To put the fate of your appearance in the hands of another takes a lot of trust. I’ve been to some inexperienced beauticians in my time and come out with clumpy lashes, botched brows and messy manicures. But when you find your ‘forever tech’, it’s a real thing of beauty, pardon the pun.
In Staffordshire, I have found four fabulous women to look after my hair, skin, nails and brows – each working from gorgeously Instagrammable salons. They’re skilful, knowledgeable and deliver amazing results at every appointment.
From 24k gold jelly masks to blue brow lamination – these are four Staffordshire salons to book in, and what treatment to get.
Leanne Haycock Nail Artist
Set inside Altar, on Hanley’s bustling Piccadilly, Leanne Haycock Nail Artist is the only place I trust to do my nails. Leanne has been doing my nails since August 2019 and this girl is the absolute queen of claws. I’ve been to a lot of nail techs in my time, which have left my nails battered after acrylics or peeling and chipping after a week, but since visiting Leanne, my nails have never been in better health. My stubby little nailbeds have both strengthened and lengthened thanks to regular treatments, and education about the best aftercare.
I get a builder gel treatment with silver nail art, which costs just under £50 – but there are also more affordable, and more expensive options, depending on what you’re looking for.
Leanne has an amazing range of The Gel Bottle and Glossify colours, and is really proactive in helping choose shades and designs. I have my own The Gel Bottle box with my name on it, where Leanne keeps all of my nail files. As nail techs can only use a file on one person, I love this sustainable idea instead of constantly throwing away disposable files.
I leave the salon after every appointment claiming that this set is my favourite. Leanne’s attention to detail and design skills are second to none – that’s why she was shortlisted for The Gel Bottle Nail Tech of the Year after less than two years working in the industry.
Bronze and Beautyful
Bronze and Beautyful is one of the most Instagrammable salons in Staffordshire, located inside Slater’s Village, near Newcastle. I’d expect nothing less than total extravagance from lovely Lauren Lily Lea – who also runs her own blog.
The tropical themed salon offers a range of beauty treatments, including tanning, lashes, nails, brows and skin and body treatments. Just being in the salon felt like being on holiday! I love Lauren’s luxury dermaplaning facial, which makes me feel so fresh. I’ve had two in the past 12 months, both straight after lockdowns, and it felt like I’d had the dullness of the pandemic literally scraped away.
The facial uses a scalpel to remove the fine hairs and dead skin cells, leaving behind a super smooth surface. The luxe treatment uses a number of Dermaquest products, and Lauren also very kindly tackled some of my blocked pores and blackheads, which I really suffer with. My favourite part of the treatment is the jelly face mask – these feel so strange the first time you use them, but are equally incredibly satusfying. As the mask sets, you get an arm and hand massage, which just makes the whole experience so relaxing.
For days following the facial, I felt absolutely glowing and so many people commented on how nice my skin looked. It was amazing going from dry, dull, flaky skin, to a flawless, dewy complexion on which makeup applies so much better than usual.
Melanie Eardley opened Altar in 2018 – two weeks before walking down the aisle to the alter herself! I’ve never been to a hair salon where I’ve felt like I’m in a second home until now. I’ve been to over a dozen salons, never quite being happy with the service, prices or hairdresser – let’s not talk about the full fringe I had put in in 2013. When I began working in Hanley in 2019, popping around the corner from the office to Altar after work was a real convenience, but it’s Mel’s service and the finish of the cut that keeps me going.
My cut and finish costs £30, and Mel makes it feel like you’ve popped around to your best mates for a brew. The waiting area has a stunning dried floral art instillation by Wilderness Floral Design, with a little pink velvet sofa in a little snug like area. A cup of tea/coffee or a glass of water is always offered, as well as a chocolate biscuit or two – in pre-covid appointments, of course. Then it’s on to the washbasin for a double shampoo and head massage, before heading to the chair for a chinwag and a trim.
I have a pretty simple, one length cut on uncoloured hair, and Mel is more than happy to curl my hair before I leave the salon. She uses some amazing products, and my hair always feels healthy, glossy and bouncy after my visit. The salon is so bright and airy, and being independent with just a handful of chairs makes it a really relaxed experience, rather than a chain where there are seven hairdryers on and it feels like hairdressers are rushing people out of the door to get the next client in.
Rebecca Lawson Nails and Beauty
Based upstairs at Hassell House Hairdressing, in Newcastle, is Rebecca Lawson Nails and Beauty, who has been laminating my brows for around 18 months. Brow lamination with Becky costs £25, and I go every 8-12 weeks. She keeps her prices low because she stongly believes ‘everyone should be able to afford being pampered’.
The brow lamination treatment is essentially a perm to make your eyebrows look thicker, fuller and fluffier, and also includes a tint. As someone with white, bushy brows, brow lamination totally transforms my face and gives me so much more confidence, also saving on makeup application time, as all you have to do for the duration of the lamination is brush them daily.
Before Christmas, I went for my regular brow treatment and added on a neck and shoulder massage, as I’d been struggling with knots and tension. Becky did my brows first so that I could relax after, putting on a soothing playlist and working on my shoulders – which had really tightened whilst working from home.
After lockdown three, Becky introduced an amazing offer where you could book a ‘gold’ treatment, and receive a ‘silver’ treatment for 50% off, and a ‘bronze’ treatment for free. Gold treatments included a full set of acrylics, full body massagee, luxury dermaplane, tailored facial or luxury pedi, with silver treatments being an indian head massage, back, neck and shoulder massage, brow lamination, gel polish, basic facial or eye package, and bronze consisting of nail art, brow tint, lash tint, lip wax, chin wax, brow wax or ear candling.
I went for a full body massage, brow lamination and lash tint, which came to £52.50. Becky did my brows and lashes first, which made a world of difference to my face. My lashes and brows are naturally white, and so, having them tinted, and my brows laminated, really defines my facial features. Then I relaxed with a full body massage and left the salon with a spring in my step feeling lighter, fresher and as though the lockdown blues had melted away.