The World’s Best Pampering and Beauty Products

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Jan 23, 2017

A massage in Marrakech, a blow-dry in Paris and a haircut in New York? You don’t have to be a celebrity to be primped and preened by the world’s best, writes Faith Campbell.

Best massage

The Royal Mansour Marrakech Spa, Marrakech, Morocco

An oasis amid Marrakech’s frenzied streets, the spa at Royal Mansour promises more than just a massage. Inside a bright white riad with Moorish fretwork arches, cool marble floors and the scent of fresh flowers thick in the air, relaxation is elevated by ritual. If you think a quick lunch-hour reflexology treatment feels sublime on a rough day, this all-consuming sensory experience is divine. Following a personal consultation, massages range from the ceremonial, using argan oil and body balms, to the remedial and cost 2200-2900 Moroccan dirham (about $290-385). There’s a long list to indulge in – consider booking a luxurious private spa suite and blocking out the nine or so hours it will take to test them all. 

Best detox

Chiva-Som, Hua Hin, Thailand

If leaving a luxury resort with fond memories and complimentary slippers feels like a win, a stay at Chiva-Som will change your life – which is the whole point. Its tailored detox programs include physical therapies, spa treatments and a surprisingly delicious “clean” menu. Set on a pristine stretch of beach, the resort attracts a rollcall of high-profile health enthusiasts, including Elle Macpherson, who calls it “Club Med for holistic junkies”. There are pool boys, mocktails, a boutique and a (negotiable) ban on booze, caffeine and technology, which, in context, barely leaves a dint in the five-star experience. The Art of Detox retreat starts at 90,000 baht (about $3390) per person, plus service charge and tax, for five nights.

Best fragrance 

Francis Kurkdjian, Paris, France

Christian Dior famously said, “Long after one has forgotten what a woman wore, the memory of her perfume lingers.” And long after the designer left us, perfumer Francis Kurkdjian created fragrances for the House of Dior that are as unforgettable as the fashion icon. Described as “a poet, an artist and a magician” by Vanity Fair, Kurkdjian has developed scents for Lanvin, Narciso Rodriguez and Jean Paul Gaultier. He even created an olfactory gift-with-purchase for those who can afford a Monte Carlo Yacht. And for €20,000 (about $28,425), you can commission him to blend a bespoke perfume that will arrive in two of the brand’s faceted bottles (60 millilitres each) with your details etched in the glass. 

SEE ALSO: The Best Organic Spa Experiences in Australia

Best mineral springs

Evian les Thermes, Évian-les-Bains, France

Cast your mind back to a time before coconut water, when good old H2O was king and toting a bottle of Evian mineral water was the yoga mat of its day. Further back still, before the iconic name was branded on bottles in the early 20th century, the French aristocracy would “take the waters” at Évian-les-Bains in the French Alps to soak up the therapeutic properties of its mineral-rich springs. Today, cult branding and hydrotherapy have combined at Evian les Thermes, where you can, it’s claimed, improve your circulation, ease joint pain and bubble your troubles away in a communal mineral pool. It costs €25 (about $35) for 20 minutes so start saving and stay hydrated.

Best eyebrows

Anastasia, Beverly Hills, US

Da Vinci, Pythagoras, Einstein... Anastasia Soare. While you’re probably more familiar with the former thinkers and their interpretations of the divine proportion, none has applied the theorem as practically as the latter, the world’s premier eyebrow expert. She has crafted the perfect arch for Oprah Winfrey (“You will not find anyone better on the planet for brows”), Penélope Cruz and the Kardashian sisters using her patented brow-shaping method, Golden Ratio. “Our eyes are intrinsically trained to spot divine proportion and immediately associate it with beauty and harmony,” Soare has said. Testing the genius of her theory will set you back $US50-60 (about $67-80) at her slick Beverly Hills salon.

Best blow-dry

David Mallett, Paris, France

If you’re trying to imitate that perfectly undone ’do of chic French women by avoiding the blow dryer altogether, you’re doing it all wrong. “French natural is a heavy blow-dry, messed up,” says Australian-born hairstylist David Mallett – and he should know. Since arriving in Paris some 20 years ago, he has worked on campaigns for Dior, Chanel and Givenchy and has Marion Cotillard, Clémence Poésy and Charlotte Gainsbourg on his books. After spending €150 (about $215) on a blow-dry by Mallett in his elegant salon in the 2nd arrondissement, book an economy seat for your flight home – this is a style worth sleeping upright to preserve. 

Best hairstyle  

Renya Xydis, Sydney, Australia

Nicole Kidman has an Academy Award, Cate Blanchett has two and Naomi Watts, Toni Collette and Hugh Jackman have all been nominated. But what do these luminary Aussies have in common, apart from their acting chops? Renya Xydis. The jetsetting hair guru primps Blanchett for red carpets, has set trends at the London, New York and Australian fashion weeks, coifs cover stars for Vanity Fair, Variety and Vogue and still finds time between long-haul flights to work in her three Sydney salons. Xydis’s $500 fee buys you more than an expert wash, cut, style and blow-dry – it grants you access to an exclusive club, without the need to memorise any lines.

Best facial

Melanie Grant, Sydney, Australia

On the Instagram feeds of Lara Worthington, Nicole Trunfio and Jessica Gomes, a less familiar yet equally luminous face pops up: that of Sydney-based skin specialist Melanie Grant. As if the It Girls won’t convince you of Grant’s dermal gifts, her own flawless complexion will. Never trust a skinny cook, right? An initial consultation with Australia’s first official Chanel skincare expert costs $150 but treatments can hit the $750 mark. With her clients describing her as “my saviour” (Catherine McNeil) and “the only person I let touch my face” (Nicole Warne), it’s enough to make a facialist blush – but no doubt Grant has a treatment for that, too.

Best haircut

Frédéric Fekkai, New York, US

“Your hair is your most powerful accessory,” according to Frédéric Fekkai, the French-born, New York-based hairstylist who’s been arming women with slick cuts and confidence to match for more than 30 years. Remember Hillary Clinton’s refresh during her term as First Lady? That was Fekkai. Heidi Klum’s first fringe? Fekkai. Scarlett Johansson, Salma Hayek, Sandra Bullock and countless other well-tressed starlets have been transformed at his hands, too. So how much for an audience with the master? A haircut by Fekkai at his Fifth Avenue salon will set you back $US750 (about $1000) – but what price power?

Best hair colour 

Harry Josh, New York, US

“Dye should make hair look expensive and chic – otherwise, what’s the point?” Harry Josh has said. He hand-painted supermodel Gisele Bündchen’s enviable highlights more than a decade ago, tipping the domino on the balayage revival, ombré effect and dip-dyed ’dos – which is to say the colour lightens seamlessly from the mid-length to the tips without looking like months-old regrowth. He works out of Serge Normant’s Chelsea salon, where you’ll pay $US250 (about $335) for a single process and upwards of $US500 (about $670) for natural-looking highlights. But you’ll have to fight Amy Adams and Gwyneth Paltrow to snag an appointment.

Best tan

James Read, London, England

A good fake tan is hard to spot and a bad one leaves you looking orange and unwashed but a James Read fake tan can make you look like Rosie Huntington-Whiteley. Well, almost. The British model – as well as divas Lady Gaga and Mariah Carey and a raft of other A-list celebrities – relies on the London-based tan expert for glowing skin and golden limbs. Read’s range of self-tanning products has also been lauded by international beauty editors and stars. Why DIY, though, when the experts at James Read’s Tanning Studio at Hershesons (Harvey Nichols, Knightsbridge) can give you that “week in the Greek Islands” look in 30 minutes for £55 (about $90)? 

SEE ALSO: 10 Luxe Wellness Retreats in Australia