Edinburgh's top five beauty spots for grooming

From sport and innovation to the arts and even food, we all know that Edinburgh is bursting with talent. But did you know that the Capital is also home to some of the country's leading '“ and award-winning beauty innovators? We take a look at the top five places for some award-winning grooming.

Friday, 7th September 2018, 11:00 am
Omnilux LED light treatment at Zen Lifestyle. Picture: Carly Buick
Omnilux LED light treatment at Zen Lifestyle. Picture: Carly Buick


They are officially UK Beauty Salon of the Year 2018, beating competition from around the country – including the London heavyweights and national brands. So if you want the very best in advanced beauty treatments then it’s right here in Edinburgh at Zen Lifestyle.

Zen Lifestyle received its UK crown at the prestigious Professional Beauty Awards, the Oscars of the beauty industry, impressing the judges on the salon group’s commitment to innovation, customer service and industry-leading training programmes to ensure highly skilled and motivated therapists. In fact, they went one better winning both Boutique Beauty Salon of the Year 2018 for their Bruntsfield Place salon and Large Beauty Salon of the Year for their state-of-the-art Hanover Street salon.

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Regular Ruffians customers include big names from the worlds of Scottish sport, stage and screen. Picture: ian Fallon

They launched in 1999 and have since gone on to clock up an impressive 22 industry awards and continue to invest in the latest technology. So what can you expect from Zen?

Herbal and fruit teas, fresh coffee, refreshing filtered water with cucumber mint and even fizz are available for clients as they fill out their treatment forms or wait for their appointment in the relaxation areas. And then there are the spacious sanctuary-inspired treatment rooms with LED mood lighting, outsized treatment beds which can be heated up and individual Sonos sound systems.

They offer a wide range of treatments ranging from relaxing spa treatments, advanced skincare facials and medical cosmetics, to their famed brow bars and waxing appointments, using high-end, result-based products. A top favourite is the Custom Facial. Offering a bespoke approach to treatments, each facial is personalised to meet the needs of an individual’s skin concern to maximise results. The Triple Action Facial is another top request. This multi-tasking, combination facial treatment offers a trio of advanced, hardworking facials in one session for supercharged beauty.


The iconic hairdressing institution that is Charlie Miller Hairdressing may now be in its fifth decade but the eponymous brand is still up there with the world’s greatest salons. Internationally recognised and commended with everyone from A-list actors, singers and supermodels to the average person on the street, Charlie Miler now boasts an acclaimed artistic team and 110-strong roster of award-winning hairdressers spread across five state-of-the-art salons right here in Edinburgh.

As well as their enduring annual relationship with MTV Europe Music Awards, which started in 2003 and sees them travel to each show to tend to the tresses of the today’s music stars, they are usually the ones to be whisked away to the suites of A-listers visiting Edinburgh for work.

Then there are the industry awards. In fact, there are too many national and international ones to mention and the salon receptions unveil only a handful of the trophies and accolades acquired over the years.

And if that’s not enough, some of the colour technicians at Charlie Miller have gone one stage further by getting their very own L’Oréal Colour Specialist degrees.

Now known as Colour Specialist, they’ve set the standard within the industry and this degree raises the bar. Only a select few professionals get shortlisted for the degree course following rigorous assessments and exams. The course covers in-depth understanding of the science and chemistry of hair, how to work with hair pigment for bespoke results and how to create the perfect colour change.


London cosmetic clinic to the stars, Dr Rita Rakus, now has a monthly clinic right here in Edinburgh. Internationally acclaimed and famed for working with a host of high-profile celebrities, one of the cosmetic doctors from the Knightsbridge team house an exclusive clinic within Zen Bruntsfield Place each month.

Focus is firmly on subtle results – looking at natural as possible and creating the best version of the individual. This is achieved by using the latest technologies, products and training techniques carried out by one of their highly experienced doctors who specializes in the field of aesthetics. It’s little wonder that their London clinic has a big celebrity clientele including Amanda Holden (pictured), Karren Brady, and Michelle Mone.

Offering the very best in cosmetic solutions, expect nothing less than cosmetic injections including wrinkle-relaxing treatments like Botox and fillers to wave goodbye to common complaints such as crow’s feet and frown lines and adding fullness to lips and cheeks. Dr Rita Rakus herself is widely known as “The London Lip Queen” due to her innovations in cosmetic techniques.

Other treatments include ULTRAcel – a powerful cosmetic solution making big waves in London. This wonder treatment combines thermal heat energy with radio frequency microneedling to help boost collagen and elastin production in the deeper layers of skin for a tightening effect. The evolutionary non-surgical tightening and lifting treatment can also treat dark circles, stretch marks and acne scarring.

Visit: Bookings can be made direct at Zen Lifestyle on 0131 477 3535. For more information see www.zen-lifestyle.com or www.drritarakus.co.uk


Founded in Edinburgh’s West End in 2012, it wasn’t long before Ruffians became famed for its men’s haircuts, beard trims and shaves, not to mention its innovative product range and luxurious customer experience.

Each haircut begins with a full consultation and includes complimentary refreshments, including artisan coffee and of course, their famous Ruffians craft beer.

And the stylish surroundings are equally impressive. Think deluxe Takara Belmont barber chairs – known in the industry as the Rolls Royce of barber chairs – and Scottish oak cutting desks to create a communal vibe with a nod to the traditional barbershop as a social hub in the community.

Staff remain tight-lipped on celebrity clientele but regular customers include big names from the worlds of Scottish sport, stage and screen. And with stores now also in Covent Garden, Marylebone and Shoreditch in London, not to mention within the Liberty department store, Ruffians remains the ultimate destination brand for men’s hair.


Edinburgh-based Julie has been in the industry for over 20 years and is an award-winning professional make-up artist and hairstylist specialising in fashion, TV, film and advertising. She has worked with the likes of David Beckham, Jimmy Choo, Jodie Kidd, Nicola Sturgeon, Tilda Swinton, Stella Tennant, Greenroom Films, Crew Scotland Location Scotland, CH4, BBC, Cosmopolitan and British Vogue

But Julie doesn’t just beautify the rich and famous as when she’s not working on a commercial, she’s available for professional hair and makeup sessions, wedding and bridal work at Out of The Blue Drill Hall in Dalmeny street

So what is it about Julie that makes her one of the best? Having studied make-up at the prestigious London College of Fashion in editorial, TV and film before attending GRIMAS in Amsterdam, who specialise in design for special effects, theatrical work and body paint, it’s safe to say Julie knows the art of makeup artistry inside out.

And then there is her hair styling. Trained under the expert eye of the iconic Charlie Miller OBE she won British Newcomer of the Year and has worked alongside other industry greats including Nicky Clarke and Anthony Mascolo of TIGI. Julie eventually joined FAME, an annual initiative where four of Britain’s best young hair designers get the opportunity to hone their skills in photographic work, fashion shows and media.

And when Julie isn’t working her magic she’s can be found putting the finishing touches to her new book Inbetween – intended to inspire women with strong imagery of her work and small stories of the faces behind the pictures.