Instead of your usual neighbourhood standbys, check out the best places to get prettied up for the big event, from blowouts and makeovers to mani-pedis and spas.
Salons and hair services
The Editor Salon
Getting a makeover for your tresses before the party season hits may seem hair-raising, but at The Editor Salon, you’re in safe hands. Led by director-founder Chefuu Lee, The Editor Salon is known for their stylish hair makeovers. From soft Japanese-style trims to edgy British cuts, complex ombre dyes to balayage (a French freehand colouring technique; think Rosie Huntington-Whitely and Jessica Alba) highlights, and even gorgeous graduation bobs to wavy ceramic perms, a makeover here is definitely worth the drive to Setia Alam. From RM35
Spend the day before the party in Bangsar’s latest all-in-one beauty hall. 176 Avenue offers waxing, eyelash extensions and manicures (using vegan and non-toxic polishes from Australian cult favourites Kester Black and Sienna Byron Bay), plus a fashion house and Hair Soho, a salon helmed by one of our favourite hair directors, Nick Siow. From RM48
Centro W Salon
From humble beginnings in Sungei Wang, Centro has become a big, glossy, glamorous salon with a long history of fashion shows and editorials. While its styling might shout rock star glamour, Centro’s newest salon actually offers a relaxing and intimate atmosphere to complement its (as expected) top-notch service. After its move one floor down at The Gardens Mall, Centro W is approaching one year old. Flamboyantly black with gold accents, the salon has been cleverly divided into a range of treatment rooms, from the larger stylists’ room and the ‘quick cuts’ lounge to the deluxe VIP rooms and Director’s Cut room, providing the feeling of seclusion and privacy, even when there’s someone under a hairdryer next to you. When Centro W invited me to experience their ‘hair makeover’ service, I was happy to visit and find out firsthand what makes the salon so popular. After a precise and thoughtful cut at the hands of salon director Kevin Woo, I think it’s the attention to detail and personalised service that makes this salon a great one. Woo skillfully turned my thick, unmanageable hair, which hung limply like floppy dog’s ears, into a lighter, fresher ‘do with more movement and shape, and offered tips for at-home styling. Usually one to treat trips to the salon as a chore, I am already looking forward to my next appointment. Leah O’Hearn
Manicurists and nail spas
Posh! Nail Spa
The last time our manicurist coaxed us to switch to gel polish (and showed us the hefty price tag), we balked – gel polish is notoriously known for being hard to remove. But Posh! promises a soothing experience, one that’ll sculpt your nails to perfection and stave off cracks. The ‘Indulgence Mani/Pedi’ has proven to be an all-time favourite, which includes a sugar scrub with water lily extract to exfoliate your hands and feet, followed by nail trimming, callus removal, a light massage and a polish of your choice. Posh!’s service is also impeccable in other ways: nail art, extensions and henna make perfect add-ons to their collection of glittery, knockout nail lacquers. If you’re rocking a halterneck and have forgotten to wax, this salon nails a bang-up speed waxing job too. Indulgence manicure from RM59; pedicure, RM69
Nails on Wheels
Save time and skip the travelling as this mobile service attends to your manicure and waxing needs in the comfort of your home. The service comes in handy when you’re too embarrassed to parade your calluses outdoors. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for an appointment. nailsonwheels.com.my
For a professional makeover, Shu Uemura has two options: Get their certified artists for RM190 (free when you spend a minimum of RM400 on Shu Uemura products) or their locally trained beauty stylists for RM159 (free when you spend a minimum of RM350). Your makeover will start with a skin consultation – to see what products suit you best – before moving on to the basic skincare routine of cleansing, toning and moisturising. The actual makeup session takes about 45 minutes but if time permits, throw in a 20-minute 3D brow styling to complete your look. We suggest you also cop their cleanser, which doubles as a makeup remover. www.shuuemuramy.com
Here’s the deal: Buy any product from Clinique and get a free makeover. We did a run to Clinique and the most affordable item at Clinique is possibly the adorable Chubby Stick (RM66 each) lip colour balm. Stocking stuffer and makeup, sorted. Best to book three days ahead. www. clinique.com.my
The Body Shop
With a minimum purchase of RM150 worth of makeup products, you can get a complimentary makeup session from The Body Shop. Get gifts for your #girlsquad and look good for the party. Our advice: Call ahead to check as selected outlets provide the service on weekdays only. www.thebodyshop.com.my
Blink Threading & Waxing Studio
With the number of parties this festive season, you’re going to want to look your best. Threading services here come at an affordable price: RM10.60 for eyebrow and upper lip threading and RM21.20 for underarm threading – it’s quick and (almost) pain-free. Our tip: Ask for rose water after as it’ll help calm the redness of the skin. Other beauty services are also available such as facials, eyelash and eyebrow tinting, henna art and skin bleaching to remove unwanted dark spots. Walk-ins are welcomed for the threading services but it’s best to make an appointment for other treatments.
Bubble Gum Wax
To banish unsightly hair before the big shindig, Bubble Gum Wax’s legion of loyal fans swears by its body waxing services, which are said to be almost a pain-free experience. First-timers going all in (or off) for a Brazilian will only have to pay RM29 (instead of up to RM96), while ‘full leg virgins’ get 20 percent off the price of a full-leg wax. Men aren’t spared either; new male customers get to choose between a Boyzilian or chest and stomach wax for only RM59. The rooms here are cosy and comfy, but perhaps what keeps fans coming back is the service. The therapists are known to be friendly and chatty to ease the otherwise nerve-racking experience of getting waxed. Bonus: If your nails need a bit of a pick-me-up, the Casa Tropicana and Subang outlets also feature a nail bar. Leg wax from RM46; underarm wax from RM16; Brazilian from RM76; Boyzilian from RM96.
This one-stop beauty salon offers everything from mani-pedis and brow shaping to face and body waxing. You can even be playful with your Brazilian here: Get the ‘Coração Brasilia’ for a cheeky heart shape. Leg wax from RM58; underarm wax from RM34; Coração Brasilia, RM125.
For a good wax this side of town, Furless is your place. The salon uses three different kinds of waxes depending on hair type and area: one for sensitive skin, one to remove longer, coarse hair and another to tackle the finer ones. Leg wax from RM58; underarm wax from RM35; Brazilian, RM110.
Honeypot Wax Boutique
With a cheeky, boudoir-inspired interior to go with its sex kitten mascot, Honeypot offers various waxing services. Its speciality is the range of intimate-area waxes in various styles. Ask for the ‘Hollywood’ to get it all off. Leg wax from RM63.60; underarm wax, RM33.90; Hollywood, RM114.50.
Spas and facial services
This is when you want to give in, thoroughly cleanse yourself and really relax. And you can’t go wrong with Hammam: The beautiful space is a faithful replica of a Turkish bath in Morocco while the treatments are good. At the very least, go for their signature 45-minute hammam and gommage (RM160). Yes, it can get a tad vigourous but this steam and detox treatment will scrub the grime out of you – just what you need after the night you’ve had. We highly recommend you upgrade to a package that includes this traditional exfoliation treatment plus a massage; prices start from RM325.
If all you want is a straight-up massage, and especially if you like it hard, Donna Spa in Starhill Gallery is one of the best around. The spa employs therapists that are trained in traditional midwifery so they know how to get the angin out of you. The signature Excellent Donna Massage (RM280 for 60 minutes) uses a mix of deep thumb acupressure and long strokes; it focuses more on healing than relaxing.
If you’re just looking for a quick skin refresh in between gifts shopping – or if you’re broke – the Origins counters at major department stores offer a free ten-minute mini facial (cleanse, tone, serum and moisturise). Yes, there may be some gentle sales pitch but hey, it’s only fair. Otherwise, go for the full whack: a one-hour facial will set you back RM127 while the 90-minute facial costs RM159.
One the best beauty salons in the city, Sothys has a new one-hour treatment designed to target and resolve your skin’s specific concern. You’ll go through a pre-treatment skin diagnosis to help determine the best ampoule for your skin, whether it’s to hydrate and protect, reduce wrinkles, reduce redness or soothe sensitivity, just to name a few. This is not a simplified, express facial; there’s a lot to get through in one hour: deep cleansing, mild peeling, deep pore cleansing, gentle extraction, mask, serum, lotion, eye care and more. Of course, there’ll also be simple head, facial and shoulder massages to reinvigorate your mind. sothys.com.my
The Spa at The Club Saujana Resort
If you’ve been partying hard, get the two-hour Char-Detox Experience to help cleanse your body. It includes: 10-minute aromatherapy foot bath, 60-minute detoxifying massage, 30-minute charcoal body polish and 20-minute herbal steam bath. This spa package is priced at RM290 per person or RM530 per couple.
Now, for that sore and tired body, Thai Odyssey is a convenient choice since they are open in most malls in the city. Get the 30-minute half body massage (RM58); the deep tissue techniques can help release the muscle tension on your head, neck and shoulder that’s built up by stress. www.thaiodyssey.com