Forget fish pedicures – Maggie Davis finds the strangest new therapies in town, from real snakeskin manicures to being cryogenically frozen to help you look your best for the festive season.
1. Pale ale pedicure
Calm down, beer lovers. The only ones boozing during this 90-minute luxury treatment will be your plates of meat, which are immersed in Hooky Gold ale and then given a pressure point massage and sesame seed foot wrap. You will stay sober with a hot malt drink and a healthy barley snack, rather than being seduced by a greasy kebab on the way home, then texting your ex.
£85. Brown’s Hotel, Albemarle St, W1S 4BP. 0207493 6020,www.brownshotel.com
2. Hula Nails body whitening spray
Forget a spray tan, how about a spray whitening? East London salon Hula Nails has just started offering this service where you can be turned a fine shade of porcelain (using body make-up). Already popular with London’s burlesque community, the treatment takes 20 minutes and lasts for just one night. Jacko impersonators, form a queue.
£30. Hula Nails, 203-205 Whitecross St, EC1Y 8QP. 0207253 4453, www.hulanails.com
3. Omorovicza Gold Hydrating Facial
The royalty of facials, this baby involves a copper-enriched lactic acid peel, a slathering of serum containing real gold flakes and a soothing massage, all in the palatial Four Seasons hotel spa. Apparently gold boosts collagen and stimulates blood flow, adding lustre (and lucre) to your mug.
£140. Four Seasons, Hamilton Place, W1J 7DR. 0207319 5480, www.fourseasons.com
4. Beauty acupuncture with ice mask
No need for surgery – Greek beauty supremo John Tsagaris has developed a system of facial rejuvenation which combines acupuncture, shiatsu and reflexology, topped off with a frozen gel mask. All this is supposed to stimulate oxygen supply, help halt wrinkles and leave your skin radiant. As it flipping well should for £225.
First floor, 59 Knightsbridge, SW1X 7RA. 0207235 4676, www.johntsagaris.co.uk
This ancient Chinese treatment, favoured by lovely Gwyneth Paltrow, involves glass cups being heated over a flame and stuck to the skin, thus creating a vacuum. Fans believe this balances ‘qi’ (energy), increases circulation and helps draw toxins from the body. The numerous ailments it’s meant to aid include asthma, sciatica, and, erm, blocked colons. You might get (temporary) ring marks.
From £75. The Canary Wharf Clinic, 51 Cannon Workshops, E14 4AS. 07748901873, www.londonacupuncturespace.com
6. Bio Sculpture Snake Skin Manicure
Ever wished you looked more reptilian? Nope, us neither. But in this treatment, a thin layer of snakeskin – yes, real snakeskin, shed from live snakes and ethically sourced – is applied to the nails before a layer of UV coating. You can then choose one of 170 colours so you can have serpentine talons to match those faux-snakeskin stilettos.
£200 for a full set. The Hand and Foot Spa, 153 Fulham Rd, SW3 6SN. 0207589 1070, www.handandfootspa.co.uk
7. Maiko Adzuki Bean Radiant Facial
Chi Yu offers Japanese-inspired treatments including earacupuncture, craniosacral therapy and reflexology. Its adzuki bean facial is meant to be good for those with acne and sensitive skin – the crushed beans are ace at buffing away dead cells to leave you radiant and fresh-looking. Plus your leftover face mask should provide the base for a tasty stew afterwards.
£94. Chi Yu, 36 George St, W1U 7DR. 0207486 0304, www.chi-yu.co.uk
Favoured by rugby players to help soothe aching muscles and brains, Whole Body Cryotherapy (WBC) is used to treat chronic inflammatory conditions like osteoarthritis. It involves stepping into a chamber whose temperature is between -80C and -120C. Kick-starting the immune system, it leaves you fighting fit, looking radiant and feeling strangely euphoric. Though perhaps that’s the high you get from not actually freezing to death.
From £50 for two sessions. The Garden Hospital, 46-50 Sunny Gardens Rd, NW4 1RP. 0203651 1488, www.cryoclinics.co.uk
9. Lomi Lomi Hawaiian massage
Not for the fainthearted, this intense full-body massage involves the practitioner using their whole frame – arms, hands and entire weight – to apply pressure in the form of a continuous stroking motion. It helps boost your circulation levels, leaving you feeling invigorated, and in no way feels like a wrestling-style takedown. Probably.
£140. The Hale Clinic, 7 Park Crescent, W1B 1PF. 020631 0156, www.haleclinic.com
10. Bee-venom mask
Beauty therapist Deborah Mitchell decided, in the quest for perfect skin, that plain old honey wasn’t potent enough, so she added bee venom to her face masks. Apparently, when combined with nutrient-rich manuka honey, it helps tighten facial tone. Avoid watching horror classic ‘The Swarm’ while using. Or Macaulay Culkin in ‘My Girl’ (this is more of a general tip).
£75 to buy and apply yourself. www.nutribeautyproducts.com