I’ve always wished to have a professional make-over, one which is practical and allows you to take your new look home. Back in June, when my hair was long and unruly, and my reflections on my future prospects of dating as grey as my sweater, I thought I’d enter this FB competition run by The Beauty Suite in Durban. Really, who wouldn’t, right? I never dreamt I’d win, but I did! I guess the universe wanted me to finally meet one of my fairy godmothers (or their human daughters). Mine would be golden-hearted Saafeeya. She’s the owner of The Beauty Suite, a celebrity cosmetologist, and beauty therapist. Here’s how she and her hairstylist, Rags, worked their magic on me in a little over two and a half hours!
Just Like Cinders…
The Beauty Suite recently relocated to a residential area near Sherwood. We didn’t get lost (Dad was chauffeuring me as usual hence a ticking clock—I didn’t need to get to the Ball, but they did) and I arrived at 10am on Saturday morning, just a little nervous. Saafeeya welcomed me and led me through into the place where it all happens. As we waited for the two other winners to arrive, I relaxed.
The salon is compact, professionally equipped, and decorated in a way I love and think of as homey-chic—just the right level of homeyness to keep you comfortable, but with all those deft and chic touches which let you know you’re in a professional salon.
Saafeeya is younger than I expected, and the epitome of heart meets professional. It’s impossible not to be won over by her candor and great vibes. “I want to uplift and empower woman through feeling beautiful and self-confident,” she said to me, when I thanked her. “And I want them to be able to afford it.” And because she intended waxing my face (something I’ve never done) I had to ask her about her qualifications. Turns out my magic-worker is a veteran of salons and has run the spa for four years already, having previously been situated in Morningside.
“Working from here lowers the rental, so I can offer more affordable prices,” said Saafeeya later on as she deftly shaped my eyebrows. This practicality and taking into account modern budgets is something Safeeya and her team are all about.
As we waited for one more winner to arrive, Saafeeya cast a professional look over my face and explained the steps I would undergo: waxing of my face, a hair cut and set, and finally the waving of her magic make-up wands, before some photos. “Don’t think this stalkerish, but I analysed your face before you came,” confessed Saafeeya with the kind of look I give my eBook formatting, blog post, and a new draft—the look of someone taking notes, running over the plan, and making small adjustments to said plan. I should have felt weird, but didn’t because I knew without a doubt I was in the presence of a dedicated professional. Turns out I have a lot to be thankful for inheriting: good skin (thank you loads of water and hot chocolate, too!), large eyes (this surprised me as I think of them as small), a beautiful nose (which also surprised me as I think of it as big!), and an almost oval face. Lesson to me: what I often think of as ‘flaws’ in myself, others find beautiful.
Waxing proved not at all traumatic, and downright therapeutic as Saafeeya and I chatted and empathised with each other. I’m usually quite reserved and don’t often get into such deep conversations with people I hardly know, but this seems to be the norm at The Beauty Suite. Like I said, therapeutic!
Coming out of the Fringes
Once Saafeeya had defuzzed my face, I was handed over to Rags, the hairstylist. With a completely different energy, Rags is straight-forward and down-to-earth. She advised against colouring my grey hair for various reasons including my natural colour is currently trending, and the costs and time it would need for me to maintain any other colour. I was secretly pleased as I had coloured my hair years ago and had a slight reaction to it. Rags also told me the reasons why she and Safeeya had chosen the angled bob for me. “Keeping it longer at the front makes you look more youthful.” And, “You can easily blow it at home and it will set.” I loved her already. Any cut which is low maintenance is a winner for me!
Rags and I chatted about life, the tarot, and being a woman in the ‘inbetween’ generation: not stay at homes like our mothers, and not quite as free of tradition as our younger counterparts. When Rags commented on the strange way my hair grows at the back, I told her how my gran used to describe it. She paused, looked at me, and said, “Exactly!” I had to giggle as she continued expertly clipping, straightening and getting the various lengths of hair just so.
Quick and Dirty Tips in The Magical Make-up Chair
After a cup of tea, it was my turn in the much anticipated magical make-up chair. Saafeeya opened up her silver case. “My magic box,” she grinned with contentment, as she took out various compacts, brushes, pencils and bottles. There was no need for her to say this was going to be her favourite part. I glanced at the clock and was concerned to see it was almost midday! Would she be able to work her magic in time before I had to leave? My nervousness grew.
Saafeeya turned me to the light, studied my face once again, and began quite unexpectedly with moisturiser. “A good moisturiser is the foundation of it all,” she said. “It stops the colour foundation from cracking and flaking.” And so began Saafeeya’s quick and dirty make-up tips. I was surprised to discover my sparse eyebrows (and my pocket, too) would benefit more from a gel product than a pencil, and that a dab of highlighter on the corner of each eye really opens them up!
Saafeeya would stop often to evaluate my face and the all-important foundation, giving my features an intent look—with sponge, fingers or brush poised, much like an any other artist or sculpture finding the next brush-stroke or bits to be refined. “I’m sorry, but I’m OCD, as you’ll see,” admitted Saafeeya. “Everything has to be perfect!”
Every now and again Saafeeya would turn me to the mirror so I could view the work in progress. At one point I was shocked to see that my face looked fluffy with powder! Then she gave her impish grin and said, “And now the magic happens in the blending!” With that, she deftly waved her magic brush to reveal a flawless finish.
Then came the eyebrows and another revelation for me. “They’re most important as they frame the face,” Saafeeya said with gravity. “Get them right and every thing else falls into place.”
Saafeeya painstakingly worked on my eyes, nose and cheeks as the minutes seemed to fly by, reminding me more and more of an artist at work creating a masterpiece. “I want you to look like you, only a better version!” Saafeeya stated at one point as she brushed on mascara. I felt then that this must be Saafeeya’s philosophy and greatest motivation. I reflected for a moment on all the time I had spent over the years on becoming a better version of myself internally whilst neglecting my exterior…Clearly, the universe had brought the right fairy-godmother into my life 🙂
More comfortable than a glass-slipper
My make-over was almost at an end. Saafeeya painted my lips with a lip-stain in a colour I would never have tried myself, but which I ended up loving—a light and matte salmon. “Beautiful!” declared Saafeeya with satisfaction, still with her artist-intent look. Then, “Oh, wait. Just some highlighter for you nose.” A feather-light stroke later, and the transformation was complete!
I looked in the mirror with delight. It was me, but an enhanced version—just what Saafeeya had said she wanted to bring out. I could see my own glow, not just of the cosmetics, but almost as if Saafeeya had made visible some of the inner light I knew I carried but could not see myself. It is empowering, or rather a confirmation of my empowerment, at least for me. Something I had never had visual, personal acknowledgement of before…Perhaps, I wasn’t wearing a mask or a face, but some kind of magnifier? Another unexpected gift from Saafeeya and the universe 😀 And for the umpteenth time, I realised how lucky I was to have this confirmation after what had been a difficult week, and a truly challenging four years. I had felt a shift, a changing of the winds in my life since late June, and at that moment, I understood that all this was a personal heralding of something new and magical coming into my life.
“We’re going to find you a man now!” Saafeeya said again, her pleasure at my pleasure evident as I posed for the After photos.
And then, like Cinders all over again, I could only give her a hug and others a rushed goodbye as time had desperately run out. As I fled up the stairs, my hair light and blowing in the wind, I wondered how long the spell would last. Would it make itself felt out in the real world?
Rags’ hairstyling survived the heavy winds with no apparent damage. And I felt comfortable with my new look and the unusual make-up. I did draw a little more attention than expected, and my mum, later that evening while looking at me as if for the first time, said, “You look really beautiful! You should always look like that!”
The next day at a family prayer, my hair once again drew attention, but I could not do the make-up (actually I was in a total hurry and barely had time to put my shoes on, never mind make-up) but the awareness of how others probably see me stayed—that internal magnifier moment may well be permanent or semi-permanent in some way. There’s no doubt about it, Saafeeya is a fairy-godmother wielding the most magical of brushes, and Rags a wizard of the highest order on the subject of hair. How could I not fail to meet my Prince after all their efforts?
About The Beauty Suite
With a professional team led by internationally qualified beauty therapist and cosmetologist Saafeeya Mahomed and veteran hairstylist, Rags, The Beauty Suite offers you the latest trends in the industry at the most affordable prices possible.
Services by appointment only. Gift cards are available. Strictly cash, debit or credit card only.
Address: 36 Newbliss Gardens, Durban (2km off Jans Smuts Highway, Sherwood)
Tel: 031 826 5557
Mobile/Whatsapp: 083 783 8011
Images and artwork:
Makeover photos by The Beauty Suite
All other photos by Leenna/Leennascreativebox
Movie frame effect by Pixabay.com
All other artwork by Leennascreativebox