Shelley Carter meets beauty guru Rose Gallagher for a morning of girlie chatter and pampering
If you can’t find what you’re looking for in Selfridges shiny new beauty hall it probably doesn’t exist. However, I find that because of its size and pizzazz I wander round in a daze of information and sensory overload without buying a bean. The clever store people have addressed this by recruiting top beauty blogger and Brummie, Rose Gallagher, to offer shoppers an insider track to beauty nirvana. Rose’s official title is Personal Beauty Shopper which is a first for Selfridges. I booked myself in for a session pronto to find out what all the fuss was about and wondered how enlightening it was likely to be. I met Rose who gave me a very warm welcome and looked like she’d been up since the crack of dawn being airbrushed and blow dried, which gave me a bit of confidence that she knew her stuff. Having been aware I was having a few treatments, I’d turned up with hair scraped back and wild eyebrows. Needless to say I felt a bit shabby.
I’m not really a girlie-girl, but like most women I spend a sizeable chunk of my salary on beauty products, I wear a fair bit of make-up, but I don’t like to look like I’m wearing a lot of make-up and have worn the same perfume since I was 19. Happy to try something new (within reason) Rose and I set off on a tour of the hall. Because Rose isn’t dedicated to one particular brand, her knowledge is vast and I didn’t feel like I was being sold to which I thought I might. Rose asked me a lot of questions and understood likes and dislikes early on, so we didn’t waste time on brands that definitely wouldn’t appeal. Her top picks were all new to me and not necessarily from brands that I’d naturally gravitate to, like RMK. I didn’t feel any pressure to buy – it was more like browsing with an extremely clued-up friend, but I’ve since bought RMK’s cleansing balm which has made a difference. After taking things at a leisurely pace and learning a lot, I left Rose and headed off across the hall for a manicure. I never paint the nails on my hands with anything other than a clear top coat which seemed like a waste of a good manicure, so faced with 42 colour options I plumped for Midnight Blue. Nail technician Lauren had only been at the store for three days, but was a joy and my manicure stayed looking slick for a week which is pretty good going. The Salt of the Earth products she used smelled delicious. Lauren also chose something called Dadioil for the cuticles and the skin around my nails which also smelled gorgeous and was really smoothing. Next, I was off to the hair bar. While there is still a full Umberto Giannini salon, they’ve installed a blow dry bar next to the nail treatments and Blink Brows so you can get your nails, brows and hair sorted swiftly without moving very far. You can have a full wash and blow dry, but I opted for dry styling and a glass of fizz thank you very much.
HERE COME THE CURLS
I don’t know what came over me next – it could’ve been the champagne or maybe the prolonged intoxication of a beauty hall, but I agreed to having curls in my otherwise mildly wavy long hair. This was very out of character, but 20 minutes and some GHD wizardry later, I hopped off my chair happily sporting big, bouncy, super shiny hair to Blink to sort out my brows. Threading has always been the treatment of choice for my brows and this was as good as any I’d had plus the head massage was unexpected and very lovely. When I left the store nearly three hours after meeting Rose I felt utterly pampered. The experience had definitely exceeded my expectations and been much more relaxing than I’d thought. That’s mainly down to Rose who is an absolute darling – she’s warm, softly spoken and talks with real beauty knowledge. The things I’d been apprehensive about, like having my hair done in the middle of a retail space or being pushed into buying a plethora of products, were unfounded. I didn’t even notice anyone else while having my hair done and while I did buy a few bits, there was certainly no pressure. I’d do it all again for sure – and I might even treat my mum!