London's Best Beauty Shop, Space NK
Most intense love affairs tend to be fleeting. But my love affair with Space NK, which began back in late 2006, has only grown and intensified with time.
I discovered this brilliant beauty shop early into my London life, when I lived not too far from the Kensington Church Street branch. I'd just accepted my first serious job and was living in a wild and wonderful five-bed flatshare, doing my best to adult (which was not even a trendy phrase back then) and make ends meet.
But somehow I always managed to save just enough of my paycheck to take a monthly trip to my beloved Space NK and treat myself to whatever beauty item I was coveting desperately that particular season.
I fell in love with this wonderful London beauty shop for its oh-so-sophisticated feel (all white interiors, beautifully crafted displays, well-versed sales associates) and its collection of relatively unknown and niche brands. This was still a beauty world without the likes of Cult Beauty and Birchbox, so, in my mind, a chic shop with so many quirky beauty brands was the very definition of cool.
At the time, I was obsessed with all things Laura Mercier, particularly her Almond Coconut Milk and Fresh Fig souffle body cremes as well as her magical face primer. I'll never forget the day I dropped in and treated myself to my first-ever luxury candle, Diptyque's Baies. Thanks to Space NK, I also sampled my first ever Aromatherapy Associates bath oil set and I can assure you that my baths have been better-than-average ever since.
Though my tastes in beauty may have evolved slightly over the years, I return time and time again to this London favourite. Space NK is always on the pulse and always stocks the cool new brands I'm hearing and reading about. They now stock Boucleme (one of my favourite haircare brands) and Byredo, the uber-cool Scandinavian fragrance brand that has taken Instagram by storm. Plus, cult favourites I've been loyal to for years, like Nars and Aesop, are still on the shelves.
Moreover, the service remains impeccable. I know that whenever I pop into a shop I can always expect a helping hand to offer me beauty tips, superior makeup application and suggestions for cool new products to try. On my most recent visit, I was on a mission to try (and buy) the new Nars Soft Matte Concealer and thanks to a chat and try-on with the sales associate, I quickly discovered it's a lot more drying than the Nars Radiant Creamy Concealer I normally wear. Thanks to her advice, I narrowly avoided all the beauty-blogger buzz and stuck to a staple that I know works best for me.
If you're based in London, it's also worth signing up to Indulge, Space NK's loyalty scheme, which earns you points for every purchase (and a £5 giftcard for every £100 you spend) and surprises you with a birthday treat every year.
But if you're just visiting London and looking for your beauty fix, make Space NK an item on your must-see bucket list item. With 20+ locations scattered throughout the city, you're bound to find a shop in one of the neighbourhoods you decide to explore. So get lost in it's oh-so-chic interiors, try a brand you've never heard of or chat all things beauty with one of the staff.
Warning: you may walk away with a bit of a dent in your wallet. But also a mega-watt smile.
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