SoCal cool fall makeover

One of the hardest things about moving to a new city — especially one so far away from where you’ve been living most of your life — is finding a new doctor, a new dentist and especially a new hair stylist.

I had been anxious about how much Los Angeles salons might cost.

But after nine months without a haircut, highlights or a pedicure, I knew it was time to splurge on some pampering. My look desperately needed to be refreshed for my new city and the new season.

My first stop was Queen Bee Waxing Salon and Spa. I loved their creative slogan: “Taking the sting out of waxing.” (I’m always a sucker for good marketing.) Kenley and I had driven past the cute white-cottage building many times on our way to downtown Culver City, and the salon is often listed in national and local beauty magazines.

I booked an eyebrow wax and a pedicure.

The salon has a Victorian shabby-chic feel. After a little wait, I was guided past a cute garden to a room with a vintage barbershop chair. I felt pampered even as the wax was ripped off and the stray hairs plucked.

In keeping with the British theme, you get to choose your color from a selection of nail polishes from London-based Butter. The manicurist recommended a teal called the Artful Dodger as a good transition color.

I also like “Wallis,” “Bluey” and “No More Waity, Katie,” from their fall/winter collection, as well as “The Black Knight,” from their holiday collection.

Queen Bee was just the kind of local yet chic place I was hoping to find, so on my way out I asked whether they could recommend a hair salon.

I went home and booked an appointment at M Bird Studio, a relatively new hair salon in downtown Culver. Here’s what won me over: “We’re more a saloon than a salon, and our stylists are more than just a pair of hands on the other end of the shears. Curious? Come in and check us out!”

And then, the clincher: “We are an adult-friendly salon. We kindly ask that you make arrangements for the little ones before visiting.”

Josh, who recently moved from the East Coast, added warm, natural tones to my hair for fall.

And Jen, the owner, cut a few bangs and added long layers to my new ‘do. Not a dramatic change, but I no longer feel like I have to use my hair straightener every day. Now, I can dry my hair with a big round brush for a voluminous look, or let it dry naturally for a more wavy, California look — the way Kenley wears his hair.

The cost was slightly more than I paid in Columbia, but not as much as I had feared. (Kenley, however, might beg to differ.)

I learned that the salon is named after Jen’s beloved dog that passed away, and that the new Coolhaus gourmet ice cream truck is going to open its first bricks-and-mortar location next door.

So good vibes, and a sweet reason to return.

Now that I had my nails and hair done, I couldn’t neglect my face. So when I learned that national makeup artist Darius would be visiting the Lancome counter at Bloomingdale’s in Century City, I booked an appointment. Plus, I’ve been wanting to try the limited-edition fall 2001 color collection, which features this tres chic blush:

Darius applied this eye shadow base, the gris fatale eye shadow palette and the new Doll Lashes mascara. Later that week, Darius did the makeup for several undisclosed stars for the Emmys.

I’m also loving the new Kate Winslet Holiday Collection. Proceeds support Winslet’s Golden Hat Foundation, which raises funds for children living with autism. The lipstick tube and blush feature a cute golden-hat design.

About a month later, long after my pedicure had chipped, I found out that it was SpaWeek, a national marketing campaign in which participating salons offer select services for $50.

I booked an appointment at Chi Nail Bar, a couple of blocks off Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills, for a hand-and-foot refresher. The salon had a modern Asian theme. You could choose from Essie and OPI nail colors, or you could pay $5 more for Chanel polish. I went with OPI’s “You Don’t Know Jacques” on my hands, and Essie’s “Wicked” on my toes.

But the most fun part about getting your nails done in Beverly Hills are the conversations you overhear. One tall blonde had three different custom-made costumes for three Halloween parties: barbie, a genie and Snow White. Her nail color? Barbie pink, of course. Another woman was a contestant on “The X-Factor” reality show and was getting a Rock Star gel manicure. Watch her belt out “Purple Rain” here, where you can see her nails.

My next appointment was at The Massage Garage in downtown Culver. I’d also been wanting to check this place out because of its clever slogan: “We fix bodies.” Examples of massages include the “test drive” (30 minutes); the tune-up (60 minutes); or the overhaul (90 minutes).

It was the first massage I’d had since before I got married (well, the first professional massage, anyway), and it was much-needed! No excuse to wait that long again, since The Massage Garage’s tune-up is only $48 — that’s even cheaper than my previous spa in Columbia!

Here’s my “after” shot:

Next on the makeover to-do list: adopting better eating habits and getting into an exercise routine!

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5 thoughts on “SoCal cool fall makeover

  1. The final product looks great! Sounds like you had a good time. Maybe you should get a discount for the free advertising you have given them.

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