What are the best UK cities for beauty and salon services?

Les Roberts, Senior Content Manager at Bionic
By Les Roberts, Senior Content Manager

After living in tracksuits and barely leaving the house for the best part of two years, it looks like we may finally have hit the post-Covid era, as businesses are allowed to open without restrictions.. That means people all over the country are in search of a glow up - the ultimate transformation from drab to fab. 

As a result, hairdressers up and down the UK are packed to the brim, and nail salons are completely booked up. 

All of which begs the question - which cities will give you the best service?

The number-crunchers at Bionic have been working hard to put together a complete rundown of the UK cities that offer the best beauty businesses and salon services. 

To do this, we looked at the cost of business rent in each city, the number of different beauty shops per 100,000 people, along with their average ratings and costs. The data also takes into account the average opening and closing hours of the businesses and the Google search demand for each business. 

Be sure to take some notes before you book your next glow up treatment - if you want to look your best, you’ll have to visit the best.

Hair salon with big mirror on the wall and three pink salon chairs facing the mirror

What are the best UK cities for beauty services?

When it comes to getting groomed, some cities offer more services than others. We’ve looked at the data for hairdressers, nail salons, massage parlours, waxing spots and eyelash boutiques to discover which cities will give you the best overall glow up.

The index was broken down by services offered to reveal the best cities for each treatment. 

Table showing the results of the Bionic Glow Up

Liverpool revealed as the best beauty spot in the UK 

Liverpool comes out on top as the best city in the UK for beauty care and services, scoring an impressive 70 out of 100! 

This riverside city has great ratings for all beauty services it has on offer, from hairdressers rating an impressive 4.81 average to waxing salons with a 4.87 rating - all other beauty services in this city rank above 4. 

Liverpool is also fairly affordable for business owners too, as the average monthly rent is £133 per m2 of retail space - ideal if you're thinking of setting up your own beauty services in this city! 

Nottingham is the best city for a hair transformation

A hairdresser in Nottingham blow dries the hair of a client

There’s no such thing as a bad hair day in Nottingham

Scoring a high 77/100 in our index, Nottingham tops the hairdresser list. It’s great for both business owners and customers, with the monthly rent being only £108 per m2 of store space, and the average price of a hair appointment being only £24.33. The average rating of the salons is also high, with an impressive 4.9/5 - and you won’t be hard-pressed to find one, because there are 7.4 hairdressers per 100,000 people in the city. 

Newcastle-upon-Tyne will get your hair looking great

Hairdressers are in high demand in Newcastle, with 521.47 monthly searches for them on Google per 100,000 residents of the city. Luckily, the quality of the salons there is also great, with an average rating of 4.78/5 and an average cost of £27.08. They stay open late, too, with an average closing time of 8 pm - meaning you don’t even have to miss a day of work to look great.

Leicester’s hair salons are very highly rated

While there aren’t very many hairdressers in Leicester, with only 0.6 per 100,000 people, the ones that are there have an extremely high average rating of 4.95/5. They’re also very affordable for both the business and the customer, with an average price of £25 and an average monthly rent of £108 per m2. 

Table of results showing the Bionic hairdresser index

The cities that will make your eyelashes flutter

Beautician painting patient's eyelashes at a salon in Manchester

Manchester has the highest rated eyelash salons in the UK

If eyes are the windows to the soul, Manchester has the best curtain game in the business. Or, put less confusingly, they’re great at making eyelashes look amazing. There are 8.82 eyelash salons per 100,000 people in Manchester, so there’s no lack of choice. It’s one of the more expensive cities, with treatments costing an average of £34.50, but the average rating is high at 4.83/5, so you can be confident that your money is well spent.

Leicester’s eyelash game is great

Eyelash salons in Leicester are cheaper and more highly rated than in Manchester, with treatments costing an average of £27.50 in the 4.9/5 star salons around the city. However, there aren’t many of them. There are only 0.56 salons per 100,000 people in Leicester, so while you may get a great deal when you’re there, it might take some time to secure a booking.

For stunning eyelashes, visit Nottingham

Nottingham’s eyelash salons have the lowest average rating of the top three cities, 4.5/5, but the city makes up for this in other ways. For one, it’s cheap for the business owners in Nottingham, since the average monthly rent is £108 per m2. Additionally, the salons stay open quite late, closing on average at 7pm, giving you plenty of time in the day to fit in an appointment.

Table of results showing the Bionic eyelashes index

What cities have nailed the beauty game?

A beautician polishes the nails of a client in a Bristol nail bar

There are plenty of nail salons in Bristol

If you’re after a fresh new manicure, Bristol is the place to go. There are 10.09 nail salons per 100,000 people in the city, all with an average rating of 4.84/5. A nail transformation is in high demand in Bristol. In fact, there are 515.17 monthly searches for this service per 100,000 people in the city. It’s not the cheapest for business owners though, since the monthly rent averages at £138 per m2.

Leeds will get your nails looking incredible

Leeds is the next best city for nail services, so if it’s a nail-centred glow up you need, this could well be the perfect spot for it. The salons are all rated very highly, with an average of 4.88/5, and they’re also open fairly late, with an average closing time of 6:15 pm. The average price is pretty affordable as well, at just £19.90. You’ll find 7.64 salons per 100,000 people in the city, too, so it won’t be long before you have the nails of your dreams.

Leicester’s nail salons are much loved

Leicester has the highest rated nail salons of the top three, scoring an average of 4.9/5. The catch? There aren’t many of them, with only 0.56 per 100,000 people. However, if you can secure a booking, you’ll only pay an average of £17.50 - and you’ll have to get there before they close at an average time of 6 pm. It’s a good place for business owners to own a salon, too, since the average monthly rent is only £108 per m2.

Table of results showing the Bionic nail salon index

What cities will leave you feeling the most relaxed?

couple getting a back massage at a massage parlour in Newcastle

Newcastle-upon-Tyne has great massage parlours

For the ultimate body transformation, there’s nothing better than a massage - and Newcastle is the place to get one. A massage here will cost an average of £26, and the salons have an average rating of 4.83/5, so chances are it will be money well spent. There are 4.24 massage parlours per 100,000 people in the city, and they’re open until an average time of 7:38 pm, so there’s plenty of time in the day to fit one in.

There’s a huge number of London massage parlours

Massage parlours aren’t hard to come by in London, with 16.94 per 100,000 people in the city. These are all quite highly rated, accumulating an average rating of 4.87/5, so the chances of it being a good massage are high. The downside is the price, with the average cost of the service being £46.67, and the average monthly rent for business owners being £235 per m2. These prices knock the city into second place.

Wolverhampton parlours give great massages

According to our index, the third best city for massages is Wolverhampton. There are 3.78 parlours per 100,000 people in the city, and they cost an average of £26 for a treatment. You shouldn’t have to worry too much about the quality either, since they receive an average rating of 4.85/5. They’re not open very long in the evenings, though, with an average closing time of 5:30 pm.

Table of results showing the Bionic nail salon index

What cities are guaranteed to leave you waxing lyrical?

Waxed leg leaning up against a blue wall in a Wolverhampton waxing salon

Wolverhampton will wax you well

The waxing in Wolverhampton is the best in the country. The average rating of the establishments in the city is a high 4.9/5, and treatment will cost you an average of £16.67. It’s fairly affordable for business owners too, as the average monthly rent is £123 per m2 of retail space. The average closing time is quite late, at 8 pm, so there’s a good amount of time once work has ended to get your appointment booked in.

Leicester’s waxing places are highly rated

There aren’t many waxing spots in Leicester, with only 0.28 per 100,000 people. However, if you get an appointment at one of these spots it will probably offer great service since the average rating is 4.9/5. Additionally, the services are fairly affordable at only £16.50 on average. It’s also a good price for those running the business, with retail space costing an average of £108 per m2 in Leicester.

Nottingham offers plenty of waxing services

Nottingham has the most waxing places per 100,000 people out of the top three cities, with 3.86. It’s also the cheapest, with the average service costing £16. The quality is only slightly less than in the top two cities since the average rating of the salons is 4.8/5. Like in Leicester, the monthly rent for retail space is £108 per m2 on average, making it an affordable place to run a business. They close very early though, at 4:30 pm, so get in there early.

Table of results showing the Bionic waxing salon index

How to insure your business with Bionic

Planning on opening up your own beauty business, or any other type of business? Find your business insurance with Bionic for complete peace of mind, knowing you've got cover that's been tailored to meet your exact need.

The tech-enabled team at Bionic can also help with a range of other business essentials - those products that your business needs to keep running from day to day - including business electricity and business gas, as well as business phone and broadband. And why not future-proof your phone system by switching to VoIP.     

For methodology and appendix, go to our Great British Glow Up press release.