Beauty editor Ashleigh Cometti spent a whirlwind 48 hours in the Emerald City sampling the best beauty treatments the city has to offer.
WHERE TO STAY
I’ve never been one to pack light. Even on the shortest of city breaks, I’m always packing as if I’m going to be met with four seasons’ worth of weather in two days.
So, if you’re anything like me, you’ll be delighted to learn that the most recent collaboration between QT Hotels & Resorts and Dyson is sure to save you even more space in your checked luggage with the unveiling that its suite of signature hair technologies has been rolled across all QT hotels in Australasia.
It’s the first time the hair innovators have engaged in a partnership such as this, which speaks volumes to the calibre of care promised at each QT property.
The much-hyped Dyson Supersonic hair dryer is now a mainstay in every QT guest room, while the cordless Dyson Corrale straightener is available upon request.
The partnership has been positioned as a hotel mane-changer, and as someone who tends to stash both her hairdryer and straightener in her suitcase whenever I travel, I tend to agree.
I was invited to spend 48 hours in the city, starting with a one-night stay at the QT Sydney, with its eccentric curiosities making for a very unique hotel stay indeed.
Upon arrival, I wasted no time in washing off my post-flight muck and getting to work blow-drying and styling my hair ahead of an afternoon of meetings.
Keen to try something different, I watched a handful of the exclusive Dyson instructional styling videos on the in-room TV. Each one shares tips on how to use the Dyson devices available on different hair types.
READ: The Most Stylish Places To Visit Next Time You’re In Australia
I was lucky enough to experience a change of scenery a day later when I checked in to QT Bondi, which promises an entirely different experience to the signature quirk and charm of the QT Sydney.
But the same creature comforts remained, extra-long pillows, blackout curtains for the best kind of beauty sleep, and Kevin Murphy amenities aplenty.
A stone’s throw away from one of Australia’s most popular beaches, QT Bondi boasts a kind of coastal cool that feels a world away from the hustle and bustle of Sydney’s lively CBD.
WHERE TO PAMPER YOURSELF
Have your brows “debulked” with a Signature Brow Sculpt Service at Amy Jean Brow Agency
No ordinary brow salon, Amy Jean Brow Agency promises to deliver an elevated experience — quite literally — 10 storeys up inside Sydney’s iconic St James Trust Building. My brow artist led me to a light-filled treatment room which overlooked Hyde Park.
Adhering to a philosophy that prioritises “debulking” over trimming, she plucked out the longer hairs in my eyebrow rather than trim them — something I’m not familiar with given the preference for a fuller, fluffed-up brow in Aotearoa.
The treatment also involves waxing and tinting, although my brow artist seemed to have more of a penchant for plucking than anything.
While I left with brows that were darker and more defined than when I walked in, truthfully, they were much thinner through the arch and tail than I’d usually opt for. Better suited to those who subscribe to a sculpted, thin Y2K brow I think.
Price and place: $85 for a 45-minute treatment. St James Trust Building, Suite 1020, Level 10, 185 Elizabeth St. Amyjean-collection.com
Test and treat your tresses at the Styling Bar inside the Dyson Demo
Is this Sydney’s best kept secret? I was lucky enough to experience not one but two free blow waves during my stint in the city, and was surprised there weren’t queues outside the door.
Back home, a bouncy blow out will set you back around $45-$80 depending on your hair length, but this complimentary salon service includes a wash, dry and style using Dyson’s most innovative hair tech.
My stylist Liz told me she’d spent 20 years in the hair industry while washing my hair at the basin using products by Ouai and Aveda Haircare, before leading me round the corner to one of three styling stations.
Working with the recently renovated Dyson Airwrap, Liz used the brush attachment to dry my hair to 70 per cent, lifting from the root to add extra volume. Next, she used the 40mm large barrel, curling my hair and clipping it to cool.
While I was being primped and preened, Sara was in the lab analysing three strands of my hair under a microscope. As a bottle blonde, I was nervous to hear my results — but was pleasantly surprised that my at-home haircare regime has meant my ends aren’t nearly as brittle or damaged as I thought.
Price and place: Both services are complimentary and take approximately 30 minutes each (depending on hair length for the blow wave). 285 George St. Dyson.com.au
Experience an exclusive Emma Lewisham facial at Fenn
Find Fenn nestled into a quaint block of shops in Paddington, a soothing space which points to products aligning with its ethos (including a few familiar faces like Sans Ceuticals, Baina and Emma Lewisham).
I was booked in for the Fenn x Emma Lewisham facial, which highlights the brand’s best-sellers including its newest addition, the Supernatural Sleeping Mask. After a warming cup of lemon tea, therapist and co-owner Lauren led me to a dimly-lit room downstairs and invited me to disrobe and recline on the pre-warmed bed. The edges of which lifted up, reminding me of a cosy hug.
The treatment started with a facial steam and double cleanse, before light exfoliation and physical extraction. Next came the LED, and I thought I was about to meet Jesus when Lauren first turned the machine on (she did pre-warn me that the Ominlux machine they use is medical-grade, meaning its extra bright and that my eyes would adjust). They did after about two minutes.
READ: Emma Lewisham Is Sharing Her Trade Secrets With The Entire Beauty Industry
I was spoiled with a soothing arm and hand massage while the LED worked its magic to soothe my skin and restore its glow.
A lymphatic massage followed, starting at my shoulder and using fast, rhythmic movements up my neck towards my jawline.
Every movement was slow and deliberate, as she rolled my skin between her thumb and fingers in short, vigorous motions to encourage blood flow, lymphatic drainage, movements from the centre of my face up towards my temples.
The finishing touch was an application of the new Supernatural Sleeping Mask, which was applied with a gua sha which had been cooled to soothe my skin.
Price and place: $290 for a 75-minute treatment. 24 Glenmore Road, Paddington. Fennstore.com
Book in for a luxurious Chanel Manicure at Jocelyn Petroni
This treatment review should come with a warning: A Chanel manicure at Jocelyn Petroni will ruin all other manicures for you.
It’s the first and only manicure I’ve ever had lying down and at one point I truly thought I was about to drift off. My manicurist Jo had only been at Jocelyn Petroni for three weeks, but it felt more like three years.
He started with a simple file and buff, cuticle massage and soak. With cuticles softened and pushed back, Jo got to work applying a base coat then three coats of my selected shade (I opted for the Le Vernis Rouge Puissant — Chanel’s answer to a classic firetruck red).
Ever the perfectionist, Jo tidied the edges of my nails with nail polish remover, before treating me to a hand massage using Chanel’s cult favourite hand cream — Chanel Les Mains.
I was invited back into the reception area to wait while my nails fully dried, enjoying the soothing silence that comes with the team’s aversion to wearing shoes, and penchant for speaking in hushed tones (which made me feel instantly embarrassed that I’d burst through the door upon arrival shouting how sorry I was for being 15 minutes late).
Try the Duchess of Sussex’s go-to lymphatic facial massage
It’s the treatment of choice for the likes of Meghan Markle and Margot Robbie, and one that award-winning facialist and internationally-renowned skin expert Isabella Loneragan is well-versed in.
While I didn’t have time to visit her in her eponymous skincare clinic during my stint in Sydney, I was invited to experience one of her signature Intrinsic Facials while she visited our side of the ditch.
She’s spent the better part of two decades pursuing her passion for dermatology and cosmeceutical skincare, and has trained in advanced sculpture massage and buccal massage under Parisian facial expert Yakov Gershovich.
Her treatments call for a technique known as the IntraOral facial sculpting massage, which involves massaging facial muscles around the face and inside the mouth (don’t worry, gloves are involved) to create a visibly lifted look (minus the injectables). Not to mention it helps to relieve stress and tension around the jaw and masseter muscle area, which can build up from actions like clenching or tooth grinding.
Immediately following my treatment, my skin was much glowier and the lower half of my face didn’t feel as tense. I’m terrible at clenching my jaw, so the relief I felt instantly afterward was bliss.
Price and place: POA for a 60-minute treatment. Isabella’s clinic is located at a private address south of Sydney in Bowral, in the Southern Highlands region. Details are available upon booking – email [email protected] or see Ilskin.com.au
WHERE TO SHOP
Staying in the CBD? Prepare to empty your wallet in Pit St Mall, which is home to a number of skincare superstores and beauty emporiums.
K-beauty brand Innisfree sits proudly by the entrance to Westfield, with its floor-to-ceiling glass doors opening up to Pit St Mall. Inside, discover all manner of eco-conscious beauty buys, including specialty sheet masks, plant-based skincare and fuss-free makeup.
Around the corner, Jurlique offers a truly sensorial experience with ample testers on display to experience its rosewater-laced offerings before you buy, while L’Occitane’s grand-looking flagship features multiple mirrored stations and velvet bar stools to encourage shoppers to take a load off while browsing its many skin, hair, fragrance and body collections.
Mall must-visits aside, a short stroll from Westfield is Aesop’s signature store which offers a unique olfactory experience with the sensorium. The pink-hued granite structure sits proudly along the back wall, and includes a specially-created infusion chamber to allow shoppers to immerse themselves in the fables behind each fragrance.
Myer’s Beauty Emporium highlights a curated collection of makeup, bath, body and candle brands, with a zone dedicated to A-beauty (Australian beauty), while David Jones’ Elizabeth St flagship sees luxury beauty brands like Sisley, Armani, Givenchy, La Mer and La Prairie situated on the same level as high-end fashion labels including Gucci, Balenciaga and Louise Vuitton.
Mecca fans will be spoilt for choice — there’s a decent-sized counter inside Myer but the stand-alone store on Market Street offers, in my opinion, a much better shopping experience, heralding the latest launches from Mecca-exclusive brands like Charlotte Tilbury, Kosas and Nars, not to mention a high staff-to-customer ratio meaning there’s always someone close by to field your questions.
A bit further afield, Bondi has beauty boutiques aplenty. Located approximately 20 minutes from Sydney’s CBD, expect to find a handful of stores that reflect the beachside town’s relaxed vibe. You can smell Le Labo before you can see it, with its signature scents wafting all the way down Gould Street. The apothecary-style space is lined with fine fragrances and bodycare, and a comfy leather armchair should you wish to rest tired feet.
On the other side of the road is Bondi Wash (its products are stocked locally at Superette), which specialises in products brimming with Australian botanicals, designed for home, body, baby and pets.
EXTEND YOUR STAY
If you’re in town a little longer, consider one of these luxurious beauty treatments from Sydney’s top facialists, massage therapists and nail technicians.
Unwind with a Six Hand Body Massage at Venustus
381 Oxford St, Paddington
Sweat it out with a Fire & Ice Treatment at Slow House Bondi
151 Curlewis St, Bondi Beach
Take a dip in an aquamedic pool at the Gillian Adams Salon & Spa
1356 Pacific Hwy, Turramurra
Get your glow on with an Organic Hydrating Glow Facial with celebrity facialist Melanie Grant
3 Transvaal Ave, Double Bay
Treat yourself to a Sleeping Beauty Treatment at Belameres*
Level 1/336 New South Head Road, Double Bay
*Treatment requires a two-hour consultation first so a good option if you’re in Sydney for a while.
Experience the resurfacing magic of skin needing at The Skin Bar
Suite 5/402 New South Head Rd, Double Bay
Try a no-nasties Ladipolish manicure at Sumi Nails
Level 4, Shop 15, 227 Elizabeth St
Purify pores before your flight with The Jet Setter Facial at Self by The Parlour Room
1/210-212 Clovelly Rd, Randwick
Ashleigh was a guest of the QT Hotel Group, who kindly hosted her at two of its Sydney locations — QT Sydney and QT Bondi — in celebration of its partnership with Dyson, which will also be rolled out in all three New Zealand QT hotels (Auckland, Wellington and Queenstown). For more information, please visit Qthotels.com
*Gifted treatment with special thanks to the team at Fenn and Emma Lewisham
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