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..


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.


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.


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

What is Lash Lifting?

I've always wanted to get my lashes tinted, but when I saw an ad for lash lifting at Brow Theory, I shrugged my shoulders, figured 'why the heck not' and booked in for a lash lift in one months' time. All for the sake of investigative journalism, am I right? Thing is, I didn't know what it entailed, so I did a bit of research as the days ticked closer, and almost nearly chickened out the night before.

So, what is lash lifting?

Lash lifting is a process whereby a silicone tube is glued along the lash line, the lashes are then wrapped around the contour of the tube and fixed in place. A chemical (smells of the same chemicals used to perm hair) is then gently painted onto the lashes and left to process for approximately 10 minutes. Once the lashes are decidedly lifted, a tint is applied to the lashes to further accentuate them.

From start to finish I was in the chair for a good 40 minutes, and in that time I had moments of doubt, a touch of fear, and 'OMG, what if I can never see again?'. Sometimes I like to think of myself as an eternal optimist, but in a moment of weakness and unknowing I plunged head first into the depths of hell. I guess the thing that bothered me the most was having to keep my eyes closed for what seemed like an eternity -- it was difficult to do while listening to the background music swirl together with the garbled voices as they bounced off the halls of the Strand Arcade. Part of me wished I made Scott come along to hold my hand and tell me it would all be okay. Alas.

The lash glue was the other annoying bit, especially when the brow technician pried the lids apart to make sure she didn't actually glue my eyes shut -- this is when my mind went into overdrive and immediately filled with regret.

Can you say neurotic?

Lash tinting, by contrast, was a breeze, it took less than five minutes and wasn't nearly as burdensome (read: scary). It's been about a week since I got my lashes lifted -- for the price ($80!!) and the heartache I don't think I'd necessarily do it again. I guess it was worth it in that I haven't used a lash curler or mascara since doing this, but now that my lashes are curled to the extreme I've become hyper aware of them from all the tickling. Yes, my lashes tickle and annoy me (First World problems).

I left with a bit of nervous energy and absolutely spaced on asking about any special care requirements, so I called back and was advised to avoid using moisturisers, eye creams and eye makeup removers for the first 24 hours. Lash lifting should last between 8 to 10 weeks so long as you prescribe to the initial instructions; the tint will likely be halved in terms of longevity thanks to regular face washing.

The results

No mascara

No mascara



Post lash lift, no mascara

Post lash lift, no mascara

One week post lash lift, no mascara

One week post lash lift, no mascara

You can check out my before and after photos over on Brow Theory's Instagram page. If you're totally head over heels in love with the results, be sure to enter their Instagram competition before 9 August 2015 for a free lash lift for you and your BFFL.

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.

true story: I went to beauty school

And I graduated.

Why did I go? It's been a dream of mine for as long as I can remember, yet it always remained in the 'too hard basket', lumped with 'can I afford it' and nestled right next to 'I think I know what I'm doing'. Makeup school, for me, ended up validating my skills, while also breaking me at the same time -- how is that even possible? It shakes your confidence. You're working with absolute strangers who are either brutally honest to the point where you want to drop your brush and hide in the corner or are too nice not to say anything at all. Before clicking 'add to cart', here are 10 things about beauty school I think you should know.

  1. Check your ego at the door -- this is an absolute must. 
  2. You can do your own makeup really well and that's great! Some of your makeup skills will not transfer, do not become disheartened by this.
  3. Know what you want to get out of this course. Some of my classmates were looking to change career paths, while others just wanted to learn the basics of applying makeup.
  4. Visit the school before committing in order to meet the instructor(s) and check out the facilities to make sure it's a good fit for you. 
  5. Do your homework. I researched several schools based on value for money, location, and scheduling. I knew I didn't want to go the full hog and have a hand at stage makeup, so I searched for good quality, basic makeup schools in the Melbourne-area that held classes on Saturdays. A difficult feat for sure, but I found something that worked for me in the end.
  6. Breath mints, hand sanitiser and deodorant. Enough said.
  7. Practice classroom etiquette. Arrive on time, listen, ask questions, and become one with the sponge -- absorb everything. When you really enjoy all things makeup I can guarantee these classes will fly by.
  8. Observe your fellow classmates handiwork and try to work with people you admire. I paired up with a girl (hi Eliza!) who really knocked my socks off.
  9. Practice makes perfect. Find friends who are willing to lend their faces and time.
  10. Fake eyelashes are a pain in the butt to apply. Here are a few tricks of the trade...
    • Trim full lashes from the side that starts at the outer corner of your eye. You can use the trimmed excess for a fuller effect by stacking the fake lashes.
    • Apply eyeliner first to hide glue mishaps.
    • Tweezers are your friend.

Over the course of seven weeks I learned about colour theory, proper makeup application techniques from an industry professional, gained new-found appreciation for applying makeup on "mature" skin and still fully believe that less is more.

Finally, if you're interested in attending beauty school and live in the Melbourne-area definitely check out Elite Make Up Academy (this is not a paid advertisement) and ask for Marie-Louise, she's the best!