We’ve all been there: when you get home after work you’re going to pluck your eyebrows, paint your nails and condition your hair so you’ll be sleek and groomed for the morning – but this rarely happens. While our intentions are always good, sometimes life (well, mainly sleeping and socialising) gets in the way. So a little pampering is always welcome, but it needs to be fast, effective and – let’s be honest – cheap. This is London, after all.

Whether you’re preparing for a night out or just in need of a little self-indulgence, we’ve found the city’s best spots for a near-instant beauty refresh – guaranteed to get you spruced up in 15 minutes or less for £15 and under:

1. For the Fuss-Free Manicure: Cheeky Parlour


What:  When you want to look polished, well-painted nails will do just the trick – luckily, the Cheeky Parlour at Barber & Parlour in Shoreditch, will have you looking good to go with its classic File & Paint service. Your nails will be filed and your choice of Cheeky’s own-brand nail varnish will be expertly applied, leaving you with a smart finish in 15 minutes. If you can stay a little longer, treat yourself to something from the parlour’s café, or even choose another of its reasonably-priced services: from pedicures to blow dries, hair colouring to male grooming, this three-floor beauty stop has it all. There’s also an Electric cinema in the same building – just in case you need a break from all the pampering.

How much: £14 for a file and paint

Where: 64-66 Redchurch Street, London, E2 7DP

2. For the Lunchtime Facial: Cucumba Salon


What: After a long morning at the office or before a big event later in the day, pop into Cucumba salon for its QuickFix 10-minute facial to refresh tired skin. Using Dermalogica products, a therapist will cleanse, tone, exfoliate and moisturise your skin, while also performing a facial massage to get the blood flowing and plump up your complexion. You’ll be left with clear, bright skin in the same time it takes to pick up a coffee. With its central location, the salon calls itself ‘the urban pit stop’, offering a range of services categorised by how long they take so you can fit treatments (from massages to pedicures) into your everyday routine.

How much: £14 for a QuickFix facial

Where: 12 Poland Street, W1F 8QB

3. For the 10-Minute Stress Reliever: Walk-In Backrub 


What:  Take a moment out of your busy schedule and put tired limbs in the expert care of Walk-In Backrub. The premise is simple: no bookings, just take a seat on one of their ultra-comfy chairs and someone will be there to soothe any aches and pains with a Shiatsu massage, which is performed over your clothes using no oil, so you are ready to go once your treatment has finished. The 10-minute BackRub Bliss is perfect for relieving tension in a short space of time – plus, with the endorphins released during the massage, you’re sure to come out glowing.

How much: £12 for a 10-minute back massage

Where: 14 Neal’s Yard, Covent Garden, WC2H 9DP

4. For the Ultimate Brow Tidy: Benefit


What: Thanks to Cara Delevigne, it’s now common knowledge that good brows are the key to framing your face. Luckily, Benefit’s iconic brow mapping system means their experts can find a style to suit you, and will wax your eyebrows into shape in minutes. When time is of the essence, this is all you need, but if you have a moment to spare, add a tint to your treatment for a fuller finish. Plus, the fragrant, pink flagship store is a girly girl’s paradise – stay for make-up consultations, tanning or a blow dry and let the retro salon take you back to a time of old-school glamour, boosting your mood as well as your look.

How Much: £12.50 for a brow arch wax

Where: 10 Carnaby Street, W1F 9PF

5. For the Quick Hair Fix: Hershesons Braid Bar


What: Plaiting hair is notoriously difficult to do well, and for a cool, intricate up-do that works for day or night, let Hershesons Braid Bar do all the hard work for you. Either book online or walk in for an appointment, then select a look from the menu (including braids of all shapes and sizes, from fishtail to French styles) and your stylist will have you photo-ready in 15 minutes. For added length and volume, you can also purchase a Hersheson’s hair piece which will be applied and styled at no extra cost. Whether you’re after a specific look or just a quick fix for a bad hair day, the hairdressers are on hand for consultations and advice before styling.

How much: £15 for a 15-minute appointment

Where: Topshop Oxford Circus, 214 Oxford Street, W1W 8LG