Wednesday night is Pilates night. I make it sound like it’s a regular thing. Well, this particular Wednesday night should have been my second class. Instead of lying on a mat, I was on a bed, reading a book and getting my bikini area waxed. Come on, work with me here…I’m going somewhere with this.
Quite how I ended up in this predicament is down to the capable hands of Arezoo Kaviani, a lady I like to call the Iranian queen of waxing.
Arezoo was one of the first to introduce the Brazilian bikini wax to the UK more than 20 years ago and is known as one of the pioneers in her field. She really knows her stuff and by that I mean she’s a perfectionist who won’t leave you with a lopsided finish or a Hitler ‘tache.
You know what a Brazilian is, don’t you? It leaves a thin strip, allowing the skimpiest bikini bottoms to be worn. The Hollywood (also known as the ‘Playboy’) is everything off. And I mean everything. I only came in for a leg wax…
Entering her salon, the treatment room is instantly inviting – spacious, light and it smells amazing. In contrast, my regular salon has a pokey little room, which feels so clinical.
I’ve been having Brazilian waxes for two years but Arezoo has such a warm, kindness about her that I couldn’t say no to ‘the full monty’. I immediately confessed I had pre-booked a treatment with my regular beauty therapist and with a twinkle in her eye, Arezoo assured me I’d be coming back to her. I didn’t feel an ounce of guilt for ‘cheating’ on my therapist either.
Arezoo’s ritual in preparation for the waxing treatment sounds odd but there is logic behind it. Handing me an ice cube, Arezoo asked me to rub it over the entire region thoroughly, while standing over a piece of tissue to catch any drops. As much as you’re thinking it’s a fetish, it’s not. The ice cube numbs the area to be waxed – a clever trick and one you will be thankful for.
As I mentioned above, I’ve been having Brazilian waxes for two years, or so I assumed. Arezoo took one look at me and correctly pointed out I haven’t. It would seem my therapist has just removed as much as she could but not actually given me a Brazilian wax. Surely that’s an inaccuracy on the salon’s part for offering a treatment with misleading results and employing staff not adequately trained? And I thought I was visiting a recognised salon… Apparently this isn’t unusual amongst some salons.
Once I’d got over the embarrassment, I let the expert get on with her job. Arezoo has a high profiled list of clients ranging from Hollywood royalty to super models. Gwyneth Paltrow, Claudia Schiffer, Daisy Lowe, Jake Gyllenhaal, Daniel Craig and now, Sheenie Shaikh – neither Hollywood royalty or model material but honoured to be inducted into Arezoo’s hall of pain. (By the way, Jake and Daniel don’t visit for bikini waxes – I thought I should clarify that.)
As well as waxing, Arezoo also offers a variety of other beauty treatments including facials and threading. Having worked in Harrods for 10 years and then for Nicky Clarke in his Mayfair salon to develop the beauty side of his business, Arezoo now runs a private salon fittingly in London’s Knightsbridge. But Arezoo’s background goes back further – she used to work in private banking before training privately as a professional beauty therapist.
Years ago, I read the book Princess by Jean Sasson, a fascinating account of the life of a Saudi princess. How much of the content is true is debatable (I’d like to believe it is gospel) but one thing I remember is the description of the ritual of removing all body hair of a girl before her wedding. What Arezoo does, as she pointed out, is nothing new or original. Certainly in the Eastern culture, trimming or removing body hair has been practised for centuries. It’s just to us it’s seen as new and dare I say, fashionable.
The treatment takes about an hour, which is seemingly lengthy when I consider I’m used to a 15 minute session but such a length of time is important when the entire process is so thorough. Arezoo’s treatments are dubbed as virtually painless. Yours truly proudly boasts of a high pain threshold but even a bikini wax has brought tears to my eyes, and honestly I dread the monthly ritual every time. Bearing in mind Arezoo was going for a clean finish, I did wince at the thought of her getting closer than any other therapist has ventured before, but the trick with the ice cube works – I didn’t feel a thing. The coldness also calms the skin from flaring up with redness.
Bizarrely I actually enjoyed the treatment although that is partly down to Arezoo giving me a book to read on star signs before we bonded over how much we have in common as fire signs (she is an Aries, I’m a Sagittarius) – as she took care of business down below.
Am I converted? I’m in love with this lady. How many beauty therapists hug and kiss you like you’re an old friend and after you’ve literally laid yourself bare to them?
A week later and I’m still beaming from the results. Funnily enough, as I type this review, my regular salon has just left a voicemail on my phone, asking to rearrange my appointment. How about ‘cancel’?
Arezoo’s Hollywood bikini wax costs £70 and lasts an hour. It is a luxurious price to pay but worth remembering, there is only one Arezoo and she works alone.
To find out more about her extensive list of treatments and/or to book an appointment with the lady, visit www.arezoo.co.uk. She’s amazing. I’d trust her to do it blind-folded.
Arezoo has just joined Twitter. Please follow this great lady at arezoo_kaviani.
Welcome to today’s 20 Questions. I’m an avid reader, and I don’t restrict my consumption of blogs to just those focussed on beauty. Today’s featured blogger is Rach, from Rachel Rambles. Her blog features everything from recipes to general rants, through to more diary-like entries of her general life experiences. Rach definitely deserves more followers, so check her out here!
1) Why did you start your blog?
I started my blog just as a place for me to type out all the thoughts in my head. I’ve always found writing therapeutic, so in the beginning I blogged for that reason. I didn’t even read any other blogs in the start! Now I think about my followers when I’m blogging, and try and write mostly what I think they’ll find interesting. I do still rant on quite a bit though!
2) How long have you been blogging for?
I started blogging in March 2008, although I’d say my blog has mostly taken off in 2010. I hope to keep blogging for as long as I can.
3) What do you enjoy most about blogging?
I think the sense of community is what I enjoy the most, knowing there’s other people out there who have gone through, or are going through the same things I am. I’ve met loads of other bloggers in Leeds too, we have a really nice blogging community.
4) What frustrates you most about blogging?
It sounds silly, but I get a little bit frustrated if I work really hard on a post and then get no comments whatsoever. It sometimes feels like all my hard work has been done for nothing. It shouldn’t be about comments, but if we’re all honest it is a bit really. I get a lot of comments via twitter rather that on my blog itself, but sometimes wish I could have more on my blog itself.
5) How much time a week do you spend on your blog / reading other people’s blogs?
I read the blogs I’m subscribed to every day, and try and blog at least every other day, the reading probably takes up about 45 mins a day. I probably spend between half an hour and an hour on a post, depending on if I need to upload pictures or not.
6) What advice do you have for aspiring bloggers?
Keep your posts regular, so people don’t get bored and forget about you. Try and schedule ones for every day to begin with, just to get going, and get used to blogging. Don’t be disheartened if you don’t get 100s of followers overnight, followers will come if you keep on posting. I’d also advise using Twitter to promote your blog.
7) What other hobbies/interests do you have?
I love cooking, I often do recipe posts on my blog. I also love crafting, in particular jewellery making!
8 ) How many bottles of nail varnish do you own?
Oooh about 30 I’d say, not all that many any more. I used to wear a wider range of colours when I was younger, I’m probably more conservative with nail polish now.
9) Do you set yourself a shopping budget, or do you purchase on an as-and-when basis?
For 2010 I set myself a Beauty Budget of only £25 per month, to try and stop wasting money on products I don’t need. It was really hard, some months I’d spend double that, but then other months I’d spend hardly anything. Clotheswise – I don’t spend as much as I did when I was younger, because I don’t go out as much now. I used to need a new outfit every time I went out, I used to have more going out than daytime clothes. Nowadays I only buy when I need something mostly. Occasionally I’ll treat myself to something if I just want it, but generally I try and spend my money a little wiser.
10) What is your favourite make-up brand, and why?
I’m using a lot of Clinique products at the moment, I like that I know what I’m getting with their products. They’re a safe brand for me.
11) Do you ever leave the house without wearing make-up?
Not very often, I’ll always have on powder, blusher and mascara as the bare minimum. I feel bare without my blusher on.
12) What is your favourite beauty product and why?
I love Benefit’s Boi-ing concealer, it really works for me coverage wise, and I find it easy to apply.
13) What is your favourite nail varnish of all time? (yep, only one!)
Chanel Rouge Noir. Classy, opulent, elegant and sexy.
14) Tell us about the best holiday you’ve ever been on
The best holiday I’ve been on, as a grown up, was my second time in Ibiza, it was a mental girls holiday, with lots of getting in as the sun came up. Just a generally wild time. I love Ibiza, been four times now, but I think my Ibiza clubbing days are numbered now. The sunset there is amazing.
15) What would be your ideal day off?
A lie in, followed by a nice breakfast, then to the shops for a wander around. Lunch out, then to an art gallery, then finishing off with some happy hour cocktails. Lovely.
16) What is your favourite TV show?
Come Dine With Me. I love it! I’d love to go on, but would just be a massive ball of stress trying to get the meal perfect. I’m sure I’d make good TV though!
17) What music do you enjoy listening to?
I’m stuck in the 90s I’m afraid, a real indie chick. Although I do listen to some more up-to-date stuff too! My favourite band are an American Band called The National, they’re a bit like Joy Division.
18) What is your favourite food?
Cheese! Can’t get enough of the stuff. I’m yet to find a cheese that I don’t like!
19) Where would you most like to visit in the world? (money no object)
I’d love to visit Thailand, the island where The Beach was set. It looks amazing. Or New York. I would love to go to NY for my 30th in 2012.
20) Tell us a secret…
I’m not sure I have any secrets at the moment! How boring of me!
Thank you, Rach! If you have a blog and would like to answer our 20 Questions then please send us an email to the usual address!
Good morning, everyone. How about some nice bright shades for today?
You may remember that a couple of weeks ago I attended the launch of Topshop’s Spring/Summer 2011 collection, Sandstorm. Well, as well as getting to see the new range, we were also able to get up close and personal with the core collection, and here are two of the shades I was given to take away.
AWOL is an in-your-face bright cornflower blue. A thick creme, it was perfectly opaque in two coats. I think it would have a tendency to drag, so speedy application is a must. This is so bright that it practically glows, and whilst I might not want to wear this every day, it’s pretty perfect for those hot summer nights that I hope are on the way.
War Paint is similarly bright, almost howling “look at me!” Probably not the most original shade out there but the pigmentation is excellent. Again, only two coats here. It covers beautifully and is a great mix of warm red and pinky coral. Another lovely summer shade.
Whilst I’m not a fan of the messy polka dot adornment, I like the feel of the handle. It isn’t shiny plastic, so it’s easier to grip than other handles. The formula is good. It’s hard to make a good, pigmented bright creme but these are a huge hit. There’s a great shade for every outfit or trend. Retailing at £5.00 each, the full range is available in Topshop stores and online.
One of the biggest movies of this year is Black Swan. The film has not only fascinated moviegoers with its storyline, but also make-up enthusiasts with the spectacular looks created. Catching on, Bourjois has piroetted onto the scene with a new collection for Spring/Summer 2011 and its theme is loosely based around the look of a ballerina, flirting demure and dainty with a dark twist. Pretty much like the movie.
A couple of weekends ago, I was invited to Bourjois UK headquarters to see the unveiling of the new collection, Paris Ballerine.
In total there are 11 products in the collection including 8 new shades, which are:
3 Effet Smoky pencils in Ultra Black, Sand Rose and New Wave Blue (£5.99)
Illuminating Touch (a highlighter in Rose Essential for £6.99)
2 So Laque Ultra Shine nail polishes (baby pink Rose Satin and the dark Bleu Asphalte, £5.49 each)
2 Sweet Kiss Naturel lipsticks (in Rose Passionné and Rose Innocence, £7.99 each)
Personally I don’t think the light eyeshadows are a match for my skin tone, but I was immediately drawn to the So Laque Ultra Shine nail polish in Bleu Asphalte (a dark greyish purple polish) and the three Effet Smoky eye pencils which also feature a brush at one end to create the smokey effect. It works better than a sponge, giving more control.
Other items from the collection are Bourjois’s Volume Glamour Mascara (£7.99) and two Little Round Pot eyeshadows in shade 05 (soft, baby pink) and shade 25 (a sparkly silver), both priced at £5.99.
If it isn’t already obvious, the collection takes the innocent and delicate shades and merges it with the heavy, dark tones for a look that’s subtle but noticeable. Pick and choose which side you prefer or blend the two together. There truly are some products here with a kick.
Bourjois’s Paris Ballerine collection arrives in the shops mid April and on the back of Black Swan’s success, timing couldn’t be better.
Also on show were Bourjois’s re-packaged ‘little round pot’ blushers with cute, Parisian themed designs by textile designer Juliete Buré.
My first ever blusher was a Bourjois blusher pot (in Ros D’or, I distinctively remember) and I’m pleased to see it’s one of their six best selling shades.
The shades available are an explosion of matte and shimmery delights, suitable for most skin tones. My absolute favourites are the golden wild rose pink of Rose D’or of course (34), the warm matte warm pink of Rose Ambre (74) and Ambre D’or (32), an eye-popping sheer orange pink that I can’t believe I’d never noticed before, nor do I have anything quite like it in my heaving collection of blushers.
I’d forgotten just how wonderful these are. They smell divine and apply beautifully, and at just £7.49 each, are a force to be reckoned with against the bigger branded blushers.
It’s fair to say my love for these blusher pots has been rekindled as I am using them pretty much every day. You’ll definitely find a couple of them in my handbag because they’re so compact and give amazing coverage. These limited edition pots are available throughout the month of March.
Over the coming weeks, I’ll be showing you how I’ve found using some of Bourjois’s products including their blushers and eyeshadow pots. What do you think of these classic little pots of delight and what do you reckon to the new collection?