More than 100 women eager to try new beauty products and services crowded Glendale’s A La Mode Hair Salon for an “Oh La La” beauty bash sponsored by PrettyCity.com on Aug.16.
“We all have a full roster of clients,” explained Lilit, a blonde stylist wearing the requisite black cocktail dress worn by all of A La Mode’s beauty technicians and an incredible pair of red high-heeled gravity-defying sandals with bows on the toes, “but this event has brought in a bunch of people who might not have had us on their radar.”
A La Mode Hair Salon is a chic, modern beauty salon on the upper floor of an office building on West Glenoaks Boulevard. It offers a wide range of services from hair to body wraps. The promised “evening of pampering” was just that – attendees could choose from a variety of complimentary services including make-up applications, eyebrow or lip waxing and hair styling. Appetizers and wine greeted the guests, as did nattily dressed Chihuahua Cary Grant, and gift bags were reserved for the first 100 registered guests.
The swag bag of beauty goodies was much better than expected, with full-sized products instead of samples, and geared more towards skin treatments than make-up. My bag included Softlips pure acai berry organic lip conditioner (.07 oz), Nelsons’ Pure & Clear Purifying Cleansing Wash (4.2 oz) formulated for the relief of acne, pimples and blemishes, which is dermatologically tested, fragrance and paraben-free, and the Brand New Day Treatment Masque from One Love Organics which can be used straight from the package as an exfoliating scrub or mixed with natural ingredients like honey or yogurt as a treatment mask. PrettyCity.com, “an online resource for all things beauty,” was founded by Carolyn Brundage in 2001 with the belief that, “Women can achieve more when they feel great about how they look and being your prettiest self is something to be proud of.” But it isn’t all about looks.
Some consumer reports estimate that American women spend about $15 billion dollars annually on beauty and wellness products. “Beauty at any cost: The Consequences of America’s Beauty Obsession on Women and Girls,” a 2008 publication of the YWCA, reports a nearly 20 percent discrepancy in pay scale between women who are deemed unattractive and very attractive.
PrettyCity aims to help women get their money’s worth by avoiding rip-offs: rude service, treatments that don’t work, products that don’t measure up to their advertising. They offer VIPretty events like the one at A La Mode to introduce women to local salons and stylists and coupons and freebies on the PrettyCity.com website to promote new products.
“We only represent the best spas, salons and medspas,” said Audrey Caan. Medspas offer medical-aesthetic services ranging from chemical peels and botox to breast augmentation and facelifts. Caan is a whirlwind of activity, pouring wine, greeting guests and scheduling complimentary salon services. “Our clients expect quality,” she continued.
Caan brings an extensive background in marketing in the entertainment industry to her role as PrettyCity’s Los Angeles account executive. Salons like A La Mode can use PrettyCity’s services to attract a targeted clientele, while computer-savvy clients enjoy a comprehensive database of the country’s top spas, salons, and medspas and includes editorial reviews, reader reviews for both services and products plus service discounts, coupons, free samples, beauty trend stories and more. Registration is free.
In other words, the internet has opened up an entirely new era of try-before-you-buy shopping opportunities. Salons can market themselves to clients, who might never have been reached through their brick-and-mortar location or print advertising, and consumers have access to products they never would have found at their drugstore or cosmetics counter. Bad news travels faster than ever before, but so do positive reviews and recommendations. Salon services are not traditionally thought of as part of the global marketplace, but this is changing as more working women turn to their computers to make informed decisions as consumers.
Back at the “Oh La La” beauty bash, Lilit, whose company Charmed Hair specializes in bridal styling, has deftly snipped some long layers into my hair and is demonstrating the use of a flat iron for curling. “Like Farrah Fawcett, but updated,” she laughs. “Do you like it?” I do, although I’m doubtful that this is something that I should try without a spotter.
Two chairs over, Jessica Bourse, El Vaquero’s editor-in-chief, is receiving a make-up lesson in dramatic eyeshadow. The effect is pleasing, but more for a special occasion than daily grooming, and that’s really the point. Makeovers are supposed to get you to try something new, not to reinforce what you’re already doing. These demonstrations show what’s possible on a little lift for an evening out.