Get your hair and nails ready for the Christmas night out

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In the run-up to Christmas, two things are certain. Raiders of the Lost Ark will be on TV and there will be an occasion that will require you to look fabulous. Rather like Indiana Jones, I am on an eternal quest to find the Holy Grail – a blow-dry befitting a pageant queen.

Introduce me to an understanding hairdresser with the skills necessary to transform my “difficult” hair into something resembling HRH Kate’s crowning glory and I’m a happy woman. If that hairdresser works in a salon that includes a nail bar, I may have found my Holy Grail with benefits, and if that salon should also have an in-house dachshund...well, you get the picture. I admit, I’d never investigated Dickson Reid before. I’m not sure why, as it’s in the centre of town and clearly has a lot of contented clientele. At least there was a very happy buzz when I visited to experience their Top to Toe package.

After my hair was washed and treated to a deep conditioning “keratin filler”, my stylist Lisa got stuck in with the hairdryer and several round brushes. Having earned her chops hairdressing on cruise ships for four years, Lisa’s youth belies her experience. I know I’m in good hands when she says: “I learned a lot about hair in different countries. Serbians are the best hairdressers in the world. They’re experts with big, coarse hair – like yours.” Employing a technique where my hair was wrapped around a brush which was then left dangling in my tresses while she worked on the next section, Lisa made quick work of my blow dry. Before I even had time to ask for a magazine my do was ... done. Bouncy, shiny and befitting a star of telly programme Toddlers and Tiaras.

I hotfooted it to the nail bar – an oasis of serenity where Alex the technician proceeded to give me that extra layer of polish (literally) for the party season. As the package includes fingers and toes, you’d better ensure you have a pair of open-toed sandals to wear with your party dress. You don’t want this to go to waste.

I opted for a chic taupe shade, Wild Mink, for fingers, and an altogether more festive orange-pink, Oriental Poppy, for toes. If, like me, you find regular nail polish rarely remains on your digits for longer than 24 hours, it’s time to experience Shellac. The lacquer is cured under a UV lamp for a super-glossy finish that is virtually indestructible. A further benefit is that this polish dries instantly – which is handy when it’s minus two outside.

Stepping out into the crowds of Christmas shoppers, with my super shiny pelt and nails, I feel ready for anything, be that a glamorous happening or a night in with Harrison Ford.

• Dickson Reid, 47 Frederick Street, 
Edinburgh (0131-225 8989,