The last time I was at Duck and Dry was in 2014 during my visit to London, the first time coming home since I had graduated and moved to Asia. In ‘celebration’, my mother told me about this place in Chelsea where you could get an amazing blow-dry and a glass of prosecco in a pretty, quaint salon. So off we went one afternoon for a girl’s day out. Fast forward to the beginning of 2017 and Duck and Dry expands into the West End. The new salon is kitted out with a nail bar run by Nailed It, plush salmon pink sofas and blow dry stations that resemble futuristic eggs. A sweeping space and a friendly concierge greet customers as they ascend the stairs leading up from the busy streets of the Market Place. Almost as if it were made to be photographed, there’s a swing bench that wouldn’t look out of place at Marie Antoinette’s lodge at Versailles. Although not as ‘cosy’ as the Chelsea branch, the location just three minutes walk from Oxford Circus station feels as if you’re popping over to your friend’s flat to get ready for a night out. Had I still been living in my little student flat round the corner, you can bet this is where I’d be every week.
After a thorough hair wash, the stylist and I had a little chat about what kind of style would best suit me. Although there is a lookbook, I sometimes find that too many options can be a little overwhelming. I have permed hair that means that whenever it’s washed and dried, it holds a loose natural looking wave. Here I was looking for something more polished that definitively said ‘I’ve had my hair done’. Otherwise, what’s the point of visiting a professional?
A blow dry here costs £32, the typical rate for this service at a top-salon in London but what set Duck and Dry apart was the friendly conversation, the attentiveness to my hair type and how long the big bouncy curls that we had decided on actually lasted! As impressive as freshly done hair looks, how it unfurls days after is something that I look for. I totally believe that a great blow-dry should last around 3-4 days and this passed the test – I was still getting compliments days after I visited the salon.
Whilst I was there, I also had the opportunity to sample the nail bar. I opted for a full manicure with Shellac and suffered magpie syndrome as I was horribly distracted by all of the glitters behind the manicurists.Thrilled to discover that in Nailed It’s magical box of goodies, there were glitters and powders capable of transforming my tiny children-sized fingers (I should really get a special rate for how little nail is available to paint haha) into ‘mermaid’ hands (£40) or the stubbornly on-trend chrome nails (£50).
The girl next to me opted for the first type of nail art with a peach base, topped with the most incredibly iridescent overlay. It was a total you-had-to-be-there moment to fully appreciate how beautiful it was – or you could just go and get them done yourself. Like, I don’t know what kind of goals you have in life but this manicure would make My Little Pony envious, and that’s a pretty impressive achievement.
I chose a rose gold ‘mirror’ effect for my nails so that I wouldn’t have to keep using my Iphone to see my reflection (joking). A typical gel manicure would last up to a month, even with mine in its brittle condition. Although Shellac is a lot more gentle and therefore seen as ‘healthier’, it lasts much shorter – about a week and a half. I’ve had the mirror/chrome nails done before and as impressive as they are, the layer of powder that’s rubbed over the UV-cured gel is the first to chip or rub off and it was no different in this situation. Whether it’s still worth choosing over a simple, classic colour is completely up to the individual; I like changing up my nails every so often or leaving them natural so for it’s the ideal option for me.
Duck and Dry is a firm staple in any city girl’s little black book of beauty and is set to stay, with their own range of products produced in Somerset and two ideal locations in London. I’m looking forward to what they have planned next!