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Sunday, 16 July 2017

Best at-home beauty services for mamas

The old days: you had a big party/wedding/work do coming up and you wanted to treat yourself, so you popped out for a mani/blow dry/make-up. On the day, you had a long bath, did a face pack, slathered on the fake tan.. and felt fab.

Nowadays: you're a mama, 'me time' is no one pulling your hand/yelling questions at you whilst you do a wee. Pampering has got to be a bit different..

Which is why the blast of new at-home beauty apps and services are the answer. I've tested out a handful now; the gist is the same - call or download an app, book a service (hair, make-up, nails, massage, waxing, tanning: all covered) and the therapist turns up at your home, with towels, all the equipment (and even atmospheric candles at the top end of the market..!), do their magic, clear up, and leave.

The upside? It takes only the time that the treatment takes - no Tube / parking / waiting around, so you can squeeze it into a naptime or evening - and there's no need for childcare. It's super convenient, so doable the night before a holiday / party etc.

There aren't many downsides, but it can be less relaxing. My newborn once started crying loads during an at-home mani, he wasn't calming down with my husband, so I bought him in for a cuddle and feed during my pedi. But the therapist was so kind and relaxed about it, that it wasn't an issue at all.

I've tried a whole bunch of at-home beauty apps - you'll have to check availability as some are specific to London (or even certain London zones) - but these are the ones I've found the best:

* Prettly

My favourite app as it's one of the easiest to use, and it sent helpful reminders ahead of time and on the day of my booking - invaluable with my current knackered mumbrain forgetting everything. I booked a gel mani/pedi (£70) and bang-on-time, Natalie arrived at 8pm and got her salon-level kit (including top polish brands like CND Shellac and OPI) ready for my sofa-based pedi. 

Everything was super-hygenic (she bought her own disposable towels, foot spa insert and more, and even a bin bag to take it all away), swift and relaxing - except my newborn wouldn't stop crying all evening. Luckily, though, Natalie was happy to pause to wait for me to settle him, and even did one set of nails whilst I held him in my other hand - the whole experience was really flexible and chilled, and much easier than trying to squeeze in an escape to a salon. Even better, Prettly have offered ROOW readers a huge 50% off any first booking (expires 1 November 2017 and only valid for first bookings) - just quote discount code N-LUCY when you book.

* Blossom & Jasmine

Only a few hours after I'd booked B&J's mani and spa pedicure, smiling therapist Krasimira was at my door at 8pm on a summer's evening, tugging an insanely-organised mini suitcase and swiftly draping her towels on my table and filling up a nail bath and foot spa with hot water. Everything was super-hygenic, polished were OPI and Essie (although the colour choice wasn't salon-huge, there were at least 30 options) and both the hand and foot massage were insanely good and had me making a mental note to re-book for an at-home massage. 

(The company also works in offices, for hen dos, parties etc.) But this way, you don't have to hobble home in flip-flops hoping you won't smudge the polish - because you're already there.
Pedi+snoozing baby
Ten whole days on, my toes remain coral pink, and my manicure has seriously only just started chipping, despite not opting for gel polish. Plus, this was the time when my baby, er, wanted to get involved - Krasimira was happy to wait whilst I settled him, but in the end we whispered our way through the rest of the treatment as he snoozed in my arms. B&J was set up by celebrity beauty therapist Gintare Lisauskiene, whose pedigree includes spells at Harrods, Selfridges and Bliss spas, and it shows - I can't wait to rebook. 
* Blow Ltd

One of the biggest on the market, Blow has a seriously pro new app, and a huge range of services. I opted for make-up and hair (£69); and bang-on-time on a Sunday morning, Xana was at my door, this time with two suitcases (one hair, one make-up). In just over an hour, she'd tonged and twisted my hair into a wedding-ready up do AND covered my Ikea blue sack-sized eye bags up and expertly applied my make-up. It was so much less stressful than my usual whack-it-on make-up session with babes around my ankles trying to copy me, and it looked great and stayed up (and on) until midnight, when I slumped into bed with even bigger eye bags..! 
Just as speedily as she'd arrived, Xana swept out of the house leaving me wedding-ready and so relaxed. Blow Ltd also has two salons, in Covent Garden and Canary Wharf, for rapid blow dries and more, but with everything this easy, the app and at-home convenience won me over.

* Uspaah

When I tried out Uspaah's at-home massage service, the chance to relax in my own home was almost as appealing as 12 hours of uninterrupted sleep. Its therapists are all certified and security background-checked to ensure their safety, and in central London they promise to be with you within the hour. 

Seconds after mine arrived he had set up his own own massage table, Aroma Works oils and an iPhone of spa muzak. There was even a Ferrero Roche left on my table to enjoy at the end of the treatment - and you don't get that at the average spa. An hour's massage costs £70.

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