Although I have (half) lived in Melbourne for three and a half years, I did not have a “beauty salon” until a couple of weeks back. Oh sure, I would have the occasional facial here and there, at spas like Isika and Aurora and the like, and look, they’re lovely places, but you need to have an ongoing relationship with your facialist, I think. And your waxer. Something a bit more… personal.
Ysee, these women become part of your Personal Beauty Army, they’re their for you when your skin starts being bitchy and needs a good talking to, they guide you towards magnificent skin when you have a big event coming up, and they don’t judge you when you finally step in for a bikini wax after months of “playing ’70s.”
Obviously I have a complete and shimmering Personal Beauty Army in my hometown of Sydney, but now that I am kind of based in Melbourne (“Taking winter seriously since 1788!”) I wanted to find one here. And you’d be forgiven for thinking a beauty writer might have a myriad of choices, but really it comes down to word of mouth, this stuff, doesn’t it? A personal recommendation.
And so it is that I discovered MADE. Beauty Space in Hawthorn. I had driven (yes, that’s right, even despite all those frightening trams and terrifying hook turns) past it and noticed it a couple of times, which I have since decided was a sign. So when a friend recommended it to me, it took me about 0.02 hours to book an appointment.
Now, get ready, because this is one of those paragraphs that is better suited to, I don’t know, a terrible furniture catalogue or a first time salon reviewer or something.
As soon as I walked into the beauty space, as it were, I felt calm. It was simple, chic, cosy. Soft exposed bricks and polished concrete floors balanced out vivid flowers and wild, colourful art. It was small, too, but there’s nothing wrong with small. In fact, my two most beloved facialists in the world each operate in a One Room Salon, and it delights me. Something about it feels so private, and secretive and like you’ve entered someone’s (a very stylish, feminine nurturing someone’s) personal sanctuary, and they’re about to dedicate it entirely to making you look and feel wonderful. I like it.
All done, thanks for hanging in there.
So Stacey Burt, one of the owners alongside Richie Angelo (I must say, I do very much like the name Richie on a dame) warmly greeted me in the wait area/reception bit, and I began gushing about the decor and the art, and the water jugs, just being a really understated cool guy, then she showed me through to my treatment room, one of only two rooms in the joint, both as stylishly set up as each other with fun little colourful rugs, and old industrial style trolleys for the towels and so on, and lovely cosy warm brown/latte and white blankets.
I felt a bit like I was in The Design Files version of a beauty salon, basically.
What followed was maybe the most non-hurty and thorough wax I’ve ever had, (small sections is the key) and absolutely zero judging when I quietly asked for my ladystache to also please quickly be tended to. Oh COME ON! We all have them. Better off than on.
Then, the facial. A magnificent, first-class, energetic and nourishing Sodashi Thermal Infusion facial (you all know my thoughts on Australian chemical free skincare brand Sodashi by now) and this particular facial is fantastic when your skin is looking a bit meh, or you have something on in the next couple of days, and you’d like a face that is lovingly plumped up, and saturated with moisture and glow. I could tell Stacey was a pro not because, she literally is a professional, which is where the term “pro” is derived, but also because I fell deeply, gloriously asleep during the wonderful extended massagey bit. I always reckon this is where you can tell if your facialist is good, for the record. Consultation time is also important, but the way they massage, the energy and skill they apply, that’s what separates them from the rest.
All shitfaced with relaxation, I had a bit of a chat to the two girls (who met while training back in their native NZ over a decade ago) before leaving, and proceeded to fall for them and MADE. just that little bit harder. They care deeply about their clients, but also about the skincare they use on them, they’ve been in the biz long enough to know what Not To Do with a salon, or treatments, and that’s almost more important than knowing What To Do, in my opinion.
They have a genuinely grounded, holistic, intelligent perspective on skin, which is why they painstakingly chose the organic actives (Sodashi, Sans Ceuticals) they use, and strong/effective (O Cosmedics) line they did. I accidentally spent 20 minutes chatting to Stacey during my treatment about skin care, which ones I love, which ones she loves, why she chose the brands she did, but then, when it came to the massage, she just gently, politely stopped answering and talking, which is the most elegant way to tell a client to shut up and relax possible. Bravo.
They’ve only been open a few months, but are tremendously busy, which on the surprise level, was around the “not at all” level for me. Seems like these girls really have got it MADE!!!!
As if I was going to finish there. Give me some Godamn credit.
I haven’t even mentioned the fact there is THREE hour parking on the street (a small but big thing, it’s not that fun thinking about parking tickets when you’re mid-treatment, and yes Mum, I really did just write that sentence), or that there was zero chance of Enya being played, because they just stream cool shit from Spotify through to their wireless Sonos speakers (I only know what all of those words mean because we recently bought Sonos speakers for our home and they are BRILLIANT), and so I was treated to The Lumineers, and Sia and Bonobo and Cinematic Orchestra, and that made me real happy, because my brain always pays way too much attention to what music is playing during facials or massages, and if it sucks, well, I notice.
Things shouldn’t suddenly become naff, and pink and frilly, or sterile and clinical or daggy and ’80s just because you have decided to look after your skin and body. And amazingly, this exact thing happens all the time. I have no idea why so many beauty salons insist on subscribing to this horrible and outdated idea of making you feel like you’re, well, in a beauty salon. MADE. Beauty Space feels and looks like a beautiful, stylish little home, and I reckon any of you will be bloody thrilled should you visit.