By Helene Ravlich
If you’re anything like me, you turn to friends for recommendations on the best beauty destinations to hit up – you’ll know you’ll get brutally honest answers, backed up with years of expensive R&D!
With that in mind, I’ve rounded up the top five names that have been recommended to me most over the last year or so, all of which came with glowing reviews. And I’m always open to trying new places, so if you have a recommendation of your own – hit me up!
Best Facials: Skintopia
Skintopia calls itself a “results-driven, scientifically based skin treatment salon”, and is the work of the very clever Natasha Bourke. As well as being the founder of Skintopia (which opened in Wellington last year) Natasha is the CEO for Two Hundred Doors, the New Zealand distributor for Dermalogica.
Skintopia opened Auckland’s first open-plan “Skin Lounge” just over a year ago, and their lunchtime-style treatment – a 30 minute glow up in the form of the ProSkin 30 treatment – was an instant hit. It involves a thorough custom cleanse and Facemapping, before a completely bespoke treatment rolled out designed around targeting each client’s greatest concerns. You can power this up with the likes of Hydrodermabrasion, a Contour Mask or LED, then you’re free to go on your way in well under an hour. They also offer treatment rooms for the more lengthy and advanced treatments, which could be a ProSkin 60 with enhancements or the likes of a Dermalogica Pro Power Peel, Dermal Pen or Oxygen Boost.
Skintopia prides themselves on handpicking the best qualified skin therapists who are all experts in their craft, and fanatical about skin – their head trainer, Laura is an award-winner – and it’s also a great place to pick up products from coveted brands such as Dermalogica, The Beauty Chef, Aleph Beauty and Dose & Co (my favourite protein powder and collagen product, hands down), to really get to work on your skin, from within.
Best Brows: OFF & ON
As the first of its kind in New Zealand, OFF & ON continues to capture the market with its expertise and range of high-quality services. More than a decade of brows and hair removal has seen many trends come and go, yet OFF & ON has always believed in a different approach – which has stood the test of time. With locations all over Auckland and a refreshingly irreverent and cheeky personality, you know that whatever OFF & ON location you book into, you’re getting to tap into their precious resource of highly trained beauty professionals and Training Managers who are experts in their respective fields.
My favourite brow artist is the incredible Taylor at OFF & ON Newmarket, who creates a true brow wow on me like none other. I especially appreciate that even though I’m a regular, she checks in each and every time to see whether my skincare or medication has changed, before talking me through the brow look and finish I’m looking for on that given day. The end result? Always on point.
Best Lashes: Lash Noir
Consistently voted in the top three lash professionals in the city, Lash Noir in City Works Depot is dedicated to all things lashes—perming, tinting and lash extensions, as well as being a wealth of knowledge about the latest trends and innovations. Lifting, extending and shaping six days a week, the team at Lash Noir believes the beauty lies in balancing the features of a clients face for a result that is yours alone. Treatments include Lash Perming, Tinting, Extensions and the now-iconic Yumi Lash Lift, and their unique application techniques ensure each client’s natural lashes remain in perfect health, and the finish is soft, seamless, durable and most importantly, comfortable.
Best Nails: The Art of Nails
With salons in Albany, Ponsonby, Newmarket, Sylvia Park and Commercial Bay, it’s safe to say that The Art of Nails has the city pretty much covered – and I’ve never heard a bad review from any of their locations. I love the affordable luxe vibe that I’ve personally experienced in their Ponsonby and Commercial Bay salons, with super well-priced treatments and great nail experts. They also only use the best of the best – from their products to equipment and facilities – and whoever you book with you get great service and the freshest set. My local is the Ponsonby salon, which is at the Three Lamps end of the famous Ponsonby strip and blissfully open seven days a week.
Massage: Spring Spa and Golden Fingers
It’s a tie! For traditional Thai massage at a very affordable price point, the massage at Golden Fingers is just the ticket if you’re after something a little more intense than your usual beauty therapist delivers. I love the feeling of each and every muscle being thoroughly worked, especially after a week of hitting the gym and needing a good kneading!
If you’re looking for something with an extra touch of luxe as well as a highly-trained massage therapist, Spring Spa is my favourite for an experience that lasts and lasts. The Spring Signature Massage is always a great choice, and the luxurious sheets and soft, snuggly duvet are just so wonderful to dive into on a chilly day.