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Shopping centre stunner

It's not just about the frocks! Oxford's Westgate sorts nails, hair, brows and make-up in one fell swoop. Here's where to head for the beauty treatment.

I’m a huge fan of MAC make-up – the counter staff are always so lovely and help push me out of whatever beauty rut I find myself in, with their excellent mix of trend-led products and stone cold beauty classics. Their Face & Body Foundation (£30), for example, has been a mainstay of my make-up bag for a good 20 years, after it was recommended by a make-up artist who polished me up in the days when I was a pundit on late-night satellite entertainment TV shows (no, you can’t see any clips!)

Recently when I was having a mooch around the Westgate in Oxford, I popped in to MAC to buy a lipstick (the fruity Tropic Tonic since you ask) and ended up enjoying an impromptu make-up masterclass. Which was timely, as I was meeting friends for dinner, had been out all day and the slap I’d applied at 7am had long since melted away.

Plus I learned some neat new tricks (no jokes about old dogs, thanks). My favourite nugget was that you should always put bronzer on the neck at this time of year, to ensure it matches your face and décolletage because your neck doesn’t tend to naturally catch the sun. I’d never thought of this but it makes a huge difference.

MAC Tropic Tonic lipstick, £17.50

Most MAC stores around the UK do these sessions and there’s a whole range of options, from quick-fix brow shaping to a full party make up session with friends. Many are complimentary while the more involved ones are redeemable against products (and let’s face it, you’re going to have a splurge, aren’t you?). You can either pre-book or walk in, with the latter ideal for me as I don’t have enough time or headspace to meticulously plan my grooming appointments.

MAC Smarty Pants eyeshadow palette, £32

I wanted to tell you about this because sometimes we forget that there’s more to browsing the shops than buying clothes, don’t we? But actually, the mall can be a brilliant one-stop-shop to get you looking shipshape from head to toe. The flagship mall for Bucks & Oxon is the Westgate of course, so if you’re heading that way and are in need a beauty tune-up here a few other under-the-radar beauty and grooming services there to try out next time you’re snaffling & Other Stories frocks.

Nifty nails at John Lewis’s & Beauty salon

Their manicures are great value. A gel one is £30 or go for a super-speedy 25 minute/ £20 option – which means more time for retail therapy.

A blowdry at Aveda

I always think getting someone else to hold the hairdryer is such a treat – and when your hair looks good, you feel ready for whatever the night may bring, right?


Jo Malone fragrance fandango

Get a personalised perfume prescription, quaff fizz and fancy snacks and get your hands on an exclusive vanity case at the Jo Malone store on various dates across the summer. 24, 25 July; 8, 9, 10, 17 Aug are the days to go.

Brows at Hourglass

Having groomed brows makes such a different to your entire face, I find. Hourglass at John Lewis are offering complimentary eye make up appointments in conjunction with their brow-shaping service on Fri 18 and Sat 19 July.


Westgate Oxford

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