If like me you’re off on vacation some time soon, you’ll know the prep that goes into getting yourself ready. I’m not talking about the endless gym hours (which I didn’t do), searching for the perfect vacation fragrance, or the shopping for cute outfits, I mean the beauty prep. The search for travel sized versions of your favourite products to make space in your case so you can bring back exotic spirits (just me?), the waxing, primping, preening and plucking that goes into making sure your face is as instagrammable as your vacation wardrobe and the gel polish to give you that flawless finish. Yup, vacation season is almost over but I’m shoehorning in one last trip to see my mama in Menorca and that means a jam packed visit to The Wax Bar for The Works. The Salon is cool and modern. With it’s dark, charcoal grey and fuschia pink interior and it’s Ministry of Sound chillout vibe, it’s actually a place that you don’t mind hanging out in, plus the staff are pretty awesome too.
I try to get an appointment as close to the date of travel as possible, in this case, they day before. This gives you the longest life out of your treatments and ensures they’ll last for the duration of your time away.
When it comes to vacation essentials everyone has their favourite treatments, but these are my absolute staples. Here’s my guide to the beauty treatments that will have you looking like a natural beauty on the beach:
1. GEL FINGERS & TOES
A gel manicure is probably a staple for some of you in everyday life and not just vacation season so this isn’t anything revolutionary, however it does make your life a lot easier when you’re on vacation and it finishes off your look perfectly. If you don’t usually indulge, then give it a go right before your next vacation. If you don’t have a Wax Bar salon near you then go by word of mouth; a good salon and a great Nail Technician won’t damage your nails with gel. I always have a gel manicure before travelling, I ask for my nails to be trimmed down short and sweet to avoid snags and tears and also because suncream down the underside of long fingernails is just gross. When I’m taking a Summer vacation I shun my usual black nail polish for something uber bright.
Point of note Voyeurs, if you’re based in either Newcastle or Edinburgh, you’re lucky enough to have some of the most talented manicurists around, right on your doorstep. A gel manicure from The Wax Bar is extensive; cuticles are cut back, hands are massaged, nails are trimmed, filed and buffed, and they’ve discovered the best combination of gel base, colour and top coat to give you the longest lasting manicure you’ve ever had. Trust me, I’ve been there many, many times and my last one lasted six weeks and two days before the fist chip. Yes, I know, mind blown right?!
This time I opt for a sunburst orange with an ocean blue on my toenails. I’m not a fan of anything pastel or bland, I’m either a gothic queen or a Rainbow Bright (if you get this 80’s reference then can we please be friends?) and there’s no in between. Short, sweet and super sassy, I feel like if a mermaid had toes, this is what she’d wear on them.
2. LVL LASHES
Wearing mascara on vacation sucks. The air is different so our eyes can be prone to watering more, we’re dehydrated so our eyes are more dry and to be honest it’s just a pain in the ass putting on a full face of makeup when you just want to look like a boho fairy. What if I told you there was treatment that would leave you with thick, dark and luscious lashes negating the need for mascara completely?
LVL Lashes are bomb and The Wax Bar are bomb ass at doing them. The procedure is simple and should be the same no matter which salon you go to. The objective is to Lift, add Volume and Lengthen. Simples. It’s a 45 minute treatment that’s completed with your eyes closed whilst various solutions are applied to your lashes to achieve a soft, natural looking bombshell effect.
When you’re done you sometimes get that momentary sting that you get after a tint but the difference is amazing. The reason the treatment works so well with your own lashes, is that whilst our lashes often point straight ahead, the LVL solution breaks down the bonds in the lash hair, changes the shape of the natural lash to point upwards instead of forwards, and then reseals the bond. Et voila, instant doll eyes with no crunchy lash extensions or fiddly strip lashes. Straight after the treatment they can ‘clump’ together a little but this is temporary and the day after treatment you’ll look like a freaking Barbie doll.
If you do indulge in a spot of pre-vacay LVL remember that they’re just like Gremlins: you must not feed them after midnight, do not expose them to bright light, and never get them wet. Actually only the latter is true, for 24 hours you gotsta keep those lashes dry so no washing, no crying and definitely no jumping in pools until your 24 hour settling period is up. Follow these rules and all eyes will be, errr, on your eyes.
3. BROW TINTING
Thanks to Cara Delevingne (and me of course – maybe…) we now live in an age where brows are king. A wise and beautiful lady once appeared in my mirror and told me that a good set of brows can open many doors and it’s actually true. After a painstaking gazillion years of growing them back in, I am now the proud owner of a set or brows to rival Ms Delevingne and I do nothing at all to them except a fortnightly tint.
I’ve had my brows tinted at many, many salons up and down the country and The Wax Bar is home to one of the best. Different salons use different brands of tint and they often switch up their brands regularly in order to find the best one for their clients. If your regular salon uses a tint that doesn’t last very long then tell them, they’ll appreciate the feedback and have access to many different suppliers so you’ll be doing them a favour. I opt for the deepest brown with the tiniest touch of black because my natural brows are very dark.
Take a wax pencil with you on vacation and if it starts to lighten up towards the end of your trip, you can use this to fill in the gaps and create the shape under the arch. My top pick and handbag essential is Tom Ford’s Eyebrow Sculptor in Espresso which costs £42.
4. LYCON BIKINI WAX
Put down the strip wax, this isn’t the 90’s and step away from the Veet, there’s only one way to wax your bikini area these days and that’s with Lycon Hot Wax. If you’re a virgin to hot waxing then read this, it’s an indepth review of hot waxing that will tell you all the benefits. Basically you’ll get a smoother finish, no redness or irritation and way less ingrown hairs. What’s not to love? There are a whole range of options with Lycon waxing, you don’t have to go sans bush like me, you can opt for a little off the sides, a landing strip or even a lightning bolt. Whatever your waxing jam, do it with Lycon, nobody wants an itchy foof on vacation. If you find a great Waxer then follow her, they’re hard to come by, mine is formerly of Newcastle Hair & Beauty Clinic and her name is Gemma if you’re thinking of booking in with her. I’ll follow her to the ends of the earth until my dying breath. Oh, and I’m not anti-bush, if you wanna rock the full Jackson 5 then that’s ok too.
These are my top picks, the essentials I wouldn’t go on vacation without because they make things so easy once you’re out there. There’s no ongoing maintenance with these treatments, except maybe having a nail file on standby for emergencies, and I don’t know about you, but I don’t wear makeup on holiday so LVL just gives me a bit of polish.
There are other treatments I occasionally book if I can find the time pre-vacay, I like to book in with my chiropodist in the week that I’m travelling to get my tootsies in tip top condition. There are foot clinics in every major town and city who will be happy to give your feet the once over and you’ll leave feeling like you’re walking on air. Sadly my schedule didn’t allow this pre-vacation, so I’ll be doing this pre-London Fashion Week instead.
I’m off to Menorca, I’ll see you on the flip Voyeurs..