VieAMaggi.com

Real, raw, & relatable me. Enthusiastic food & lifestyle blogger living in Vancouver, BC!

Category: beauty

Prép Beauty Parlour

I enjoy painting my own nails, and prefer to save the money I would otherwise spend outsourcing the work. Not to mention not wanting to endure the time spent in a chair with the inability to use my hands.

Although when gifted with the opportunity to indulge and pamper myself, I won’t turn it down. I called my friend up and we made an appointment to get “Prép-ed” for the new year to come. Though the salon is more than just nails; they also offer eyelash, brow, hair and makeup services, and specialize on bridal parties and group treatments. I can only imagine how much fun could be had, gathering a group of your closest girl friends together in such an opulent setting.

I was immediately excited walking in, this parlour was stunning; a sight visible from the other side of its all glass exterior. It was the only thing warm and glowing this cold January night. The entirety of the place was a vision of regal-ness, set all in white. With crystal chandeliers, sequin pillows, fuzzy throws, and aspirational words written in lights.

And their centre piece, the one decor element that has garnered them all their social media attention, a giant bird cage. A repurposed piece of furnishing made into a swing, the ideal back drop to any of your selfies. The perfect way to finish off your treatments: posing and swinging carefree in all your garnered beauty.

We made our appointments for both a manicure and a pedicure, to be able to enjoy a seat on one of their thrones. On an elevated platform is a row of tall back leather seats, detailed with silver rivets. A seat in one of these makes you feel like a princess, and to be able to enjoy such an experience with a good friend is a double treat. So there, we two princesses sat having our tootsies tended too. A warming and soothing soak, a mini foot massage and exfoliation in between, a good scraping of the callouses I have earned being on my feet, and a slathering of lotion as a treat. All in preparation for the polish of your choice. Like they do with your finger nails: each toenail is filed to the desired shape, then the surface of it is buffed smooth and the cuticles trimmed back and moisturized with oil.

I prefer the old school varnishes over gel. Although it doesn’t last as long, I appreciate the freedom to remove any hue that will chip or fade, at my whim. Where I am not restricted to a return trip that requires a payment to remove a colour I dedicated myself to for 3 weeks. I guess I just don’t like the permanence of gel or the ideal that I need someone’s help to remove it. Though I was quick to change my mind considering my manicure only lasted 1.5 days before two nails were chipped.

As for shades, I am a fingers must match the toes kind of gal; I knew that much, but when it came time to choose which colour to paint both, I struggled. They have so many bottles to choose from. Your decision split between four rings of plastic. Plastic nails painted in their various hues, labelled by their bottle’s name. I eventually went with a nice nude with prompting from the technician taking care of me. A colour I didn’t have myself, to give more value to my session.

When it came to my hands, I thought to change it up with a French style manicure; still using the shade of nude I choose for my toes, and adding to it some white. I just wanted something more than what I can’t or won’t do for myself. There was an additional $10 fee for the extra work she did free handed, with little hesitation. I can do I French manicure myself, but find the additional work tedious. Work made worse, knowing I am a stickler for details and will do and redo each nail until each curved white tip was as perfect as I could make it look. Here, the painting in one fell swoop is impressive, but not 100% with slanted curves; though still great for the cost. And if you are looking for something more, they can adhere Swarovski crystal elements and stickers to your nails. They can also hand draw images, and create an ombré or marble effect at a cost per nail.

Normally, I would not go out of my way to get a manicure, something that I know I can do at home for myself and save on the travel and waiting. Although being pampered and having all the tedious work done for me today, I can clearly see its allure for regular prescribers. That and the quality of work. The technician who looked after me was gentle and thorough. With nothing else left to do, I watched her work. There were times where my nail was smudged or the occasional hair found its way on to my wet toes. And on each occasion she took to her tweezers or used a dab of remover to remedy the blemish. And when it came to cleaning up the nail: pushing the cuticles back, and trimming excess skin around the nail bed, I could not have done a better job. The entire tip of my finger has not looked this good in a long while (pretty much the last time I sat down for a salon manicure). That in itself is worth the effort to get down here, and the $7.50 parking meter fee ($3 per hour in that neighbourhood).

And they even offer coffee or tea to settle in with. No other salon that I know of does this, and in such fine dish ware to boot.

 

PREP BEAUTY PARLOUR
1305 Burrard Street, Vancouver BC, V6Z 1Z7
604-764-6452
prepbeautyparlour.com

Koko Nail & Lash Bar

I have lash extensions, I like the way they look, I like how I don’t feel like I need to apply makeup when I have them on (if thick enough, it looks like you are wearing mascara and eye liner in one), and I love how much time they save me during my morning routine. I have been getting the process done since 2006 and have since grown accustomed to them as a part of me, and have long gotten use to their weight on my normal lashes.

I have been visiting the same salon for over 10 years now, the same one since I started getting the service done every three weeks. And I have never found a reason to switch things up. I appreciated the fact that they are a larger company with several locations, so that if anything were to happen during the process or after it, they had the resources to be held accountable. Plus, if it ain’t broke, I wasn’t going to fix it. However, today I found a reason to try the new salon that recently opened up in my Burnaby neighbourhood.

My usual place has gotten more and more popular over the years. And previously, my ability to call ahead a couple days before, to make an appointment is now having to book a time two weeks in advance. First, I don’t have a fixed schedule, so don’t know what I will be doing a week from now let alone two. Second of all, lash extensions don’t have an expiry date, you replace them as soon as you feel you need to. There is no way I can predict if I will loose a handful of them and when, or may be able to prolong their wear for a month, instead of the typical 2-3 weeks.

So during this occasion, my lop sided lashes had me scrambling for an appointment and coming to “Koko”, who had an opening two days from when I called. So out of need, I learned that you don’t know until you try. And that you could be missing out on better, if you are adamant on not fixing anything until it broke. Today, I was blown away by the service of this new lash place and the end result that I walked out with. So the question is, do I continue to see them, or keep shopping around until I know I have the best for me?

They are a small nail and lash studio located in the same “Solo” complex as the “Whole Foods”, “Shoppers Drugmart”, and the “BC Liquior Store” in the area. There is plenty of free parking, so this is another advantage of switching lash places. I would be now saving on gas for the commute, and the $5 per hour worth of downtown Vancouver parking.

The nail portion of their business fronts the space with a lengthy counter for side by side services, racks of varnish on the walls, and plush recliners for the soaking and treating of toes. For lashes you are directed to a separate room on the left. There, there are two gurneys laid with faux fur blankets, flush against two walls. You are invited to lay down with your shoes on, and the technician taking care of you, covers you with another faux fur blanket. You can’t help but sleep when surrounded by this much comfort and her care. I have never been so pampered in my life. She was so delicate with each of her touches. Gentle in the tilting my head, and kind in checking with me to ensure that I was comfortable.

For the whole service you remain laying down. I came in with my old lashes and they had no problem removing them. You are instructed to relax as gel pads are placed under your eyes and a removal serum is brushed across your lashes in order to remove the glue. It sits until your old extensions can be wiped away with ease. They then rinse your eyes with sponges soaked in water (I can only assume, as my eyes were closed, but this is what it felt like.) One sponge carefully washes away any reside and another is pushed up against the side of your face to soak up any excess liquid that may trickle down. All the while you lay resting. She gave me the option to look at my natural lashes, but I didn’t need that image in my head.

I was then given options for the type of lashes I wanted. Regular synthetic, silk, and mink all cost the same. You choose based on the look you are trying to achieve, the mink is the most dramatic with the most volumous curl, and the silk the most natural. At my old place the former came at a premium, $35 more; with the most expensive treatment at $215. Here I got the most expensive set, which gave me extra drama with three extensions attached to one follicle. This set me back $130, where as I use to pay $95 for 1/4 of the lashes. There I was told my lashes were too thin and that I was constantly on a growth cycle, so my extensions continued to look sparse. Here, my lashes where the thickest they have ever been, and at the perfect length where they didn’t touch the lenses of my glasses when I wore them.

The treatment went by quick, mind you I fell asleep right away, but with the blankets and the pillow it was a well rested sleep. Here I missed the gel pads, and instead got a smear of cream under each eye and tape to cover the bottom lash line. There was no additional tape need to spread apart the lines of my eyes. My guess is that they are familiar with Asian eyes. When they watered she gently used a cotton swab to soak up my tears. And with two hands my head was tiled as she needed and each lash was place so gingerly that all I felt was the tiniest bit of pressure, but each time she combed them straight, I could feel how full she was making them.

The treatment was finished off by the blowing of air to dry my lashes. 30 seconds laying down and another 30 sitting up. When I opened by eyes there weren’t any lashes stuck together and they were the best that they had ever looked. The treatment ended with instructions on lash after care and a disposable mascara wand to take with me, to primp as needed. I could not have raved about my experience more. I made sure to takedown her name, and will be calling to book with her again for my touch up fill, and all subsequent treatments.

 

Would I come back? – Yes.
Would I recommend it? – Yes.

KOKO
4465 Skyline Drive, Burnaby BC, V5C 5Y1
604-559-8980

Blo Blow Dry Bar

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I have always wanted a blow out, but never had a good enough reason to indulge in one. So I figured attending someone else’s wedding is as good a reason as any to go for it. You dress up so take a lot of photos, and end up being in everyone’s background anyways. Plus this particular wedding served as a quasi-reunion for me; seeing faces I haven’t seen since high school. It was time to dress to impress. I already spent $25 on altering a $39.99 dress, why not spent a little more to have my hair be just as impressive. By the way the weather wasn’t cooperating so I didn’t even end up wearing the dress.

They have several locations, I choose the one on South Granville, knowing I could find free parking. Tucked away on a corner, it is one of those shops that you go if you know. Though their signature pink on a sandwich board and hanging sign does help to draw attention. They take walk-ins. I am sure that helps because not many people plan their day around having their hair washed and combed without a cut and colour.

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The set up feels like a hair salon, but there are no scissors, there are no capes worn around the neck. They style, they don’t change what you already have going on. I wasn’t the only one in at 11am on a Friday morning. I wondered what occasion everyone else was dressing their hair up for. Because truly I cannot envision this service as an every day thing. But I guess I can’t talk as there are days where I don’t even comb my hair.

The receptionist greets you right as you enter. With her sit staff on phones waiting for their next client or someone to walk in. Behind both bodies are the traditional bottles of shampoos and styling products for sale. Basically anything familiar when handling hair. They prefer appointments, but once again walk ins are also welcome. The website where I reserved a chair asked that I come in earlier to settle in, though the extra time was spent just starting right away.

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I was directed to one of their work stations. A clear plastic chair facing a counter with a mirror. The chair did not rise or lower, and the counter did not have many tools. Though all you really need is heated tools and hair spray. The stylist I was assigned was full of energy. She was friendly and we chatted so long as I continued to engage. The whole appointment was quick. Sit, curl, spray and off you go.

 

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Even though there is a “menu”, it is anything goes, you dedicate what you want. I went for a cross between two similar curly styles. The specialist told me she would be using a straightening iron to do the curls and she got right to it. When I made the appointment I added a footnote mentioning this would be my first time at “Blo” and was curious to know more about their other services before we began. I guess they don’t read the notes they give you space to write in. 

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Styles vary from up dos and straightening styles, to varying levels of volume and curl. Each its own description and sassy name like “hunt club”, “executive sweet”, and “holly wood”.

So what I assumed would be a hair washing and blow drying before styling was just hair curling. Immediately I did not feel it was worth the cost at $40. I am lazy, but am more than willing to do this myself and save the money for something else.

I mean waking in to a place called “blo” and hearing blow dryers going, I expected a blow out. I even asked what I was getting, I wanted the full experience, I wanted a blow. But apparently since my hair was washed a few days ago, it made for the best condition to style, where the curls would last. My thought was I wanted to keep the style for a few days and therefore wanted to start with a clean head of hair. Though at this point it was too late, she had started, and I am not the type of person to get her to begin again. Though secretly I was disappointed. I feel I didn’t get the full service and in the 15 minutes I sat I did not get my money’s worth.

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The stylist confirmed where I parted my hair, asked if I wanted volume, and if I wanted hair spray.. My hair looked good, but I could have technically done this myself for nothing but my time. Probably triple the time it took her, but it would have been worth it. To not wake up early, drive out, potentially pay for parking, then tipping. It took me 30 mins each way to get a service I could do myself. At 15 minutes, I paid $3 a minute.

 

Would I come back? – No.
Would I line up for it? – No.
Would I recommend it? – Yes.
Would I suggest this for someone visiting from out of town? – No.
I won’t be indulging in this service again. It is great for special occasions and lazy people, but $40 is better spent investing in a good curling or straight iron. The worst part, it barely held past the wedding ceremony. The friction from putting on and taking off my coat was too much for the curls. At least they looked good for an hour or two.

 

BLO
1529 West 14th, Vancouver BC
604-734-7599
blomedry.com

Stripped, ladies & gents wax bar

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Because when you claim to be a lifestyle blogger, no topic is off the table. In your life time how many people do you expect to show your privates too? If you sit and think about the total number, for non sexual reasons so far, you may be surprised.

I have taken a break from laser hair removal. The last place I invested time in, shut down abruptly and I have yet to find a suitable long term replacement, one that I find reputable at a price I can afford. So with that, and no longer willing to invest in the tedious time it takes to pluck and tweeze myself, I have sought out waxing for that smooth down their feeling. A service most women seek during the summer, to save them from a stray curly getting loose from under a skimpy swimsuit bottom. And ask any woman, we all know you don’t get that smooth from shaving. Plus, we don’t shave there to avoid the itchy ingrown and growing in feeling a week after. To have new hair grow back and feeling the need to itch and scratch in an unladylike manner. Been there, done that, and it ain’t pretty. The convenience of a quick shave is not worth any of that hassle.

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When looking for delicate services such as a this, I tend to trust chains. I feel chain shops have to be somewhat decent in order to have multiple locations to serve the public’s growing interest in them. And they must have enough financing to have multiple retail stores stocked with the proper equipment. Meaning no corners cut and no abrupt closures. After all you don’t want to chance it when it comes to having anything to do with down there. A couple of dollars saved is not worth a rash for a month. I always consider my return when I make an investment. And when it comes to my own welfare or potential risk, I don’t think I should have to settle for anything or gamble on a chance.

I made an appointment online. Such services hardly except walk-ins. Plus, once you find a technician you like, you tend to stay with that same person. One more and many less people needing to see your privates that way.

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“Stripped”, the name is catchy, and their logo is cute. The cleanliness of the space and the decor put me at ease. Dust free in bright white, it has that sterile spa feel to it. The establishment seemed very well maintained. My “va jay jay” would be in safe hands here. “Va jay jay”, the cutesy term they used for a woman’s under carriage. Though they also specialized in waxing other body parts, and conducting other services. Though the “va jay jay” was clearly their specialty. They sold the sprays, cleansers, perfumes, and undergarments, all in honour this a part.

I didn’t know one could or would want to wax so many other parts. Their service menu was a list of body parts for women and men. Upper lip, chin, brows, full face, under arms, arms, stomach, back, Derrière; nothing was off the table. For the men, the list was similar, but instead of “bikini” it was “speedo”. It wasn’t a Brazilian but a “manzillian”. I was learning so much new vocabulary just by reading their offers. They even had an option to wax it all for $240 for men and $170 for women. Obviously, larger surface area, more hair, higher the cost.

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I considered get my “va jay jay” bejewelled with their Swarovski elements. I am a sucker for that bling. A star, a heart, or maybe an anchor or a butterfly. But in general that seems unnecessary. Those who visit would be happy with the admittance, and truly only I would enjoy the glitter. Plus if you are going to splurge that feels more like a fancy occasion indulgence. Maybe the first time staying over at a new boyfriend’s place kind of thing, or maybe to be used as an anniversary prop. 

If it is your first time visiting you sign a waiver. Your standard I am not pregnant nor am on any drugs, my skin is ok, and I consent to what I have requested you to do. And here is my name and basic information to prove it. 

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When time, one of the girls brings you to the back. Here you are given time to freshen up with wet wipes. They ask for a front and back clean up job. You then disrobe waist down and prop yourself onto their work bench. A purple cushioned bench, similar to that of a doctor’s examining table. This one too had the ability to adjust the height, but no stir ups.

Today my specialist was this nice younger girl. I explained all my anxieties and she quelled my concerns. She has seen them all and seeing a new vagina is nothing out of the ordinary to her. Her friendly nature made the process less painful, despite having my hair ripped out violently by the roots, from a more sensitive part of my body. She made small talk to put me at ease. Though all her calming words didn’t stop me from sweating and turning red. I was embarrassed, I apologized a lot. So much sweat dripped off of me that it actually bled through the paper covering that they lay on the bench for sanitary reasons. An embarrassment I had to face when I was later asked to flip over. An embarrassment she saved by laying another hand towel under my stomach and pelvis. No judgement here. It was nice not to be judged by such a pretty girl. 

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Waxing is available in hard and soft wax. The former is for sensitive skin and costs more as a result. Given the thinness of my hair and the minimal amount of it, I was best to stick with the standard soft wax. 

Though first things first, accessing your hair. With gloves on she sanitizes your mound. A few quick strokes of an anti fugal oil that acts as a moisturizer (or at least that is what I think I recalled). A test strip is then done to determine effectiveness. Given my situation I signed a waiver that 5-10% of my hair would remain as I had hair at various stages of growth. A situation caused by pervious laser hair removal treatments that never took and tweezing myself over three weeks ago. (They at least need 3-4 weeks of hair growth in order to wax). She had me sit up to point to and see what she was talking about. I have never had someone analyze my pubic hair with me. An interesting experience to say the least. This was work, she wasn’t phased by another new vagina. 

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Once I signed and dated her waiver she went to work quick. With both my legs bowed, my back flat I was told to relax. Not sure how that is possible given the position and it being done on a table. She globed on warm wax and applied a cloth strip over it. With a few rubs to ensure it would pick up every hair and all the wax possible, she pulled without warning. One hand holding down my body and keeping the skin around the area she was working on taunt. Her not doing so would result in popped blood vessels, dark dots at the base of every hair root. I speak from experience, after my first attempt of at home waxing gone wrong. Luckily it was my legs.

As promised, a few of the stray hairs were left standing after the pull of a wax strip, she caught each with a set of tweezers. Tweezing hurt less to have her do it, than me doing it for myself, though I just could have been numb. Before I knew it she was done and asking me to flip over. Yes a Brazilian includes hair removal at the back end. Though I am proud to say she didn’t have much work to do back there. And those were her own words. I don’t know what was worse being belly up and able to watch her tinker, or facing the door and leaving it all to feel. But like I said it didn’t last long and she soon had a towel over my bum telling me after care tips. It was nice that she maintained my modesty whenever she had the chance. I was never unnecessarily exposed.

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No swimming, tanning, or exercising for 24 hours. No problem, I don’t do 2 out of the 3, hell I struggled to spell “exercise”. Given the thinness of my hair she recommend that I visit her after 6 weeks, as it would allow for more even growth. She assured me that even if I had hair grow back soon, that it would not be noticeable. I guess it depends on who is looking, I did have to consider that bikini season was fast approaching. She gave me time to redress and to meet her out side to pay. You do this with the receptionist at the front. My file was created, I would be back to see her.

 

Would I come back? – Yes.
Would I recommend it? – Yes.
I will definitely be incorporating this into my routine. Waxing was quicker than having me doing it myself with a pair of tweezers, and far less painful. And at under $50 for weeks of smoothness and none of the hassle, I deem it worth my drive down and my hard earned money. And apparently the more you wax, the less the hair grows back, and eventually you get the results of laser without the pain, heavy cost, and need to upkeep.
STRIPPED
1016 Mainland Street, Vancouver BC, V6B 1A9
604-681-8660
getstripped.ca

Paris Clinique, laser hair removal

This post is a bit moot as the clinic is no longer operational. They have closed their doors without any announcement, and without any warning your are left with a groupon like coupon that is still valid. Nonetheless there may still be value in reading this. For those hesitant to try laser hair removal, or are curious to see what it is all about, this one is for you.

I have been going to this particular clinic for years now, for various reasons. I have seen products and services amended, the decor altered, a few changes in staff, and even a change in ownership. I took a year’s break from their slimming services, only to return to find it a completely different clinic. The staff had all turned around and the feel of the place was no longer the same. No longer was it just of expense, elegance, and extravagance. You no longer felt intimidated by the perfect receptionist behind the front counter, or just assume staff were skilled technicians based on the way they dressed. This was now a clinic for everyone, comfortable. The staff were welcoming, every customer was treated alike. And with them advertising on platforms such as “living social” and “groupon” a lot more than just affluent women were able to purchase their wares. In hind sight I shouldn’t have been surprised by the closure. Generally, new establishments and ones on their last legs choose to promote themselves with steep discounts. The latter, as a last ditch attempt to rejuvenate what once was. Clearly it didn’t work and I was still owed three treatments worth of hair removal service

My coupon entitled me for a year’s worth of laser hair removal. The catch, one hair removal on one spot only, and each leg qualified as “a spot”. There is also a necessary breathing period between treatments, 6-8 weeks. So at the end you might only be able to squeeze in five sessions throughout the entire year. This and I only found out after signing up, that you will definitely need more than ten sessions to see substantial results. A friend too sought out laser hair removal, and after five sessions noticed that she was growing back patchy, and would have to invest in more sessions to see all the hair truly removed for good.

Along with laser hair removal “Paris Clinique” also offered inferred sauna treatments, facials and massages, hair growth treatments, and a bevy of slimming solutions across five different machines. I am not ashamed to admit that I have tried a few of the latter and have seen amazing results at a very steep cost. Something that would require upkeep and maintenance, and something that I couldn’t continue to afford. So my latest and last visits were solely for their laser hair removal treatments at discount. And this is how they went.

The shop was primarily white. I suspect the original concept was that white walls and white surfaces at such places were necessary to give customers the impression of it being sterile and clean. An important point at a spa, important at any place in which you intended to be exposed. It worked. Their elaborate floral bouquets, crystal chandeliers, and antique framed photos once gave you a feeling of opulence. It was a fancy setting and you felt fancy in it. After all, all the treatments you were signing up for were considered extracurricular. Services only those with extra income could afford.

After necessary waivers are signed and you fill out a very comprehensive survey revealing your skin type the process begins. The surveys share with the techs how sensitive your skin is and at what setting they need to start you off at. This is mostly dependent on the ancestry of your skin and your hair type. For example darker skin and thicker hair requires more volts to have an affect. Whereas a paler complexion and whispy hair is more forgiving at a lower setting. Tough, darker skin and Asian coarse hair put me mostly in the former category.

Typical female body parts to remove hair from are the upper lip, under arm, legs and bikini zone. The most popular, and what I was seeking out was the Brazilian. They say pain is beauty and I was going to find out just why that is. The first visit is a consultation. Here expectations are set and requirements are laid out. What to do. What to avoid. The requirement is at least 1mm of hair growth, they need the root of the hair to get to the root of the problem. And you cannot go tanning or have excessive exposure to the sun for a week before and after your treatment week. Doing so may result in discolouration of the skin due to the use of lasers and light in the treatment. Shaving is okay, but tweezing and waxing are not. Both pulls the hair out by the root, and that is what they need. They target the root to remove the possibility of continued and future hair growth.

At this point I have made a few visits for the same cause, so this post is a compilation of the visits. I have been sticking to the same technician as I find her methods sound, and her voice and face soothing. I am directed to one of their rooms and given privacy to remove everything waist down. If you aren’t comfortable with showing someone your full frontal in all its glory, this particular treatment may not be for you. You get intimate. You prop yourself awkwardly and keep stiff on the table, it is the nerves, you know what comes next. I usually hold off shaving for just a week and yet always seem to come in with my hair too long. This requires my technician to trim with a mechanical shaver in hand. She is gentle and very careful, but the process is not something you can ever get used to, it takes a lot of trust to allow someone to be this intimate with you, with the fear of being cut looming. She is shaving your labia after all. Luckily she isn’t looking for precision so it’s over quick. The job is finished off with a swipe of a wet wipe to remove excess fallen hair. It makes you feel like a child, but you asked for this process and only have yourself to blame. You bear with. How many years since your last diaper change and assisted wipe?

You gear up with protective goggles and she warms up the machine. It has a paddle with removal plates. This is what goes directly on to skin. The larger surface area allows for less zaps needed to cover the entire area. A few times she starts only to up the power and tells me she is doing so. And each time I wish she hadn’t. Each zap already stings as it is, but to know it will sting more because it is at a higher setting, is unnerving. The machine winds up, a beep goes off and a second later you get hit. It’s like multiple pricks and hot pain for a split second. It the next one that you fear. I never get through the treatment without gripping the platform under me and never leave with out sweating through my shirt. Luckily the tech starts from the bottom, where it hurts most and works her way up, to where it is less sensitive. And I have a system where she helps direct my attention to my breathing. I breath in and when I exhale, she pushes the button. The pain is still there, but greatly lessen because I am not anticipating the zap, but instead concentrating on taking the perfect deep breath. This continues for what seems like forever, though the more you do it the less time it seems to take. My tech is very thorough so she asks me to flip over and push my buttocks cheeks apart to get every possible stray hair. I comply. Sort of humiliating if I think about it. I asked for this, I only have myself to blame.

If needed she applies an aloe serum to soothe the humming sting. You are given the room to redress in private. As the days go by the hair that has curled up from the process falls out. Many don’t grow back and you notice what does come back, does so thinner and finer. It is working. How many more times are needed to make this a permanent solution?

I have also gotten electrolysis done on my under arms many years ago. It was at a different clinic, that too no longer exists. From what I can recall the experience is fairly similar, but without the same amount of shame. I am more willing to expose my armpits to a stranger, even if they are bushy from the 1mm of hair needed to conduct the procedure. It also hurts less too, in fact I remember a few spots and several zaps made me ticklish. Fast forward over ten years, the procedure has stuck. At most I have a few strands growing, they can easily be cut down with a glide of a disposable razor.

If you decide to try laser hair removal or a Brazilian for yourself it is a great treat. In our society being smooth and hairless equates to and can make you feel sexy and powerful. You jump into a bikini with no fear of exposing a hair, and are always looking your best with no need to upkeep. And with enough sleuthing, you too may be able to find a coupon to have this long term procedure done at a low cost. But if your reservation lies in having to expose yourself, take solace in the fact that most technicians are women, they have seen it all. What you have isn’t special and will hardly be memorable. It is their job to treat every vagina like the one before. They work on a conveyor belt of parts that need zapping, and they do it focusing on the small picture. You are no different from the next.

Noir Lash Lounge

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For those of you who don’t know, lash extensions are a thing and it is something that any person get. The only requirement, book an appointment. The process also requires patience and the willingness to pay the steeper fee attached to such a luxurious service. Though this isn’t something meant only for special occasions, some women have this service done regularly, up keeping it as part of their regular look. In fact I have gone years doing just that. I deem them a more grown up process and less work then applying false lashes daily with glue and tweezers. Not to mention they tend to look more natural. Though if you want a more dramatic look and the option to remove them as needed, I suggest sticking with the falsies.

I haven’t solicited this service in years, so thought it would be a nice treat for my impending trip to Japan. A way to look like I am wearing makeup without the need to actually apply any. Yes I was doing this more out of pure laziness than for its beauty benefit.

I have been to this location, as well as their now closed South Granville location. The setting was I remembered, but with some slight changes. The black and silver chandelier that hung with crystal bobbles in the centre of the room and the ornate velvet accented wallpaper to match were a staple. Their trademark white and black. This chic look definitely catered to their clientele, women who appreciate the finer things in life.

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They specialize just in lash extensions, but sell accessories along the lines of what women are looking for in fun and funky beauty products. Naturally, false lashes in a variety if patterns and extremes were available for purchase, including the mirrors and the glue needed to adhere them. And if you find this process too hard to do on your own they will apply it for you too. They also sold sparkly hair accessories, branded nail polish, and the newest trend: metallic tattoos.

I checked in with the clerk and was offered a small bottle of water. It came labelled in their brand. Then I was directed to take a seat while I waited the next available specialist. As I sat I watched. It looked like there was a newer employee learning today. She had a more senior member check her work and sign off on her results. As the client she was working on I would find it difficult to feel confident in her abilities. She she needed to start somewhere, but she would be practicing on my face. Where I was paying full price and expected perfection. Luckily I would not get this or any other newbie. I was extremely thankful for the technician that was assigned to me. Her name escapes me now, but she had stunning red hair and the cutest Cupid bow lips. If work station arrangement were similar to salons, she had first chair, the one closest to the window for all those looking in to see. She was a makeup artist by trade with still hands that marks a professional. During my experience she explained all the steps and checked for my comfort, even reassuring me when we were almost done, and that they were looking full.

I was directed to lay on one of their loungers, suggesting I make myself comfortable. Though this would not be an easy task to accomplish. I did not like lying on the stiff plastic sheet that spread over each couch. The crunch and squeak of plastic each time I had to re-adjust my position reminded me that I was uncomfortable on them. However I understood their need. Given the regular rotation of clients and each keeping their shoes on, there needed to be a way to keep the furniture clean. I remembered years back when the couches were white or black and could clearly see discolouration on the former. The gathering of dirt and grime in patches where hands laid and soles of shoes stood. Now the couches were a dull grey and the plastic would keep them and their side pillows that way. The chemise allowed you to lay down, but no matter what I did, I could not get my neck comfortable at the angle they need me to be. Head over armrest. I had to remind myself this was not meant for comfort. It was a practical way to give the technicians access to your my head and closed eyes. That it was more important to have things comfortable for them as they need to have their heads bent and arms erect for hours at a time.

You choose the look if your lashes from a menu of four. She referred to a black and pink card with drawn examples and creative write ups on each one. This was new, I don’t recall being given a selection many years back. Hearing want I was looking for she directed me to the second most dramatic set, reassuring that she will cater it to my eye shape. Longest lashes at the centre and shorter ones fanning out at either sides. She even laid an example to test, and check for my approval of length. Once again I was never given this option during my original stint with lash extensions. Maybe it was just her being thorough, either way it was a nice touch. Nice to have the option, and nice to know what you will be getting. Worst is to be caught off guard when you finally open your eyes an hour after.

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Make up on our off, your choice. Given this would be my last time to wipe my eyes, I choose the later using my own make up remover pads. Gel pad infused with aloe and vitamin e are adhered to the bottom of your lids. They help to keep keep your bottom lashes separate, which is critical to the gluing process; while simultaneously reducing dark lines under your eyes. Any stray lashes were tapped down over it. And depending on the folds of your eyes you might also need the top of your lids tapped for maximum lash exposure.

And it begins. This process takes time, appointments are scheduled for 1.5 hours. It takes patience and time to painstaking adhere each extension lash by lash. A commitment for both parties involved. And even though you as the client are on your back, essentially resting, it is still hard to lie still. I, like many others napped. It helped to past the time. Though this was not done purpose, but I caught myself mouth gaped a few times. Enough that I began worrying about the way I looked, and the potential sounds or smells that may be emitting from my mouth. After all she was so close to my face. She on the other hand had nothing to worry about. If you want to avoid the above or if you just can’t sleep, the girls were more than ready to small chat with you.

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After each strand is pains taken laid and adhered to an existing lash, the tech then used tweezers to manipulate the curl, holding each down for several seconds. This ensures a natural bend towards the ceiling. When firm, all the tape around my eyes was gingerly removed. It had them watering, but as necessary as it was unavoidable. I was then asked to open my lashes to see if any of my bottom and top lashes were stuck together. A few were, but were easily freed by the strategic use of tweezers.

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This whole process then ends with sealant being applied to seal in your new look. The estimated longevity for a set is three weeks, but things can be done to elongate this time frame. The first is to avoid rubbing your eyes, which includes washing them. Here, cotton swabs and makeup remover pads are your best friends. Any jostling of your lashes could lead to them twisting and settling into an undesired position, or worse breaking off along with your original lash. Most, like myself just avoid makeup all together while having them. Once again I have them to replace the need to wear eye liner, their thickness acts like a lining over my lid, opening them wide with a natural look. For additional staying power the purchase and use of their “lash potion no.9” serum is recommend. My technician bundled, and sold me on this one for about $35. I have been taking her suggestions so far and now saw no reason not to accept this one too. She recommended brushing some on daily. Then allowing them to dry for 15 minutes before brushing them out. She gave me disposable mascara wands to take home, to do just that.

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You get addicted seeing yourself with them on. It’s something you are willing to upkeep because you look so fabulous with then. I only stopped because I found myself in water often and not being able to rub your eyes freely when wet becomes a hassle. Those who shy away from the service fear loosing natural lashes in the process. Yes it is a genuine concern and it probably does happen a few times, but nothing great is had without a cost.

Would I come back? – Yes.
Would I recommend it? – Yes.
Given that the basic full set runs at $80 this may not be something everyone can afford. If that’s the case I suggest trying it at least once, but saving it for a special occasion. A wedding, a prom, a romantic getaway. You are worth it. Once again, there was a year where I wore and reapply these individual lashes regularly. However for cost and convenience sake I did eventually ceased the appointments. In the long run I saw them as a unnecessary indulgent, and something to partake in only for the right reasons. For example, if I have the money and my laziness wins over logic. Don’t deny yourself.

NOIR
1150 Hamilton Street, Vancouver BC
604-915-5274
noirlashlounge.com

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