Leeds-List: The Best & Most Insightful Guide to Leeds

RMUK

As lockdown begins to ease, everyone is focused on helping visitors come back to Leeds city centre safely and this handy guide has everything from safety measures to car parking. Plan your trip. Plan your trip.

From indulgent treatments to long-overdue trims, the city’s hair and beauty salons are back in business with a flurry of new safety measures.

Let’s face it, beauty has taken a bit of a backseat over the past few months, but now that the city has reopened, our favourite salons are prepped and ready for action, so that glorious pamper you’ve been dreaming of can become a reality once again. Whether it’s a much-needed haircut, a sparkling set of nails or a full-blown indulgent treatment, these Leeds salons are working harder than ever to keep you safe as well as snipped, styled and soothed. So without further ado, here’s what to expect from your next visit.

Ambassador Barbering

Quality cuts, impeccable trims, fresh shaves and even beard makeovers – this Leeds barbershop is mighty proud of what they do and rightly so. Bridging the gap between luxury hairdressing and traditional barbers, their talented team tackle all manner of hairstyles with passion and precision. They’re pretty darn friendly too! Put your music request in, tell them what style you’re after and let the transformation commence.

Keeping their offerings concise with just four specialised services means they’re total pros at what they do – no exceptions. You can opt for a cut and style, a clipper cut, a hot towel shave treatment or, their most popular service, the beard sculpt. Yep, if you want to revamp the hair on your face as well as the hair on your noggin, this option will have you feeling full-face fantastic in no time. Move over, Brian Blessed.

The exemplary customer care at Ambassador Barbering means they’ve always been appointment only, and now you have a whole 40 minutes to enjoy the experience with total peace of mind. With new guidelines in place, you can be confident they’re donning visors, maintaining social distance, sanitising everything in sight and keeping at least five minutes between each customer to make sure everything stays spick and span.

“We’re really taking the hygiene of the place seriously,” Josh Waite, Owner of Ambassador Barbering, told us. “We’re anti-baccing everything and sanitising all our tools thoroughly – and we’re doing so in front of the customers, making sure that they can visually see us doing that, so we’re leaving nothing to the imagination.”

Ambassador Barbering, Unit 54a Upper Balcony, Merrion Centre, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS2 8NG.

RMUK

If you’re looking for a pamper session with all the bells and whistles, this three-storey hair and beauty salon will have you sinking back into bliss in no time at all. With 45 years in the biz, RMUK sure know how to treat their customers and by jove they weren’t going to let COVID-19 put a pin in that. Hair cuts and colouring, nails, waxing, facials, massages – they do it all, and brilliantly. They even have a private, south-facing rooftop terrace to chill out on between treatments!

Going all out is something of a trademark for RMUK and they’ve applied the same rigorous approach to their new safety measures. “We’ve gone above and beyond what the Government guidelines asked us to do in terms of the policies and procedures we’ve put in place,” Massi Moura, Technical Director at RMUK, explained. “We’re very lucky that we have a really big space, so we’re still using the two-metre rule in the salon – our clients sit approximately two and a half metres away from each other.”

The waiting area has been transformed into a colour processing pod, a diligent half-hour sanitisation schedule is in place, and you get your very own welcome pack on arrival with freshly laundered and disposable gowns. Even the hair washing stations have been turned into protect pods, so you can sit with confidence as they wash and condition your hair. Pretty plush, right?

They want you to feel safe as well as spoilt. Perspex screens, disposable couch covers, PPE-laden staff and oodles of hand sanitisers – they’ve got it all. But perhaps the most special feature is their totally private salon area. Usually reserved for clients who require a little extra privacy, it can now be requested by anyone who is especially vulnerable due to underlying health conditions. No one should miss out on feeling good, and they’ve done their darnedest to make sure no one does.

RMUK, 57 Great George Street, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 3BB.

Nailista

Variety is the name of the game at the Nailista beauty bar in Leeds. No matter your age, gender, mood or style, there’s a treatment for everyone on their extensive menu. Want a manicure or pedicure? No problem, they’ve got six different types of each! Whether you’re nipping in on your lunch break for a swift file and polish, or fancy the whole shebang with massage, cuticle removal, hot mitts and more, they’ve got you sorted.

But it’s not just your nails that can get a much-needed makeover. After a recent rebrand, you’re positively spoilt for choice. As well as all those lovely nail treatments, you can choose from three different types of permanent lashes, hot and strip wax for hair removal, HD brows, two different types of facial (with premium Dermatologica products, of course), the list goes on! Quite frankly, you’re likely to walk out feeling brand new.

There’s no scrimping on the safety measures here either. You’ll find screens at the manicure stations, staff masked from the moment you begin your treatment, plus extra masks on hand in case you leave yours at home. Each talented technician has their own dedicated station to reduce cross-contamination and to ensure every inch of the salon is kept spotless. They even stagger their break times so their private staff room is never too busy – talk about careful.

Considering how much effort has gone into protecting you, the process is incredibly simple. “If they’ve got an appointment, I’ll bring you in and ask you to sanitise your hands as soon as you walk through the door. Then I’ll take you over to the nail desk where the therapist will be sat waiting for you. And then, because obviously you’ll touch the chair, you’ll be asked to sanitise again when you sit down, so you can have the treatment done,” Megan Matthews, Receptionist at Nailista, told us.

Nailista, 5 Duncan Street, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 6DQ.

Russell Eaton

A one-stop-shop for all your hair and beauty needs, Russell Eaton’s epic 4,000-square-foot salon in the heart of the city is famous for its care. A family-run independent, they’re veritable hair gurus. Of course they’ll give your barnet the love it deserves with an expert cut, colour or restyle, but they also offer special services like hair loss consultations and wig personalisation. You name it, if it’s hair-related, they can do it. Plus beauty treatments like nails and waxing too.

It’s a personal touch that continues to benefit post-lockdown. The same skilled staff are on hand to take care of you, but now they have an additional consideration – the longevity of your treatment. They know how important it is to create a look that continues to look great as it grows, and that’s precisely what they’ll do. Got a little snip-happy or dye-daring during lockdown? Their no judgement policy means you can save your blushes and just relax into being restored to your former glory.

From booking your appointment to leaving on cloud nine, they’ve considered safety every step of the way. Social distancing is a breeze with 40% fewer chairs and there’s no expense spared on the PPE. Biodegradable single-use towels, gowns and gloves don’t just keep you safe, but offer a sustainable long-term solution too. It’s no less than you’d expect from a salon with such a high reputation for quality.

“We’re just trying our best to make sure we operate in a way that really explains everything we’re doing from a safety perspective, so people feel really comfortable about it,” Robert Eaton, Creative Director at Russell Eaton, told us. “And we’re doing virtual consultations too, which is a great opportunity to chat to a new client or an existing client and see what they’ve done without – then there are no shocks when people come into the salon and we’ve got the right amount of time allocated to do the work that needs to be done.”

Russell Eaton, 4-6 Boar Lane, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 6EN.

Mint

With six salons, 100 therapists and over 20 years’ experience, Mint has blossomed into one of the greatest beauty salons in the north – yet they’ve still retained their independence. It’s the best of both worlds. Run by a husband-and-wife team with a background in beauty, they’re small enough to make every visit feel special, yet large enough to offer the support of a bigger business. It’s a unique balance that’s proved invaluable over the last few months.

The professional beauty standards they’ve always held dear haven’t changed one bit. You can relish the same high-quality treatments they’re famed for like signature Mint manicures and pedicures, a full range of waxing, plus state-of-the-art brows and lashes. They even offer a vegetable-based brow tint that doesn’t require a patch test beforehand! And now, they’ve applied that same passion for quality and detail to keeping their salon as safe as can be.

“We’re constantly following Government guidelines, which change by the day,” Kathryn Wood, Managing Director of Mint, explained. “We’ve worked extremely hard to try to make sure we follow all the guidelines and take it, we believe, a step further. We believe that as leaders in our industry, we should set a precedent for everybody else and lead by example, and hopefully, our customers will realise that.”

They’ve halved their work stations, trained staff so you’re guided every step on the way during your visit, and provided plenty of PPE, so there’s always a screen, visor or mask between you and your therapist. They even take their employees’ temperature every day before work! Getting ready to welcome you back has been a huge investment and it’s taken the whole summer to prepare for, but going the extra mile for their customers is in their nature.

Mint, 3 Ambler House, Trevelyn Square, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 6EN.