Your top-to-toe guide to party season treatments

Beauty editor Madeleine Spencer on the best treatments to help you survive silly season

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Your top-to-toe guide to party season treatments
Madeleine Spencer28 November 2023

There are two reasons that now is an especially good time to book in for a raft of beauty treatments: to help you prep for festivities and to help you recover from festivities. Some treatments on my list do one or the other, many, happily, will do both.

Before I share my address book of the very best going (and, yes, I’ve tried and relied on every single one), I must add a word of warning: book in advance. Sadly but rightly, many of these spots are no longer the secrets they once were and therefore you can’t just stroll in mid-Christmas shop and get a quick pedi as I used to at the New Cavendish Street branch of Margaret Dabbs. What heady times they were.

Finally, a few general tips for fellow assiduous partiers and groomers: massages while hungover are bleak, acupuncture really helps kick an incipient cold, and you will never ever regret a good facial. 

Now, let’s start at the toes and make our way up, shall we?

The pedicure to end all pedicures

There is only one place I go for "proper" pedicures (ie, not just a coat of paint): Margaret Dabbs. There, a qualified podiatrist will make your feet look nice and the practices are all hygienic and good for foot health. Don’t yawn – this means that not only will your feet look great but that they will be happier when you cram them into vertiginous heels and expect them to carry your stumbling form home after many a drink. 

Medical pedicures from £90;

Margaret Dabbs
Margaret Dabbs

The king of tans

Unquestionably the man to see for a tan if you’re getting skin out on display is James Harknett, who you’ll find at the Away Spa in the W Hotel. He will talk to you about what you consider a lovely tan and then execute it perfectly using Three Warriors Natural & Organic Fake Tan. A slew of celebrities also adore James, from Kate Beckinsale, who relies on him when in town for her honeyed hue without the ravages of a real suntan, to David Gandy who, come to think of it, I’ve never seen look pasty.

Price on application;

James Harknett

The zone-out massage

The problem with going out a lot combined with all this darkness is that the body clock is completely thrown off, meaning sleep can be interrupted and of poor quality. I recently realised the answer to this is the odd Urban massage enjoyed in the comfort of my home before drifting upstairs to have some superior sleep. A little advice: hoover before they arrive. This is not for their benefit but for yours; I once had to ask if I could remove a piece of floor fluff in my field of vision through the hole in the table and I don’t wish this for you.

Massage from £59;


… and the one to wake you up

Go to Chi Yu. This little spot in Marylebone might not look much from the outside, but what they do on the inside is remarkable. Book "integrated therapy", which sounds vague but means you hand your bedraggled body over to them and they do a combination of whatever you need from the following list: aromatherapy, acupuncture, craniosacral, acupressure, reflexology and massage. I have never left not feeling excellent and would heavily encourage this spot if you’re flagging.

Integrated therapy from £90;

For an inner boost

There is only so far external things can go and if you need more – something more potent, something in the very blood running through your veins – you need have a drip. Go somewhere good, please, like Get a Drip, where they check your vital stats prior and remain with you throughout. I find anything with some vitamin C in is helpful during the darkest days of winter partying, but they will ask you questions and you should probably just get what they suggest. 

IV Drips from £100;

Townhouse 'Last Christmas' manicure

The jazzy mani

I’m a terrible bore when it comes to nails. Paint them in a glossy black, nude, grey, or red and I’m happy. But sometimes a little fun is required, and no time is better than Christmas for a bit of nail artistry. This is where Townhouse excels, offering a comprehensive menu of cute additions to the basic clean nail I so enjoy but with a specific Christmas collection. The Last Christmas polka dots are very sweet and I will be begging them to add them in nail paint this year (I can’t wear gels as I find my nails become puny under them but if you're a gel person, go for it). 

Festive collection manicure + gel, £67;

The Light Salon

The facials that’ll sort out your skin

I will be specific here because it is vital you get this bit right and you need to go to specific people to handle skin properly. I will always suggest Pam and Mortar and Milk, Jasmina Vico and Debbie Thomas for excellent facials, but I suspect their books are already full because that is the nature of being a celebrity facialist. Instead I am going to tell you about two brands I trust to rectify skin that’s gone awry: The Light Salon and Skinwork. The former, as the name suggests, revolves around administering light be it soothing or anti-bacterial or both alongside a good solid facial, the other is a spot where they offer a variety of very sound facials. A note in general: steam is not your skin’s friend for various reasons, including that it makes it vascular, so wherever I go, I always ask for them to forgo this step.

The non-invasive face lift, £105;

Facials from £130;

The Skinwork facial

The eyelash maven I send all my friends to

Teresa Smith's studio in a old and picturesque alley near Covent Garden is packed full of lash paraphernalia. You name the type of lift, the size of roller, the issue you have (including lashes wanting to point in different directions), and she has a tool for it and a breadth of knowledge on it. I leave every time with perfect, fluttery lashes but, more impressively, they drop steadily and neatly a few months later because Teresa doesn’t overprocess (meaning you don’t end up with a mad spidery bend but rather a smooth swoop). You will be amazed at how much faster make-up is, and how much less you use, when your lashes are utter perfection.

Lash lifts from £99;

Gielly Green
Gielly Green

The blow dry with a clever add-on

If I could just have a single treatment before going out-out, a blow dry would be it. Nothing makes me feel better than having long ropes of shiny hair artfully arranged around my face. Well, I thought nothing made me feel better, until I went to Gielly Green. There, they washed and styled my hair using the A-list-approved brand Augustinus Bader and, while I was lying over the hair wash sink, asked if I’d like some Bader eye patches too. I’d recommend you say yes. I did, and my eyes were promptly made less puffy, more hydrated and much less tired while my hair was turned into the mane I currently favour. 

Blow dries from £49, with an Augustinus Bader eye patch addition £17;