Rosemary Mac Cabe

Hemlines, heels and haute couture – your daily dose

Guest post: Ciara Norton gets her grown-up debs on in LA Make-up Academy

When I arrive at LA Make-up Academy on Thursday, sweating and clutching a frappuccino like its glorious mix of caffeine and cold might save my life, I am feeling less than enthusiastic about volunteering to try a debs package. Glamorous, …

Wed, Sep 8, 2010, 10:37


When I arrive at LA Make-up Academy on Thursday, sweating and clutching a frappuccino like its glorious mix of caffeine and cold might save my life, I am feeling less than enthusiastic about volunteering to try a debs package. Glamorous, I was not. Leaving, about an hour or so later, I was totally ready for my close up Mr DeMille.

Open in Chatham Street since January after a move from Dame Street, the Academy’s Deluxe Debs Package includes a hairstyle, all-over spray tan, manicure and a professional makeover with lashes and jewels for €125 which, Rosemary has already pointed out, is great value. Their website also says that, if you book with three of your friends, you get taken care of for free but I’m not quite sure how that would work out, friendship-wise…

Lauren, who did my nails, brought me into a well-lit room (essential when make,up is being applied) and helped me relax. She assessed my nails and offered advice on a product to help combat me peeling nails. I really liked that it was a product not sold at the salon as I am a sucker for these things and really hate when you feel pressured to purchase.

The package includes a manicure, and this is done first, allowing lots of time for the varnish to dry. The manicure is my one and only problem with the package as it’s not a manicure, per se. It’s a file and paint, not the “elegant manicure” their website proclaims it to be. That said, my nails looked great, they have an extensive selection of Essie varnishes and the polish survived a good two days before chipping, something of a miracle ‘round my parts.

Next was make-up and for this I had to move chairs, but not rooms. The all-in-the-one-place aspect is the beauty of the package, no running about from one salon to the next, smudging nails, wrecking ‘dos and enduring the stares of people laughing at your tracksuit bottoms and up-do ensemble.

When it comes to makeup I tend to lash on the eyeliner and hope for the best, but I wanted something a little different this time. My makeup artist was Sarah Jane Wai – she of Dirty Epics and regular TV appearances fame – so I trusted her judgment when she suggested a 1950s look, with a bright pink lip, somewhat smoky eye and strong brows. The end result was flawless, so much so that I pestered Sarah Jane for the name of every product used (Mac Studio Sculpt Foundation, Illamasqua blusher) then promptly ran out and bought them all.

I especially loved the brows and have to confess to trying to make the effect last into the next day when I was attending a wedding. (Disgusting? Yes.) Though offered, I declined the jewels for around my eyes but did opt for the subtle lash inserts, which lasted well into the weekend.

Jordan did my hair and, like Sarah Jane, she introduced me to new product I had to have: the curling wand. Using this she made my straight hair wavy and then pinned it up in a messy chignon to the side. It was exactly what I was looking for as I had explained to Jordan that I didn’t want anything severe or too “debs-y” but I did want all of my hair up. Later, some of my hair did come loose and some clips fell out but I feel that was more to do with me not wanting anything too tight, loose AND secure is tough to do with my thick hair.

If you get the spray tan – I opted out – you come in a day or two beforehand to get it done. In addition to classes, styling and makeup application LA Makeup Academy also offer bridal makeup with a package that includes having a make-up artist present during your wedding day for touch-ups for you and your guests (spoken like someone caught in the middle of wedding season).

If a package like this was around a few years ago when I was donning my white dress (oh yes, we wore white to our debs . . . try explaining that to your date) I would’ve been a much happier and calmer debutante. You’ll have to excuse me as I come over all granny-esque when I conclude by saying “the youth of today, yiz have no idea how lucky y’are”.

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