In the past, vanity has been enough to make me shy away from a free makeover. Comforting myself with the thought that it wouldn’t be worth exposing the “before” in order to achieve the “after”, I would refuse any offer involving those dreaded headshots. However, when Sassy offered me the chance to spend three hours at LAB CONCEPT, with a one-stop beauty shop in Admiralty’s Queensway Plaza, it seemed like a good time for me to release vanity’s vice like grip.
After more than a decade of using make up, I doggedly hold on to the belief that with just the right brush strokes above my eyes and the perfect shade of lipstick, I will look like another person (hopefully Jean Seberg!). Clearly this is yet to happen, but it’s this belief that keeps me going through the days of dull looking skin and unruly hair.
MAC has been one of my favourite brands ever since I discovered their store within walking distance of university tutorials, and I’d often hotfoot it there after studying for a spruce between work and play.
I was lucky enough to be taken into the hands of Bonnie Tsang, who used her magic to give me the holy grail of eye makeup: the smokey look. Hundreds of articles have been written and read on this subject (just try googling it!), not to mention the number of women, myself included, who have exposed themselves to disastrous make up on nights out after attempting to achieve this tricky style.
Before and After!
After just a few minutes with Bonnie, the clouds parted and I was well on my way to understanding where I’ve been going wrong all these years. Using a palette of four blues (A Sprinkle of Blues) and a touch of nude lipstick (Naked Bud) from the brand’s most recent collection, I was transformed into a night owl, ready to party at just 4pm.
Next I was in for a treat at Amika Hairdo Bar, with the wonderful Vincent Lann. The soft gold chairs, jars full of bon bons and party-sized bottles of champagne reflected by a wall of mirrors, creates a Wonka Factory feel, only slightly more grown up. Amika Hairdo Bars offer hairstyling without the hassle of cuts and colouring, and their stylists know their way around a blow dry.
I was putting Lann in a tough spot – granted, my hair hasn’t seen a pair of scissors for more than a couple of months, but even so there isn’t much of it. Despite my fear of being a time-waster, Lann tamed my thick, short hair, giving me a more sophisticated look while entertaining me with stories of New York, his hometown.
For girls with a little more to work with, Amika has a wonderful look book, filled with styles such as the Faux Bob (as seen on Beyoncé and in the image above left) for days when you want a radical change, to a variety of blowouts and plaits. Anyone a bit more daring can chat with the Amika stylists who will help you figure out what you’d like to achieve based on your own taste and style.
My final stop at LAB CONCEPT was Australian skin care brand Jurlique, for a hand treatment. Conveniently located next to Amika, the atmosphere couldn’t be more different – Jurlique’s concession is as soothing as a Japanese Garden.
First the beautician cleaned my hands and arms with a gentle exfoliator, before applying oil and moisturiser to brighten and soften the skin. She completed the treatment on my right hand before starting on my left, and the difference was astounding – this little experiment proved how much in need of a treatment I was. I tried both lavender and rose products, in the name of research, and Jurlique has kept them beautifully light, where some brands where some brands tend to overload flowery scents.
The entire treatment took around 20 minutes, and it was the perfect way to conclude the afternoon. I left Queensway feeling primped and ready to undo all their good work with a night out. That way, I can justify my second visit.
LAB CONCEPT, Queensway Plaza, 93 Queensway, Admiralty, Hong Kong, www.labconcepthk.com