The beauty bits you need to know about before your wedding day

Well, your P.I.C. popped the question, now it's time to start planning one of the biggest days of your life. Truth be told I was the anti-bride which makes me the worst person in the entire world to ask about flowers, limos, and napkin holders or debate about mermaid-style versus ball gown. After all, I did wear black when we eloped, and if he asked me to marry him again we'd do it all the same way. But we're not here to talk about me today, today's all about Lori, who recently asked..

"I came across your blog whilst trying to find a one stop shop in Melbourne for all my beauty needs (getting married in nine months; waxing; rehabilitating brows and lashes). Your blog is really great, but I was wondering if you had any suggestions as to a place (ideally Melbourne CBD or eastern suburbs of Melbourne) that could take care of all of these?"

After a bit of back forth we pinned down Lori's budget (mid-range), Miss Fox is out of the question, unless of course you're looking to treat yo self. The atmosphere is great up there (they even have a bar with bubbles!), however, be prepared to drop some serious cash for this particular one stop shop. 

There's the elusive Made Beauty Space in Hawthorn, I've been itching to get into this place for ages, but they're always booked out. Scheduling issues aside, we're talking the whole enchilada here, facials, manis, pedis, waxing, the lot. Go ahead and book online in your onesie from the comfort of your own home.

If chains are your thing (not the gold kind), Endota Day Spa is another enticing option. I've only visited their location on Flinders Lane, and not once did it ever feel generic. Om-like, and a tad drool-inducing thanks to their massage options.

Before Romina (my brow saviour) relocated to the UK, I used to frequent Allure Skin and Body in Malvern. The ladies here will take care of you from head to toe, to boot they use two of my favourite skincare ranges, Dermaviduals and Aspect. 

I can't leave out Red Carpet Face Spa. Neelu kindly had me over for a facial back in April -- we took things slow with a facial cocktail and brow tint. Facials start at $65, not too shabby. Since writing my review, Neelu has since relocated to Edward Beale's Salon in Armadale.

If you don't mind doing a bit of trotting about, let's break things down a bit further..

Nails

Brows & Lash Lifting

  • Brow Theory in Armadale, Melbourne and Hawthorn - "Best Brows Ever." Would you believe me if I told you my brows looked like thin, horizontal question marks?
  • Allison Browning Therapies in Brunswick - a little exy, tho the before and after photos might lure you in
  • Lash and Brow Boudoir in Richmond - their salon menu is vast
  • Miss Brow Bar in Melbourne and South Melbourne - her website is too cute, that is all.

Waxing

I'm at a loss for waxing, I've only ever been to Miss Fox and surprisingly her price is fairly reasonable for this particular service.

Facials

The French Facialist in Prahran - my religion.

Makeup Artist

Cindy Siegemund is all peaches and cream with her glowing skin and flowing red mane. She makes makeup relatable, undaunting, and easy. Cindy is my makeup whisperer.

Finally, if you ever need help making your way around the beauty counters (a personal makeup shopper), there's me. I'll help you get in and out of Myer/David Jones/Mecca unscathed with things you'll actually use.

What about the bits, can't forget about those!

  • Always test out treatments well in advance, especially for those with sensitive skin. Say no-no to redness.
  • The same theory applies for waxing/brow threading, be sure to schedule your last session a week before the big day. 
  • Trial makeup at any of the beauty counters, oh, and ask for samples! The perk here is most of the counters will do your whole face for around $50, which can then be put toward purchasing makeup.

I think that covers it! Congratulations, Lori and best wishes. Let me know how you go.

 

//Photo Credit

This duo does not disappoint: Victoria, Victoria Beckham for Nails Inc. Duo Collection

Nails Inc Bamboo White (left) and Judo Red (right)

Nails Inc Bamboo White (left) and Judo Red (right)

Favourite Spice Girl.

Lover of polished nails.

A nail polish formula that doesn't quit.

This stuff is seriously bottled magic and a lemming in the making. Let's start with the anatomy of the bottle -- removable false cap for looks (think Butter London), matte black and white porcelain exteriors for a sleeker look and feel, complete with viewfinder-like sides serving as windows into the souls of these two opposing nail colours.

From the side

From the side

These polarising brushes are chubby and contoured to speed the nail painting process along, and promote control to assist with staying inside the lines. Reduced clean up, FTW!

Typical drying time is to be expected, but the wait is so worth it. This polish lasts. By day four expect to see the unavoidable tip wear from shuffling paper about, typing and dish washing. And by day 7, nary a chip in sight. 

The boxed packaging, while nice, is a bit of a gimmick to get you to spend more money. Originally I intended to have Scott purchase Bamboo White, but the Sephora gods in Sydney wouldn't have it -- Judo Red and Bamboo White were a package deal with an eye popping price tag of $60.00! Is this duo really worth it? 

Yes. Individually, I suspect a LE bottle would set you back $27.50 at least. So, if you love all things Victoria, pale pink and coral red, scoop these up while you can.

Nails Inc is onto something with their revamped formula and packaging. Now, here's some food for though, NailKale. Anyone?

Nails Inc Bamboo White (nude)

Nails Inc Bamboo White (nude)

Nails Inc Judo Red (tomato red)

Nails Inc Judo Red (tomato red)

The Bagful breakdown:

Total amount for Victoria, Victoria Beckham for Nails Inc. Duo Collection:

Value for money spent (performance and quality):

  • 9 out of 10 bags — Next to CND's Vinylux, Nails Inc is hands down my second favourite nail polish brand.

Would another purchase be on the horizon?:

At home nail necessities (revisited) and tracking down a dupe for Essie's Mint Candy Apple

Recently I've gotten myself in bit of a financial pickle by dropping a small fortune at the dentist. To halt teeth grinding I now wear an eye-poppingly expensive night guard (sans Swarovski crystals, and platinum). To help recoup my fun fund I've nixed frivolous expenses for the next few months -- salon manis/pedis are now done at home, eyebrow threading and tinting will have to wait, and the ends of my hair must keep their crap together a few weeks longer than usual. Please?

The struggle is real. 

Snaggle nail is non-negotiable, so I'm putting my French Pink mental notes to the test by dusting off the nail artillery for battle. 

If you're ever in a pinch and need to get polished nails fast, CND's Vinylux fully sets in eight minutes (curing lamp not required), evenly covers nails in two coats, and can last up to ten days. I realise I sound like a broken record here, but this nail polish is too legit to quit.

Time to serve up the best nail polish sandwich out there. While I do love Essie's protein base coat, and Seche Vite's top coat, Orly has dropped the ultimate Blimpie. Bonder leaves behind a slightly tacky base to keep polish on the nail, while Polished gives any hue a high shine, finally Flash Dry speeds up the drying process. *Ding* Order's up!

Keep things hydrated with Essie's Apricot Cuticle Oil, and Provence Sante's Hand Cream -- two decadent treats I always keep on hand in order to relive the French Pink experience. Shea Butter, calendula, sweet almond oil, and apricot send me to my happy place, and even quells the noxious scent of acetone.

Yesterday I went hunting for a cheaper dupe of Essie's Mint Candy Apple thanks in part to my pastel nail obsession of late. When most of the options on hand at Priceline just wouldn't do (too dark, shimmery, or not minty enough), my gaze locked on a lone bottle of L'Oreal's Perle de Jade.

L'Oreal's Perle de Jade

L'Oreal's Perle de Jade

Slight gripe, dipping the brush in for second, and third helpings grew awkward whenever errant bristles lagged behind.  Despite this L'Oreal still gets props for the low price point, colour selection, and contoured brush head.

S.Y.C. (Save Your Cuticles)

Eulactol Cuticle and Nail Cream Gold

Eulactol Cuticle and Nail Cream Gold

My cuticles can go from zero to ragged in 3.5 seconds, especially in winter. During a recent visit to French Pink Kara, my nail saviour/manicurist, suggested I try Scholl's Eulactol Cuticle & Nail Cream Gold. It's an emollient cream that works to keep the cuticles hydrated.

Before going to bed every night I pop a small amount on the pad of my index finger and massage the nail beds and along the cuticles until the cream has been completely absorbed. 

A small dollop will do

A small dollop will do

The biggest test for me was my visit back to the States and going two whole weeks without a manicure. The horror, I know. To prevent my cuticles from drying out, I religiously slathered this stuff on in an effort to keep my nails as happy as possible.

It's been close to two months since I first started using Eulactol Cuticle and Nail Cream Gold and I've noticed a major improvement. Manicures last longer (less chipping), my two problem nails (right index and middle fingers) no longer peel, cuticle trimming is almost a thing of the past and pulled hang nails heal in record time (note to self: stop pulling them).

The only slight downer is the scent, it smells like old lady perfume. If you can get past that, your cuticles will go from this (said in my cheesiest infomercial voice):

Slightly dry cuticle situation bringing down this awesome mani (wearing CND's Vinylux in Cake Pop and Black Pool)

Slightly dry cuticle situation bringing down this awesome mani (wearing CND's Vinylux in Cake Pop and Black Pool)

To this:

I went three weeks without having to trim my cuticles (wearing Sephora's Devious over Essie's Midnight Cami)

I went three weeks without having to trim my cuticles (wearing Sephora's Devious over Essie's Midnight Cami)

I was so happy with the results I even left a tube with my Dad to help treat his troublesome nails.

 

The Bagful breakdown:

Total amount for Scholl's Eulactol Cuticle & Nail Cream Gold:

  • $9.99 AUS 

Value for money spent (performance and quality):

  • 10 out of 10 bags — works hard while I get my sleep on.

Would another purchase be on the horizon?:

  • I'll be getting multiple back-ups.