smuk London, 20-21 Eccleston Yards, London SW1W
My manicure at Smuk was provided free-of-charge for the purpose of this review, however all thoughts and opinions are, as always, my own. All photography © Kate Baxter.