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I was invited to visit the Margaret Dabbs Nail Salon at Liberty London for a review treatment.
When I first started getting pedicures in my mid-twenties, I thought they were the height of sophisticated luxury. They certainly were not the norm when I was a teenager: there were no nails bars on high streets, and I don’t recall my mother once getting a pedicure. She did her toenails beautifully herself, painting them pillar box red to match her fingernails.
The only reason I could afford to get pedicures in my first magazine job was because I had been given a 50% discount card to the long-shuttered but then pioneering New York Nail Company salon on South Molton Street.
It introduced me to a whole new world: within a month I was sporting blood red acrylic fingernails, and perfectly groomed feet. Unfortunately this regular access left me with an obsession with having my feet looking nice that was way beyond my pay cheque (I think I was earning £15k at that point) and, for several years after my discount card expired, I had to limit my pedicures – always at Camden Nails & Beauty on Parkway – to once every few months.
Happily in my early 30s I moved to Manhattan, the land of the inexpensive nail salon, where I could indulge my love of mani pedis weekly without feeling the fiscal pinch. And that ruined me – these days I get twitchy if I’m sporting ragged cuticles, broken toe nails, Parmesan rind heels, and try to get a cosmetic pedicure and paint job at least every three weeks.
But I know that this isn’t enough to really keep my feet in tiptop condition so at least twice a year I head to Margaret Dabbs for a full medical pedicure.
Whilst I don’t have any ongoing medical issues that might affect my feet such as diabetes and, fingers crossed, I have no bunions or issues that a podiatrist need to deal with on a regular basis, I do like to go to make sure everything is ticking over okay.
It may be the middle of June, but apart from a few rare flashes of sunshine in May, it feels like summer is yet to start. I would normally have booked in for a medical pedicure a little while before this.
This time I was booked in at the Margaret Dabbs Sole Spa at Liberty which I haven’t visited in years. It’s on the lower ground floor, below the beauty department, with several private treatment rooms, and a communal room for manicures and standard pedicures.
I’ve written about the salons several times on here, so you know the drill: each 45 minute session is bespoke, and the podiatrist can address hard skin, corns, callus, dry skin, bunions, ingrown toe nails, fungal nails, Athletes foot, an ageing foot, and biomechanical and gait related issues.
Previously I had been diagnosed with plantar fasciitis by a Margaret Dabbs podiatrist, and this time my clinician gave me lots of advice on the correct style of shoe for my particular shaped foot to give me the best possible support when walking and hiking.
Then she got to work with a variety of faintly terrifying metal tools, clippers, files, drills, and buffers to thoroughly clean, and tidy my hooves.
One of the other lovely things about the Margaret Dabbs Sole Spas is that can do classic beauty pedicures too. Whilst the medical pedicure will leave my toenails buffed to shell-like perfection so they look wonderful even without polish, I always like to save time and book in for a paint job straight afterwards using one of the great Margaret Dabbs colours.
Outside of the salon, the podiatrist recommended that I massage my feet every night with the Margaret Dabbs Hydrating Foot Lotion, (and to never put cream on my feet and go to bed in socks as this will just make my feet sweaty not moisturised) and rub in a tiny dab – a little goes a long way – of their excellent Hygiene Cream, a balm which contains Salicylic and Benzoic Acid, and Emu Oil, every few days to keep my feet in perfect condition.
Margaret Dabbs Sole Spa at Liberty
Great Marlborough St, Soho, London W1B 5AH. Telephone: 020 7494 4492