Friday 23 February 2018

The little black book of beauty secrets

A woman undergoing a beauty facial
A woman undergoing a beauty facial
Two women under hairdryers at a salon
An illustration of a woman having her hair cut at a salon
An illustration of a woman getting a massage at a day spa

Andrea Byrne, Andrea Smith and Bairbre Power

We've compiled an indispensable guide to the best-kept-secret beauty salons, need-to-know hairdressers and leading cosmetic doctors across Ireland.


Dr Peter Prendergast of Venus Medical in Dublin 14 has devised a rather ingenious skincare plan for those who want radical results without going under the knife. Skinsurance is a programme of cutting-edge medical cosmetic procedures such as fractional CO2, RF skin tightening, IPL and Mesoglow. The key to youthful skin is maintenance, says Prendergast, so to embark on a regular, monthly treatment plan, patients pay a one-off fee of €1,500 and €169 per month thereafter.


Ireland's hairdresser to the stars, Ceira Lambert, is responsible for the long, luscious tresses of the likes of Rosanna Davison and Claudine Palmer. She and her team in Shankill, Co Dublin, do all types of hairdressing, but are known for their application of Great Lengths Hair Extensions, which we're reliably told are the best around as they don't damage the hair and they deliver the most natural result. But be warned, they don't come cheap!


Another celebrity favourite, the team at Up to My Eyes, in Greystones, Wicklow, are pioneers of revolutionary brow and eyelash treatments. Customers rave about how natural they look and how, contrary to popular opinion, they don't destroy the condition of their natural lashes.


Blow opens at 7am every weekday, making it the perfect destination for your pre-work blowdry. On Mondays and Tuesdays, blowdrys are only €15. That's not all -- Blow, at the Four Seasons Hotel and Leeson Street, Dublin 4, is one of only a few Dublin salons that open on a Sunday.


Worry not, this treatment doesn't involve needles. It's an intense conditioning treatment that leaves hair smooth, soft and shiny. It takes only 15 minutes to apply, the transformation is remarkable and it works on even the most dry and processed of hair. Costs €70 at Dylan Bradshaw on William Street South, Dublin.


IPL (Intense Pulsed Light) is something of an underrated anti-ageing treatment. Why, we don't quite know. It's the best bar none for the removal of dark spots and freckles, and can even clear up live acne and the resulting blemishes. Of course, the machine is only as good as the technician. We recommend Patricia Molloy of the Derma Laser Clinic in Blackrock, Dublin. She's one of the early Irish pioneers of this technology and she instinctively knows how to yield maximum results with minimum downtime. Costs €200 per session (full face), or three for €500.


It's difficult to discern when someone has had good cosmetic work simply because they don't look 'done'. However, thanks to in vino veritas, many leading ladies have confided that the Avoca Clinic in Kilmacanogue in Wicklow is where they get their wrinkle-smoothing injections and dermal fillers. These women look rejuvenated as opposed to reconstructed -- no trout pout, shiny foreheads or pillow face. Treatments from €250.


When celebs go to Cork, they make a beeline for Pamela Morrissey's salon, Sobe Brown. Pam, official hairdresser on RTE's 'Today' show, has the coolest salon in the Rebel County, fusing her trademark warm, personal service with the cutting-edge skills she picked up during four years of working in New York. Apart from cuts, colours, Easilocks extensions and a great nail bar, this year's addition of a Sobe's Dry Styling Bar has upped the ante. For €12.50, clients get a 15 minute walk-in hair service, where casual upstyles, straightening, bouncy blowdrys, plaits and fringe trims can all be achieved on their dry hair.


A gorgeous salon with amazing nail technicians and a delectable menu of treatments, Mink is the ultimate in girlie pampering. Because all the mani and pedi stations are out in the open, it really lends itself to group sessions. At The Oval, Shelbourne Road, Ballsbridge, Dublin 4, and 45 Main Street, Donnybrook, Dublin 4.



The Spa @ No. 1 Pery Square, Limerick, is an oasis of calm in the heart of this busy city. The organic Urban Spa offers amazing treatments using the best natural products. They also have a gorgeous array of prenatal treatments for mammies-to-be and a Snooze Room to relax in after you have finished up.


Ask any woman in the greater Drogheda area where's the best place to get their make-up done and invariably they'll send you to Fuschia. A home-grown brand that specialises in mineral make-up and colour cosmetics, they have generated a cult following since they first launched in 2005 -- their smoky eye is legendary. Testament to this, they have recently opened a second store in Swords. Find it at the Pavilion Shopping Centre, and find the other one at Scotch Hall Shopping Centre, Drogheda, Co. Louth.


It's hard to get an appointment, but we urge you to persist because Ruth Doyle's facials are the gold standard. Expect organic, seasonal oils sourced from around the world applied by the best hands in the business at Powerscourt Townhouse, Dublin. Ruth is the go-to masseuse for a host of international stars, so if it's good enough for them...



Waxperts at Lower Georges St, Dun Laoghaire, Co Dublin, are committed to making the whole waxing process as fast, thorough and as painless as is possible. Also, big on hygiene, the waxperts don't believe in double-dipping, which means the spatula that's used to apply the wax is disposed of after it touches the skin.


Carol Joyce and Anna Forde are the dynamic duo behind Yourells of Galway, which has developed a reputation for being one of the best hair salons in the west of the country. They even give their lucky customers a complimentary blowdry class, where the client can bring in their own products and brushes and learn how to achieve the perfect blowdry at home. Yourells also offers its customers' children free haircuts at Christmas and just before the school year begins, and in return, the clients bring in old toys or make donations to children's charities, which we think is a lovely touch.


A regular contributor to 'Xpose' and creator of her own line of products including a best-selling fake tan -- Cocoa Brown -- Carter Beauty owner Marissa Carter is one of Ireland's finest young female entrepreneurs. Her salon has built up a reputation for being one of the best, and she counts Rosanna Davison, Pippa O'Connor, Karen Koster and a heap of other gorgeous glamazons among her loyal clients. Word is you won't get a better spray tan anywhere else than at 40 Main St, Blackrock, Co Dublin.


You won't get an appointment in either Brown Sugar salon the day of the IFTAs and the Style Awards. Why? Well, because all the staff of these one-stop hair and beauty shops are busy attending to the barnets and faces of Ireland's loveliest TV stars, models and society types. Give yourself a treat at 50 South William Street, Dublin 2, and 33 Main Street, Blackrock, Co Dublin.



Seapoint Clinic in Blackrock, Co Dublin gets the nod for some of the best cosmetic dentistry in Ireland. If you're on a budget, consider My Dental in Bath Avenue, Dublin 4, where the high-tech surroundings and expert dentists belie the keen prices.,


Modelling itself on the amazing mani and pedi bars that decorate the streets of American cities, New York Nails in Cork offers every service imaginable for your hands and feet. And while your therapist is hard at work at your gnarly toes, you can relax by watching one of the many flatscreen TVs while munching on something from their catered lunch menu.


No pain, no downtime, no needles -- we liked the sound of Reaction Viora treatments when Sue Machesney of Bellaza Beauty in Ranelagh recommend them for improved elasticity and firmer, younger looking skin. As the skin tightens, your features become more defined and people really comment on the results.


You don't have to fly to Thailand to enjoy the benefits of an authentic and rewarding Thai massage. Stresses, strains and hopefully some years will disappear as you chill out at the Thai Spa in the luxurious Lough Erne Resort, where practitioners use traditional therapies and Ytsara products.


The Otto Clinic in Limerick has been a leader in skin treatments and skin rejuvenation for many years, but what has become known as the vampire facelift has really gained attention this year. While it sounds scary, the treatment is centred around platelet-rich plasma therapy. It was first used to treat burn victims, but it is now used for sports injuries, in orthopaedics and heart surgery and, of course, to make people look younger. It works by taking the patient's blood -- don't worry, while it has the vampire tag, it is done via needle rather than a bite on the neck -- which is then treated to separate the red blood cells from the plasma and platelets. The platelet-enriched plasma is injected into the client's chosen area, and it works to smooth out lines and wrinkles and add volume to the face. The MD of The Otto Clinic, Ita Murphy, has been a registered nurse for 20 years and says it's the most natural way of reducing lines and wrinkles, especially around the eyes. The treatment costs about €500 and results last up to a year.


Such is the popularity of these two brow salons, run by sisters, Liz and Lorna Farrelly, that the last time we checked they were booked out way into next year. Why so popular? Well, all the technicians come from artistic backgrounds so they instinctively understand facial symmetry. Plus, they spend months in training. They also offer semi-permanent 18-24 month brows, which are the most natural we've seen. The best in the business, bar none. Find them at 124 Ranelagh Main St, Dublin 6, and The Powder Room, No 3, New St, Bantry, Co Cork.

Irish Independent

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