Talking to… Lucie Allen |

8 mins

Talking to… Lucie Allen

The holistic beauty therapist and PB’s Therapist of the Year 2023 tells Kezia Parkins about the new wave of wellness and why she will never stop learning

After reaching the finals twice, New Forest-based therapist Lucie Allen took home the Professional Beauty Award for Therapist of the Year 2023 earlier this year, being recognised for her broad skill set, passion for learning and ability to truly personalise treatments to meet the needs of her clients.

Allen originally got into beauty through her mum, who was a hairdresser. While studying for a qualification in childcare, Allen realised she wasn’t finding it as engaging as she had hoped. She was always interested in nail art, and spending time around her mum in the salon was starting to make it clear that a career in beauty could be her reality too. After completing an evening course in beauty at a local college, she caught the bug and never looked back.

Learner for life

Once Allen was in the right industry on the right path, she hit her stride and couldn’t be stopped when it came to learning. After leaving college, where she studied Beauty Therapy and Applied Sciences, she went to work in some local salons which helped her build high standards, before entering the spa world in a role at SenSpa, Careys Manor Hotel, Hampshire. It was here she realised that it was the spa side of the industry she loves most. As an avid learner and educator, Allen now has a long list of qualifications, including dermatology, microbiology, nail technology, aromatherapy, nutrition, massage, and facial therapy – you name it, chances are Allen has trained in it.

Chewton Glen's pool

“I just love to learn. I love to take everything in and I want to be able to be an expert in everything I’m doing,” she says, adding that is has helped her become the type of therapist who can treat the client in front of her holistically.

“I can always draw on my previous experience to help clients,” says Allen. “Because I have done work in nutrition, when someone comes in for a facial, not only do I offer them product advice, I can also offer them advice on what foods may help. If clients help themselves from the inside out, they’re going to get better results.”

Allen back in the spa with her PB Award

Love for holistic treatments

Holistic therapies have become Allen’s favourite treatments to deliver at Chewton Glen, the luxury spa hotel she joined in 2021. Set against the stunning backdrop of the New Forest, the spa is known for its personalised holistic programmes as well as its indulgent experiences.

“What’s going on on the inside effectively comes out on the outside, which is when clients often come to you with a problem,” says Allen. “So, it’s about getting to the source and the root cause.”

Right now, Allen’s favourite treatment to deliver and teach is a menopause protocol from spa and wellness brand Oto, which uses CBD products, tuning forks (which Allen had trained in previously) for sound therapy and crystals to rebalance.

“We also work on the chakras… a combination of all of the techniques is so lovely. When it’s specifically for those going through menopause, you can relate it to each part of the body and each symptom they’re going through to be able to really help balance the body out,” she says.

“Many of the symptoms people go through, they don’t relate it to menopause until they start to put all the pieces of the puzzle together. As therapists, we can’t help create new hormones – they would still need the HRT patch or other medical support – but we can help to balance all the side effects and the symptoms like anxiety, headaches and poor sleep.”

Therapist health

For therapists, helping to balance the bodies and minds of clients can often play havoc on their own. As well as a need for increased regulation, therapist health is an area in the industry where Allen believes there is a lot of room for improvement.

“When you’re at college, you get taught to massage, for example, but you don’t necessarily get taught how to look after yourself physically or emotionally,” she says. “I was very lucky. When I moved into the spa side, I had a lot of training on how to protect myself and how to use my body weight and posture properly. A lot of people coming out of college or going straight into a spa could be doing five hours of massage a day without that training to allow them to look after themselves… You see so many therapists whose careers are ending too quickly because of injuries.”

Two pools at Chewton Glen

In Allen’s last role, at SenSpa, where she had worked her way up to spa trainer following completion of training to become a qualified teacher for beauty therapy, she got the opportunity to learn valuable skills from Thai massage therapists. “They are literally bending and stretching people… it’s called lazy man’s yoga for a reason! I learned a lot about body weight and posture from them,” she says.



Allen completes Level 2 evening course in Beauty Therapy at Brockenhurst College, Hampshire


Completes BTEC in Beauty Therapy and applied sciences with Distinction at Bournemouth College


Starts working at SenSpa, Careys Manor Hotel


Promoted to junior trainer within the spa and completes course to become an educator


Completes Diploma to Teach in The Lifelong Leaning Sector. Becomes teacher for beauty therapy and is promoted to spa trainer


Shortlisted for Professional Beauty’s Therapist of the Year


Shortlisted for Professional Beauty’s Therapist of the Year again


Starts a new role as a spa therapist at Chewton Glen


Wins Professional Beauty’s Therapist of the Year award

Allen feels that therapist mental health is an equally important area that needs work, as clients often come in stressed out and can offload that onto their therapist, especially in a spa setting where many people come specifically to destress.

It’s common knowledge that hairdressers, nail techs and beauty therapists are known for also being emotional therapists for their client – arole most love to take on – but over time it can take its toll.

Congratulation cards from her children

Protect your energy

“When you’re working on something like the chakras, you can take on that person’s energy so it’s really important to balance yourself before and after the treatment to be able to separate yourself, which can be hard sometimes,” says Allen.

“I always start the treatment by asking the client to take a few deep breaths. That helps them to relax but also gives me that time to ground myself. I also try to do a lot of stretches between each client because it helps me reset before I see the next person.”

Allen admits that with two young children at home, being in treatment rooms often provides valuable moments of peace and quiet – but providing a silent treatment where you’re left with your own thoughts for long stretches of time can be tough if you’re not in the right mindset.

“It can be difficult but keeping myself healthy with regular yoga, the Calm app, eating well and making sure I’m drinking plenty of water can make a massive difference. And the fresh air, of course – therapists spend a lot of time in one dark room, so when I come out and look around at my surroundings and the grounds at Chewton Glen I feel incredibly lucky.”

This year, Allen saw her incredible commitment to the industry, learning, teaching and her clients recognised in style at the Professional Beauty Awards, where she won Therapist of the Year after being shortlisted twice before.

Allen collecting her award

“I didn’t want to get my hopes up but when they called my name I was over the moon,” she beams. “To win this time was incredible. I had my husband with me, who may have been even more excited than I was, and when I came home, the kids had made little cards and my whole family came round – Ifelt like a princess.”

Proving that you should never give up, Allen says that after each year she has entered the awards, she comes back stronger and with more knowledge about the process. “One of the best parts for me is all the people you meet along the way. The other finalists are incredible. We are all very different in terms of personality and what we’ve focused on in the industry, but it’s amazing to be able to learn from those people.”

“I just LOVE TO LEARN. I love to TAKE EVERYTHING IN and I want to be able to BE AN EXPERT in everything I’m doing”

Next, Allen’s sights are set on learning reiki and reflexology to add to her impressive list of wellness expertise – an area that is experiencing a meteoric rise in popularity. While she acknowledges there have been times that many practices under the wellness umbrella have been perceived as a bit fluffy and something to be taken with a pinch of salt, she points out that perceptions are definitely changing.

“People have more of a focus on wellness than they did before Covid,” she says, adding that this can be seen in the changing hiring habits of spas across the country.

“They’re hiring acupuncturists, nutritionists – all of these things that wouldn’t have been in a typical spa setting before but are now because clients are asking for it. People are looking for a whole wellness package and are appreciating the benefits of holistic treatments.

“There is a reason why ancient things like yoga are still around after all this time and are just getting more and more popular… it’s because they make a difference.”

This article appears in June 2023

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June 2023
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