“The movement of clinics away from just being in white walled doctor’s offices has been happening for a while,” leading cosmetic practitioner Dr Tijion Esho tells me. “We have seen clinics opening in luxury hotels, spas, even Boots and Superdrug.” Indeed, with the normalisation of aesthetic tweakments, as demand for them grows, fresh destinations offering such services are cropping up all over the UK.
For something grand in experience yet discreet in execution, there’s the new cohort of luxe ‘superclinics’ servicing discerning customers with a 360 approach. Then there are the wider-reaching ‘Harley Street-meets-high street’ options. Here lies services for all in the market for facial enhancements, from injectable services at pharmacy chains to advanced aesthetic treatments at elevated clinic settings within department stores.
“I think as retailers now realise it’s important to provide experiences for its customers alongside products you will see more and more versions visible in stores, or across the high street,” Dr Esho adds.
Within the shiny new Flannels flagship in Liverpool you’ll find Dr Esho’s one-of-a-kind “social media-ready” tweakment space. As the first ever social media integrated clinic, visitors can live stream their treatments to shoppers and on platforms like TikTok. Why? “I wanted a way for shoppers to view treatments in store that fit current advancements in technology,” Dr Esho explains. At present, he notes, many people are filming their experiences of treatments performed on the shop floor which for him raises questions around cleanliness. Then, when observing his partner scrolling TikTok-viral tweakments, he had an idea. “We watch and seek procedures via our mobile phone screens – why can’t we have larger screens, within stores, streaming the same content to the shoppers, and at the same time to our social platforms?” With the consent of the patient in a chic (and sterile) treatment room, they can be watched by thousands, “millions even”.
Of course, while some prefer a public experience, here others demand privacy, but this want to be seen while being tweaked is not the only thing symbolic of the stigma fading around ‘having work done’. The fact that this month John Lewis & Partners announced its partnership with The Cavendish Clinic to bring expert skincare, facials and advanced aesthetic treatments to stores nationwide too demonstrates a step-change in the normalisation of this industry.
“We know there’s increasing awareness and demand among consumers for advanced beauty treatments and after careful consideration, we were keen to collaborate with a trusted, medical clinic brand which would deliver this service,” head of beauty at John Lewis & Partners, Jason Wilary-Attew, tells me. “In the last two years, we’ve seen an at-home beauty tech boom and launched our first ever beauty tech department with LED light masks and facial toning devices. Our collaboration with the Cavendish Clinic is an acceleration of these services, where customers can visit a clinic in selected John Lewis stores to experience Cavendish bespoke skincare plans and consultations.”
As he points out, they are offering a service that is already available in other high street stores – in Harvey Nichols Knightsbridge, Manchester and Edinburgh, for example, Beyond MediSpa’s doctors and medical aestheticians offer treatments for the face and body. Elsewhere, Harrod’s’ illustrious The Wellness Clinic offers much more than lasers and needles with its intent to provide the ultimate self-improvement service.
Wilary-Attew tells me that the priority at John Lewis is to offer the aesthetic services “in a safe, trusted and medically skilled environment that is familiar to customers,” with an “aim to help reduce the number of people using unqualified practitioners”. In line with the ASA, they do not proactively promote the injectable services via marketing and advertising, and they are only available through Cavendish Clinic at John Lewis to people aged 25 and over. “For these customers, it starts with a full consultation with a Cavendish doctor and includes a ‘cooling off period’ for anyone new to injectables following the consultation before any treatment goes ahead.”
Dr Matt James, co-founder of the Cavendish Clinic, echoes this priority for safeguarding. “The process for receiving injectables is much more rigorous than it is for non-invasive treatments.” After the consultation customers are advised of their options, which will include a range of treatment options, not just injectables. Also on offer are HydraFacial Skin Treatments for face, body and scalp, as well as CoolSculpting and EmSculpt.
Choice is the case at Dr Esho’s clinic, too. “Skin heath and rejuvenation is a big part of what we do without the need for injectables,” he says. “From advanced laser treatments to digital skin analysis, besides the needle there’s so much we can do that is often already accepted as part of personal wellness journeys.”
Not only are these new clinic alternatives making non-surgical cosmetic procedures more accessible, but they’re potentially making them safer, too. Plus, as people increasingly ‘pop to John Lewis for Botox,’ or see others streaming their filler in Flannels, they serve to challenging judgements surrounding people’s personal choices, moving the needle – so to speak – in a progressive way.
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