What do you get when you take 16 skilled beauty veterans, add an iconic Manchester landmark, and mix it all together with a healthy dose of millennial pink paint? The answer: barn//it - five floors and 2700 square feet of beauty real estate - offering an exhaustive list of treatments and complete with a well-stocked cocktail bar [ft. resident bartender] and Pinterest-worthy interiors.
Late last year celebrity hairdresser Andrew Trott-Barn [who honed his skills at salons across the city - amassing a literal A-list of celebrity clients thanks to a stint as resident hair guru for ITV's Star Treatment], took over heritage building New Church House [which dates back to 1782] and revamped it into an uber-chic beauty salon complete with plank-wood flooring and Scandi-style furnishings. He then handpicked his staff from the city's best stylists and beauticians and stocked the salon with the very best brands and beauty technologies [and booze - the salon has its own signature cocktail].
The city-centre location and late opening hours make Barnit perfect for a mid-week or after-hours visit. Bloggers and actresses drop in for effortlessly cool cuts and chrome manicures, lingering to sip cocktails [which are second to none] and exchanging a friendly first-name-terms camaraderie with the salon staff - who, it's worth mentioning, are extremely passionate and highly skilled, and have amassed a loyal-client base [so loyal in fact that you'll have to book well ahead of time to get your preferred appointment choice]. Whilst New York and London salons have long since combined beauty and lifestyle in one space, the concept is new to the Manchester beauty scene where Barnit is the first salon to offer an all-encompassing approach to beauty treatments with a side of fun - hair, brows, nails, facials, lashes, Botox, massage, and more, all under one roof. But the best part? Those in need of a full service can have multiple treatments at once. No need to waste time spent in foils flicking through magazines or 45 minutes of eyes-tight-shut LVL when you can have a mani/pedi in the downtime.
Treatment-wise, for those thinking of taking the platinum plunge, hair colourist extraordinaire Nancy Stripe, who trained under Jack Howard [the man responsible with bringing balayage to the UK], is well worth a visit. To avoid repetition, I wrote all about my Barnit balayage experience here.
I've since returned for manicures, a gel pedi, and LVL [length, volume, lift], a lash-boosting treatment that instantly perks up your lashes, making them look longer and thicker for up to eight weeks. If long, fluttery lashes aren't in your DNA and falsies and eyelash extensions are too high-maintenance, LVL is a low maintenance alternative with the same long-term results [and no long-term damage]. Unlike a traditional lash perm, it treats lashes from the root and involves a tint, which together creates the appearance of longer, thicker lashes. The process requires as little as 45 minutes downtime and has instant results that last for up to 8 weeks - no maintenance required. I have naturally long, curled lashes as it is, but the eye-opening effect of LVL has made such a difference and four weeks later mine are still nicely curled. I've stopped using my curlers and only need a few coats of mascara to make my lashes look done - but they look great without makeup as well. Perfect pre-holiday treatment, especially if you have pin-striahgt lashes that refuse to stay curled.