On the way to Duck & Dry Islington, I’m filled with ultimate joy when walking down the busy Upper Street on a late Saturday afternoon. Dodging dog walkers, families and uber-cool millennials who are getting their post-lockdown shopping and coffee fix, I could feel the bliss in the air, as though the whole city might lift off the ground with excitement. After what has been a crazy year in lockdown, we’re finally able to enjoy those little luxuries of life – whether it’s shopping, dining, meeting and hugging friends or in my case, getting pampered by someone else.
While many people might have been creating their own beauty salons at home during the pandemic, I focused on trying all the possible crafts and creative hobbies to boost my mood and pass time. From painting, sewing, gardening and candle-making to modelling with clay, all these joy-inducing moments resulted in my hands being neglected and now needing some serious attention before I have to commit to an office dress code once again.
You get it – although my trip to the new Duck & Dry Islington is long overdue, late is always better than never. Nestled on Upper Street yet neatly tucked away from the hustle and bustle in Islington Square (and sandwiched between a florist and artsy pop-up space), it has torn up the salon rulebook with its millennial-worthy aesthetic and plenty of services to make all your beauty dreams come true.
Founded in 2014 by Yulia Rorstrom and combining her passion for beauty with her business background to create a place where everyone can feel their best, Duck & Dry is famous for its relaxed atmosphere – the salon’s ethos is all about creating a social life for your hair – and it brings together the kind of experts and experience you wouldn’t find anywhere else. From blow dries and updos to the most dazzling nail treatments (and yes they do nail art too), it’s the ultimate beauty playground whether you’re getting glammed up for all your post-lockdown plans or just want to experience a wealth of world-class pampering.
Duck & Dry Islington is hard to miss; its colourful interiors pop against the grey concrete pavement walls, while upbeat tunes can be almost seen pulsating through its glass windows. When I enter, I immediately notice the reception-turned-prosecco bar which is a staple Duck & Dry addition and only seconds later I settle in my seat with a glass of bubbly. Praised to be Duck & Dry’s most-instagrammable salon to date, its lively interiors are filled with pastel hues in the form of trailing floral arrangements hanging from the ceiling and piercing neon signs to the velvety seats dispersed around the room.
Although Duck & Dry is famous for its fabulous blowdry and styling treatments, Duck & Dry Islington is also upgraded with a large Nail & File area for manicures and pedicures – and this is exactly what I came for. I’m shown to a long marble table, past egg-shaped mirror pods and a raised bench while Britney Spears’ Gimme More is playing from the speakers and I can’t help but to wish I was here with my friends getting ready for a night out – the multitude of make-up mirrors and selfie lights make this place the ultimate pre-party destination.
After I choose my preferred colour from all those pretty pastel shades, the lovely nail beautician gets to work. The salon isn’t too busy at this hour, so it’s easy to get lost in conversation about music and beauty, plus my glass of bubbles is helping me to be even more comfortable as my nails are soaked in an almond bath, then filled, buffed and painted.
The final touches are what counts and as I look around, I can see towels neatly folded above the basins and shampoo bottles arranged to have the labels facing the front. All Duck & Dry salons use the best-quality products and suppliers, while also producing their own vegan hair product range made in Somerset and infused with the scent of English meadows. When two layers of lovely gel polish are applied, I get to enjoy a quick massage with an almond and honey lotion which smells like pure heaven and makes my hands feel baby soft.
There’s no rush to get me out of the salon, so I tuck into my seat with the rest of the bubbly to finish lip syncing to another millennial hit – this time Where is the love? by Black Eyed Peas – and later snap the finished look in front of the colourful duck pond, of course. As I glance down at my hands, I feel surprisingly rejuvenated, as if I just received a full make-over and countless spa treatments. During this one hour at Duck & Dry Islington I was able to completely camouflage all the signs of my quarantine life, refresh my Instagram feed and soothe my soul – and what’s a better start to a lockdown-free life than this?
To discover more and book your appointment, visit duckanddry.com
All imagery courtesy of Duck & Dry.
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