One of the fastest ways to go from scruffy to groomed is with a manicure. A pop of colour on your nails can lift a look in no time. But what if you could next-level your nails? There’s a simple solution at your, ahem, fingertips: nail art.
Onyx Aesthetics offer a creative nail art service in Gastown, which you can pair with a mini-manicure for maximum effect. Nail art doesn’t have to be blingy or complicated. One trend is just to add accent art to one nail on each hand which could be glitter, hand-painted flowers or hand-painted marble stone effects. Get a mini-mani and an accent nail art piece and you’ll be in and out in less than your lunch hour.
Of course, the fastest way to change your look is it to get a haircut. I’m a fan of the drastic bang cut to get a serious look change, but Michael Gibson from Brush Salon suggests that you can get a pop of colour during your lunchtime too.
“Try base softening. It’s a quick and easy way to lighten and warm someone’s natural level without compromising the integrity of the hair by using a permanent colour to lift their colour approximately 1-2 levels in less than 10 minutes.
"This technique can only be used on hair that has not been previously coloured [root regrowth]. I love this look because it gives them a subtle but soft, lighter base colour that grows out seamlessly as it is not drastic and will give a soft regrowth and subtle demarcation. It's also perfect to pair with highlights as it can make someone much lighter with both a lighter base and brighter highlights! It's perfect for someone with blondorexia who feels they can never be blonde enough!”
Make a lunchtime dash to Sephora to score their fantastic complimentary 15-minute mini-makeover service as a walk-in client (you usually don’t have to wait more than 10 minutes). In this free service, they’ll expertly do one aspect of your makeup: eyes, lips, whatever, or they offer a speedy 15-minute mini-facial ‘mask and moisturize’ or a ‘peel and perfect.'
I tried the makeover and got crazy '50s cat-eye flicks. So gorgeous. If you want a more comprehensive service, book online and get a 45-minute full makeup session—all you need to do is purchase $50 worth of products (like you can avoid that whenever you go there anyway!).
There’s also a Benefit Brow Bar at the Robson store and they offer a wax, colour or tweeze 30-minute service. Lindsay B., one of the colour consultants at Sephora, assured me that changing brows, “is a huge change. They really frame the face and defined brows are a major trend right now.”
I am so glad that I don’t live in Yaletown. If I did, there’s no way I wouldn’t bankrupt myself going to The Glamoury every damn day. Offering a game-changer of a makeover service, you can get a 20-minute hair or makeup service here, along with longer treatments, too.
I went for the double: hair in a sexy, messy updo in precisely 18 minutes, and then a day-to-night makeup touch-up with killer flicky eyeliner in 21 minutes flat. I loved it so much I went back the next weekend and got a brilliant Joan-from-Mad-Men-style beehive to strut my stuff at the Deighton Cup. In and out in 20 minutes. Fox factor five warp speed.
I tried Noir Lash Lounge’s Le Fling, their fastest service, which attaches around 20 lashes to each eye, either on the outer corner or spread across the eye. I went for the latter: you just lie back on the couch, try not to freak out about having tape on your eyes (to stop them from glueing together) and breath. Less than 30 minutes later, I was out of the door with incredibly natural-looking fluttery lashes. I kind of adored it. It’s subtle but really perks your look up. Most importantly, it’s super fast. You’re in and out in 25 minutes.
I’ll be honest, I was dreading this. Last time I had a fake tan I wound up looking like an Oompa Loompa and smelling like a chemical fire. No such horrors at Spa on 4th, thank goodness. This was the Vita Liberata treatment that’s a favourite of stars including One Direction, Gwyneth Paltrow and Rita Ora and... guess what? Those folks are not kidding around when it comes to looking red-carpet ready.
The tanner is sprayed directly on your body and develops pretty much instantly. You shouldn’t shower for eight hours afterwards, but it’s reassuringly non-sticky and it just smells slightly sugar-y (it’s an organic, paraben-free product derived from sugar cane).
Pro tip: I’m writing this five days later and I still look like I went on a cruise in the Bahamas (and sensibly used lotion but developed a gorgeous golden glow.) My advice, strip down to nothing. Forget the paper spa knickers, you’ll get the weirdest tan line. Wait until you dry—maybe five to 10 minutes—before getting dressed again. I wore jeans and had no smudges on my legs at all. Amazing, and I was in and out in less than 30 minutes.
Didn't have time to get ready in the morning? We've all been there before. Here are six spots in Vancouver that will doll you up on your lunch break
Imagine the scenario: you’re at work, it’s just another regular day and then the phone rings. No, wait, that’s nonsense, no one ever calls. OK, lemme try again. Dream if you will the picture of you at work and then you get an email. It’s from that cray-hot dreamboat that you’ve been having all kind of splendid thoughts about and they want you to come to something awesome tonight.
Except, of course, you are dressed for just a regular day at work. You have zero snap, no crackle and you appear to be fresh out of pop. Never fear. There are solutions at hand. We tested out a variety of emergency spa fixes you can get done during your lunch hour which will leave you looking noticeably more glam. You are welcome.
Nikki Bayley is an award-winning travel writer, guide book author and spirits and cocktail journalist whose work appears in National Geographic Traveller, The Globe and Mail and the Difford’s Guide. A cheese fan, hula hooper and all-round word nerd, she writes regularly for BCLiving about food, drink, spas and everything else that makes life worth living.