The ‘Unbookable’ Beauticians With Years-Long Waiting Lists

To see Harriet Westmoreland, a top technician whose signature short, blush-pink ombré manicure has become a coveted look, clients may need to pay her a four-digit day rate, not a single appointment fee. (Westmoreland declined to give an exact price).

That is, if they can get a spot on her books at all. Generally speaking, Westmoreland has no availability and no wait list — though she did find space to squeeze in Ashley Graham for the Met Gala earlier this year.

“There are other nail artists out there who can do just as good a job, but [clients] want to be able to say, ‘I see Harriet’,” said Westmoreland, who compared the allure of securing hard-to-book beauticians to the notoriously difficult process of buying a Birkin bag.

Top beauticians like Westmoreland have managed to earn an almost cult-like appeal and following. It’s boosted by their celebrity clientele, premium services and, increasingly, their brand collaborations, or at least adjacency to luxury brands. Brands and retailers also cosy up to them in the hopes of brokering a relationship with their A-list (or ultra high-net-worth) customers.

Posts on Westmoreland’s Instagram show manicured hands and wrists (usually dripping with Van Cleef & Arpels’ Alhambra bracelets or studded with walnut-sized diamonds) being elegantly rinsed in rich soap suds and spritzed with Tom Ford perfume. Iván Pol, a facialist, lets Chanel’s and Moda Operandi’s top customers (known as VICs, or very important customers) cut his years-long wait list, while facialist Melanie Grant hosted an exclusive dinner in Sydney for luxury skincare line Augustinus Bader, attended by “friends of Vogue.”

In order to snag an appointment with these top practitioners, customers are going to increasingly intricate lengths. Those on their wait lists want them and them alone, according to Sukeena Rao, co-founder of lifestyle concierge Luminaire, which offers personal shopping and sourcing across fashion and beauty.

“Just two weeks ago, we flew someone from LA to the Middle East to see a specific hairstylist,” she said, adding that the client was motivated by the stylist’s red-carpet work. “We can offer a whole gamut of people, but no, they want that one specific person.”

Below, get to know these in-demand beauty practitioners who have carved out unique brands and signature looks.

Joanna Czech

Joanna Czech
Joanna Czech

Polish-born Czech, who splits her time between New York, Dallas and Los Angeles, has a somewhat brusque approach: “There is nothing gentle about me or my philosophy,” she said. Her deadpan manner stands in contrast to her approach to skin, which is about creating healthy, strong skin by working gradually, not aggressively.

“I am not a plastic surgeon. People want a quick fix, but conditions like acne and rosacea take a while,” she said.

Her facials, which incorporate masks and massage as well as modalities like ultrasound and LED, are underpinned by her over 35 years of experience in skincare and have commanded her a rarefied place in high-net-worth circles. Her A-list clientele overlaps squarely with New York’s cultural icons: She worked with the actress Kim Cattral during the filming of Sex and The City. Her status was cemented in the most zeitgeist-appropriate way — with a meme — in 2020, when a satirical account parodying the young Prince George was said to be demanding an appointment with her.

A facial with her starts at $1,250 and there is a two-year waiting list to see Czech, though she does take some clients from the concierge service Velocity Black.

“People also love my dirty jokes … and I play pop music, I don’t play raindrops!” said Czech.

Harriet Westmoreland

Harriet Westmoreland
Harriet Westmoreland

The first celebrity client to notice York, England-based Westmoreland was the model Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, after an image of her work was reposted by the beauty editorial site Into The Gloss. From there, Westmoreland’s business exploded, she said.

Her signature look sounds simple — a soft, square-shaped nail in a sheer pink colour — yet the results are somewhat ineffable. An ombré-style technique renders the nail more three-dimensional, while the tone is completely consistent from nail bed to tip, with a somewhat iridescent quality. To get photo-ready results, Westmoreland might refer clients on to aesthetic doctors for injectable fillers. Once polished, hands are scrubbed, oiled and scented, a process that can take up to three hours. If a client wants a pedicure, too, they’ll need to also book a separate technician, as Westmoreland does manicures only.

“I like the style of [London’s members’ club] Annabel’s where you have to have the recommendations. If there’s a name that a client would keep saying, [I’d consider them],” she said.

Ivàn Pol

Ivan Pol
Ivan Pol

Pol’s signature facial technique — which he calls “the beauty sandwich” — makes use of three types of radio frequency to give a lifted, or “snatched,” result and has won over celebrities including Emma Stone, Penélope Cruz and Barry Keoghan.

“Other [modalities] tighten the skin … but you’re not lifted, right? [My technique] incorporates the muscle, the layers of the skin,” said Pol.

His current wait list is over 18 months, and his most popular treatment that includes face and neck is $2,100. Pol splits his time between New York and Los Angeles, moving with his client base as events like the Met Gala or Oscars roll around. His studio space plays music at specific frequencies (“The Schumann resonance automatically grounds you, it’s the resonance of the earth”) and burns frankincense and myrrh.

To get an appointment, Pol has an informal referral programme, where his regulars — known as “Club Sandwich” — can refer a friend for treatment.

“[New clients] will only be offered a slot at a time a regular can’t come in,” he said.

Sophia Brows

A headshot of Sophia
Sophia Brows

London-based Sophia (who is known as Sophia Brows professionally) has a client base that includes “Love Island” host Maya Jama, socialite Poppy Delevingne and model Sabrina Elba — though she recently slipped Rihanna her details after the multi-hyphenate performer spotted her in the crowd of a meet and greet, saying “You do brows, right?”

Sophia’s waitlist usually works on a “by invitation only” basis. Existing clients have to refer new ones, though there is a waiting list prospective clients can join. Her signature is a combination of threading and tinting, though many go for lamination, a semi-permanent treatment that gives the brows a more brushed-up appearance. She focuses on creating natural-looking fullness.

“The trends change … if you go shopping at Saint Laurent, those outfits are going to look great in 10 years. If you grab something trendy and viral from Miu Miu, you might end up throwing it out,” she said.

A shape and tint is £150 ($190), and the wait is at least six months for new clients, most of whom end up attending on a monthly basis. She currently doesn’t work with any concierge services, “but if a regular client really wants me to see their sister, I will,” she said.

Guendalina Gennari

Guendalina Gennari
Guendalina Gennari

Gennari insists her signature buccal massage technique, which involves facial massage with her hands inside the client’s mouth to sculpt the face, is just one part of what she does.

“We use products that are not not available everywhere,” she said, adding that her Notting Hill salon is the only place in the UK clients can find brands like botanical line Future 5 or premium Italian brand Linda Kristel.

However, it’s the massage that has earned Italian-born Gennari the nickname of “the skin sculptor.” When working, her hands move so rapidly they become a blur, switching between pinching, tapping and rolling to improve blood flow and give the skin a lifted effect. Her client list includes Anne Hathaway, Nicola Coughlan and Helena Christensen, and prices start at £295 for an 80-minute facial, though many clients opt for a more extensive £400 option.

Her wait list is at least three months, but Gennari says almost all of her clients come to see her once a week, so finding space for a new client often requires someone to drop out, which is rare. One client travels from India to see her.

Melanie Grant

headshot of Melanie Grant
Melanie Grant

Sydney-born Grant, a facialist, has been working with Chanel for 10 years and even modelled her Los Angeles studio on Coco Chanel’s famed apartment on Paris’ Rue Cambon with a grand mirror staircase on entry.

She’s discreet about her celebrity clientele, but she notably developed a cleansing duo for Victoria Beckham’s beauty line in February. Her Instagram is equal parts society girl — there are several snaps with high-profile figures like Huntington-Whiteley, Beckham and designer Haider Ackermann — as it is dedicated to her work.

A facial starts at £750 but has no signature steps: It’s a signature result, she says, adding that she works with enzyme peels, light therapy or laser, depending on the client’s needs. Full body massage is added in, too.

“When clients leave, they’ve had everything from their shoulders to their feet massaged … they leave feeling very restored on an emotional level,” said Grant, who has studios in Sydney, Los Angeles and Melbourne, and takes private clients in London.

There’s no official waitlist, but Grant’s team opens up her diary in limited windows when it allows. She has not taken new clients in LA for over a year, but like Pol, has a number of clients each year that Chanel passes along to her. Some clients want a weekly treatment, others twice a year, so when Grant can’t accommodate, one of her staff beauticians will step up. “It’s a shared care,” she said.

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