Beauty in Austin, TX
Remember playing in your mom’s make-up as a kid? Those mischievous swipes of lipstick and blue eyeshadow? Coco Coquette wants to give you that experience again – and the more mischief, the better. What started as a veritable house of wigs, many handcrafted by owner Allyson Garro, has now grown into a girly-girl’s dream come true. Think wall-to-wall perfumes and cruelty-free makeup alongside all those wigs, with a few false eyelashes and sparkly headdresses tucked in between. If you need diva inspiration, Coco Coquette also throws fabulous parties and catwalk shows on a fairly regular basis; follow their Facebook page to get on the invite list.
Once known as “The Strip Wax Studio,” Bombshell’s bread and butter is, indeed, waxing. Which might strike fear into those with lower pain thresh holds, until the girls-just-wanna-have-fun atmosphere -- pink walls, retro décor, pinups of yesteryear -- quickly soothe your nerves. Speaking of soothing, Bombshell’s practioners prep waxing areas with oil beforehand, lessening the post-rip sting. In the interim, they chat you up and warn you before the Big Rip is coming: helpful, when your teeth are clenched together. For a teensy bit more money, Bombshell also offers "sugaring" for face and underarms (a slightly less painful form of hair removal), as well as enzyme peels and herbal masques. Naturally, these latter treatments are named after '50s icons: The Marilyn, The Audrey, The Bridgette and The Betty.
As more and more Austinites shun the Texas sun for a spray-on, less wrinkle-inducing option, BronZEN is ridiculously convenient. For starters, as one of the only “mobile tanners” in town, they’ll bring the tan to you. Secondly, their sprays are organic, Paraben-free, and infused with botanical ingredients, making it one of the first tans that may actually be healthy. And finally, BronZEN’s practitioners customize the color to suit your skin tone and darkness desire, so you don’t emerge looking like a carrot. This is the official tanning provider for the (oft-photographed) University of Texas Dance Team, so you know you’re in some seriously good hands.
A calm spirit is one of the more elusive qualities in the quest for beauty. In other cities, taking time out of one’s busy day for meditation may seem silly, but not here. Austinites take their chakras very seriously. Dharma Yoga – located on Guadalupe, and a stone’s throw away from University of Texas – combines Zen wisdom with all-level yoga classes, though visitors needn’t be familiar with either before walking in the door. Class offerings range from Gentle Hatha (good for beginners) to Vinyasa (for the more experienced), and most conclude with a series of partner poses. Which may sound funny – especially since the partner might be a, gulp, stranger – until you realize how fulfilling it is to help someone else stretch deeper, and relax more fully. Namaste.
Nothing makes you feel more quietly powerful than a manicure. A nice set of nails says, “I’ve got my situation capital-T together,” and Esty is Austin’s gold standard. Using vegan nail lacquer, epsom salts, clay powders and shea butters, Esty delivers one of the most sought-after mani/pedis in town. Their humbly-titled “Natural Nails” are one of several holistic services; Esty also offers fruit peels (like the Honey and Jasmine Hydrating Facial), natural lip plumping masks, and even Reiki: a healing touch therapy. During swimsuit season, Esty’s 30-minute, $35 “back facial” is an affordable godsend.