We talk to Vanity Van, mobile beauty experts

Festivals are stereotypically places where people are happy to let their hair and beauty routine go out of the window, but there is a growing number of festival goers who do not want to sacrifice a perfect blow dry and expertly applied make up, even while they are bedding down in a field with hundreds of thousands of other music fans.

Vanity Van is a mobile beauty salon which started life back in 2008. The brainchild of owner Alix, a self-confessed beauty and festival lover but a ruined hairdo hater, Vanity Van now travels to UK and European festivals to rescue weary festival goers with hair washing and blow drying services, face and body art, massages, nail treatments and waxing.

We spoke to Alix about her experience of beauty and festivals, and what is next for Vanity Van.

According to the Vanity Van team, females at festivals are definitely more interested in how they look - which isn’t a surprise! They estimate 85% of their customers to be beauty-conscious ladies aged 25-35, and 15% to be men. Amongst women, hairstyling of all kinds is the most common treatment, whereas men embrace the festival life and tend to opt for face and body art.

Creative face art for adults is something Vanity Van introduced to the UK festival scene, back in 2008 at the Isle of Wight, but it’s not the only trend the mobile beauticians have seen emerge over their time in the sector.

“The invention of gel polish was a god send for festival goers with its durable qualities,” says Alix. “Generally treatments at festivals have grown and grown - it’s the norm now but when we first brought our services to the industry it was all very novelty.”

When comparing events, the beauty van team reckon it is those attending dance festivals such as Creamfields who make the most effort in keeping to their daily look, no matter how impractical. Alix says: “Creamfields people are super glam, even wearing heels – you can imagine how that works out for them!”

All of Vanity Van’s staff hold a hair, make-up or beauty qualification, including degrees and NVQs. Every member of staff is insured to provide treatment to the public, and self development is a key part of working for the mobile beauty company, with master classes and courses regularly attended by all involved.

Alix’s advice to those keen on getting beautified at a festival this summer is to look out for “a good set up, qualified staff, a friendly team, a good atmosphere and good prices”. It is essential that both the surroundings and equipment are clean, too - just remember to use the same common sense you would do visiting a beauty salon outside of the festival gates.

When it comes to beauty treatments for themselves, the Vanity Van team love nothing more than a soothing massage to revive aching limbs - working at a festival is not for the faint hearted, with Alix saying the team are up at 5am to begin treatments at 8am.

“We always look super glam - time is allocated to style each other before the shifts,” she says.

However it’s not all total glamour, and Alix admits to relying on two festival essentials which will be familiar to anyone who has attended any festival - baby wipes, and dry shampoo.

Look out for Vanity Van at this year’s Glastonbury festival - for more information about the treatments they offer, and a price list, visit