The French Facialist

My skin care regimen

My skin care regimen

In June I was coming off of a pretty hectic work schedule and in dire need of "me" time, so I did what anyone would do.. I Googled "Best facialist in Melbourne" and up popped The French Facialist. What won me over was Christine's website, and I told her as much -- it's easy to navigate, clean, and the best part of all is the ability to book appointments directly through her website. No awkward phone calls, no "hang on and let me check my calendar", just book in and show up.

Now that I'm in my early thirties (!) I don't mind paying a little extra for great skin care products and services, so long as they work; but what I didn't expect to hear when I walked through Christine's front door was...

"So, what brings you here today?"

A simple question, but what was the right answer? I fumbled for a second and grasped ahold of my first thought.

"To be honest, my skin is so dead tired from lack of sleep and care, and is begging to be spoiled."

During our 15-minute chat I couldn't help but stare at Christine's face -- porcelain white, framed with tight, sun-kissed curls, a wide smile, and earnest eyes narrowing in on my face in an attempt to analyse my skin issues.

In the next breath I saddled up onto a heated bed and went out like a light; I struggled to hold onto the experience, the scents, and Christine's light touch dancing across my face. What eventually woke me was the sound of my snoring, which sounded as abrupt as a record scratching to a halt.

Christine laughed, and added, "It happens all the time, just relax."

When it was time to wrap up our time together, Christine said, "I'll see you in three weeks -- does Saturday work for you?" Things just sort of happened; I didn't question the appointment because I reached my happy place, ultimate relaxation station. Before leaving, I also picked up a new face wash, mask and single-use face cloths, a purchase that didn't break the bank and was quickly rationalised as a take home version of Christine.

Post facial and makeup-free

Post facial and makeup-free

Before my next facial, Christine combed through my entire skin care regimen to see if there were any areas for improvement. Surprisingly for both of us she was pretty pleased with everything I put on my skin; the only exceptions were Ren's Evercalm Global Protection Day Cream as the super emollient formula isn't quite right for my skins' needs. We also binned Ren's Flash Rinse 1 Minute Facial (very gimmick-y) and Dermalogica's Barrier Repair, neither of which did anything to help my skin.

When Christine asked me how I found her business, I told her what I Googled, to which she responded with a humble smile and a sheepish laugh.

The French Facialist, after two visits, has officially become my home away from home. 

Be on the look out for Christine's book early next year -- I desperately want to know why she thinks we should ban the brush.

Feeling nostalgic: MAC's Real Doll

Wearing MAC's Real Doll while getting my best Barbie/Skipper/Stacie face on

Wearing MAC's Real Doll while getting my best Barbie/Skipper/Stacie face on

*sets scene*

When: April 2007

En route to Vegas with the latest issue of In Style magazine -- these were the days when blogging pretty much only existed on Live Journal, Makeup and Beauty Blog wasn't yet a part of my life, and reading magazines was a necessity in order to learn about upcoming seasonal makeup releases.

Tucked in the last quarter of the magazine (somewhere between healthy recipe ideas and diet ads I undoubtedly flicked past) laid a makeup editorial featuring a model whose hair and skin were true glow-y perfection, and those lips, well, they were sporting MAC's Real Doll. As our Jet Blue flight flew 30,000 feet over Lake Michigan I earmarked the corner of the page, shut off my overhead light, and envisioned Real Doll adorning my very own lips.

News Flash, pervs: Get your mind out of the gutter!

My latest lemming eluded me. The hunt from Las Vegas' Town Square with P-Cakes and Grammy, all the way back to Braintree's South Shore Plaza left me weary, and eventually forced me to throw in the towel. In a last ditch effort I even went as far as calling the indexed telephone number for MAC in the back of In Style with the hope Real Doll would turn up somewhere, alas.

Eight years later and a world away from my humble beginnings, Real Doll popped back on the scene as part of the MAC is Beauty campaign. The lengthy wait didn't kill me, it only helped to fuel my obsession with makeup. This creamy baby pink/lilac lippie will forever hold my heart. 

MAC's Real Doll

MAC's Real Doll

MAC's Real Doll
Swatch of MAC's Real Doll

Swatch of MAC's Real Doll

Wearing Mac's Real Doll

Wearing Mac's Real Doll

The Bagful breakdown:

Total amount for MAC's Lipstick in Real Doll:

Value for money spent (performance and quality):

  • 10 out of 10 bags — Despite my darkish features Real Doll refuses to wash my out complexion. Tho, it does little to brighten your teeth.

Would another purchase be on the horizon?:

  • Sadly Real Doll is limited edition. That said I better track down a back up, fast!

Love my dress? I know I do! I'm wearing Gorman's Wing It Dress. It's got pockets, it conceals the presence of food baby, and it's made in the softest corduroy.

    A change of scenery

    "Words and things and stuff," that's what I say to Scott when I'm at a loss, whether it be in thought or you know, words. To be honest, I've been lost for a while now in this big, wide world of blogging and I fear I'm beginning to grow resentful of the thing I love, makeup -- I tear up at the thought of despising something that once gave me joy.

    Right now I don't possess the words to talk about makeup, and I don't ever want to review something for the sake of it as it's a disservice to everyone. Put simply, I will not put my name to something that looks and smells like crap.

    So, where do we go from here? Well, Bagful of Notions will remain live yet quiet, and the format will change. It's going to take me a few months to get the ball rolling with this next big idea. Let's just say the local makeup market is lacking something I think a lot of women could benefit from, and for me to become that conduit it's going to take loads of research, a business plan, and education.

    Thank you for your continued support of Bagful of Notions. If you ever have any makeup-related questions, I'm only a message away.

    Spahhh time: Red Carpet Face Spa

    Wander behind the black curtains

    Wander behind the black curtains

    I burst off the tram and ran a block, I was ten minutes late. "Great," I thought, "way to make a first impression" -- huffed, beet red, and slightly sweaty from an unexpectedly warm Fall day. Despite my tardiness Neelu (Neelu Ameen, Owner of Red Carpet Face Spa located in Armadale) was super welcoming, she even opened her arms to give me a hug; I took this as a no judgement, I'm ready to bring my A game. Prior to getting me settled into one of the beds tucked in the back of the salon, Neelu sat me down for a chat to find out what I wanted to get out of my visit, and asked me to express my skin concerns. This mini getting to you know you put me at ease and excited me all at once. I was ready for glowing skin.

    With facials I like to chat and ask questions throughout the whole process; I realise my yammering on makes it difficult to remain in relaxation station, but I find if I don't talk or ask then I'll always wonder. My mind is overactive and curious in that regard, and thankfully Neelu happily obliged by figuratively holding my hand. During the 60+ minute facial my skin was treated to a cocktail of cosmeceuticals from Medik8 and natural Aryuvedic products, and an introductory treatment to microdermabrasion (no ouch/redness factor whatsoever) was thrown in for good measure.

    Overall the experience felt personal, informative, and precious thanks to Neelu's care, knowledge, and fastidious touch. If I can entice you to visit her at least once, I can promise you won't be disappointed -- fresh skin (the kind you want to touch again and again, but shouldn't), and glorious head massages (the snore inducing sort) await.

    For more information be sure to visit Red Carpet Face Spa.


    *This facial was kindly provided as a complimentary service in preparation for this review. Thoughts and ramblings written here are completely my own.