Wedding hair & beauty horror stories.

So…lets talk about my amazing beauty experiences in and around Marloth. Hmmm. I left the wax shop looking like a run-over badger, I left the nail shop with paper-thin nails - literally toilet paper thin - and I left the hair salon exactly the same way I went in. My experiences were not so successful. The only advice I can give is don’t visit the places I went to! Of course bad experiences always make for the best stories. So if you’re up for a laugh, then read on.

Waxing: Where do I begin? This story certainly takes the cake - it was grizzly; like something from a horror movie but more realistic and more painful. Most of us ladies, and some gentlemen too, look forward to the grooming process before a wedding or a holiday. Well, I wouldn’t say you look forward to the pain inflicted by the waxing process, but nothing beats that silky smooth aftermath. Plus, you don't have to bother with hair removal maintenance for weeks after. But this experience really left me wishing that I’d pledged to go seriously natural. But my vanity simply won’t allow for that.

Here’s the story: We were staying in a little town called Hazyview, which is very close to the Panorama Route, in a beautiful self-catering lodge we’ve stayed many times before, called Bush Baby Glen, which we would highly recommend. Just down the road from Bush Baby Glen is a great little trading post and tourism centre called Perry’s Bridge You can imagine my excitement when we discovered that there’s a beauty salon there, called Dee’s African Spa. It looked very inviting, clean and professional. I asked inside the local hairdressers if they knew anything about it and they put my mind at ease, saying they’d heard only good reviews. So the next day I returned for the Brazilian wax I was desperate for. For those of you who don’t go down the waxing route, this style will leave you with a landing strip, whereas a Hollywood means everything off. Yup, welcome to Ouchville.

My husband waited for me in the Wimpy across the road, while I went off to the slaughter house. But I was in good hands, right? Apparently, the reviews were good. My bubble was burst the minute a young beautiful African girl entered acting very nervously - asking if I was sure I wanted a Brazilian. “It’s very painful, Miss”. Almost as though she was trying to get herself out of it. Not a good sign when you’re about to lie on the autopsy table. Of course, we never listen to our instincts, and mine were warning me to run a mile. Instead, I lay down, spread-eagled  and let go of all dignity.

The first yank wasn’t too bad, though the wax was a little hot. When I looked down, she’d already removed a little too much for this to be called a Brazilian. No biggy. Obviously, she thought I wanted a Hollywood. I explained that she didn’t have to take it all off. Content, I let her continue…

The next thing I knew, she was wiping me down with what felt like cooling aloe vera.  But nope, it wasn’t. Soon, the burn began, like fire. It was not aloe vera at all, but neat tea tree oil. Neat. Really not exactly what you want applied your raw plucked-chicken groin. I should have stopped it there, I know.

The next 2 strips weren’t quite so kind. She got the wax stuck both times, and both times she yanked and yanked like a mugger stealing a handbag. Both times she had her face uncomfortably close to my crotch, lifting and cutting away at the sticking wax. It was all so close to the skin that I felt like I was being skinned alive. It was turning into a scene from Game of Thrones.

She kept her cool, as did I, God knows how, and I let her do one more strip, as I really couldn't leave it looking like a butchered rabbit. It had all already gone too far. The point of no return had been waxed off. And again, she wiped me down with neat tea tree oil, on my skin that was already red-raw. The sting was incredible, I could hardly speak. Was I dying? I did manage to spit out ‘no more tea tree, PLEASE’. I told her ‘it’s fine, it’s fine, no more’, and she asked if I was happy. Ummmm… what do you think, Sweeney Todd? I just said yes, like an embarrassed, exhausted idiot with the quivery onset of post traumatic stress disorder. I just wanted to get the hell out of there and get into a bath, forever. In my haste, I even paid. What a MUG.  Now she thought she’d done a good job. Perhaps that’s how all these good reviews came about in the first place, utter fear and defeat.

I waddled into that Wimpy so bow legged, I was almost doing the splits. Knickers were in my bag - there was no way I was putting those back on. Grabbing Spence by the arm, mid coffee, begging him to get me home ASAP. I should have done it myself. I am a beauty therapist after all.  

After that nightmare, we searched the area of Nelspruit, where we stayed for a few nights, for someone that could firstly tidy up my downstairs mess,  and also for someone who could shellac my nails for the big day. Another terrible story.

Nails and wax repair: I know some people need false nails, and quite often that requires a little filing down of the nail so that everything adheres to it. But that’s certainly not what you’re after when you already have healthy, long, strong nails, and all you’ve booked in for is a shellac. Unfortunately, I can’t remember the name of the salon, so I can’t warn you against it. I’ve probable got shell shock (or shellac shock) Here’s the story, anyway.

The beauty therapist was lovely, and seemed really confident as she tidy up my run-over badger. And all seemed amazing until a couple of days later - I did think the wax was a little hot, but little did I know it would take weeks for the redness and slight scaring to go down. Honestly, my bikini line is doomed, and in need of some serious TLC. Not sure what it did in its past life, but it must have been bad.

The manicure (shellac) part of the treatment seemed amazing again. We chatted like old school friends and she was so confident that I didn’t even look at my hands, so I missed the horror that was going on. She’d filed all my nails down to paper thin sheets, I was mortified. But what can you do once it’s done? She then spent an hour and a half polishing them. A finger at a time. Are you kidding? And each finger took 5 coats! It’s quicker and easier decorating a bathroom. Poor old Spence sat patiently waiting in the car, blissfully unaware that once again his wife to be was enduring beauty treatments from hell. Luckily, it all looked very pretty, but I was dreading the day I’d have to take the polish off. Who knows what was lurking underneath. It didn’t stay lovely for long, mind you. The night before the wedding, I noticed they were really sticky, with a blue film from my denim shorts covering them. I can only presume she’d not cleaned off the top sticky layer properly. The only thing that worked to remove the stains and stickiness was nail vanish remover, but this also dulled them so they had no shine at all. Argh, just what you want for your ring-finger shot. This is for you, nail lady!

In case you were wondering, removing them was a nightmare. Shellac often removes very easily, without damaging the nail. These had to be dug off and no amount of acetone soaking would help them budge. It took weeks for my nails to recover after that treatment.

Last but not least, I will fill you in on my disastrous hairstylist experience. Yup, this bandwagon keeps on rollin’. By now I must have been looking like a doll that’s been played with too much by a really evil child.

Wedding hair: Luckily, I can tell you who did my hair. It was a sweet Afrikaans girl. But I can only assume that she’s not very experienced.

She runs the only hair salon in Marloth Park, called Roots Hair Salon - located in the Bush Shopping Centre. Unfortunately, I have no links to give you as the salon doesn’t have a website. I know, crazy in this day and age, but it’s probably because if you’re in Marloth, you really can’t miss it. I was told about the salon by someone who lives there. Though she didn’t recommend it as such, she just knew of it. I didn’t stress about booking with them, as all I wanted was a simple 1920s wave. It’s not rocket science. So I thought. When I got in touch to discuss hairstyles, never did she say ‘I can’t do that’…I would have subsequently respected her more had she been honest.

But fact is, she couldn’t do it. She properly couldn’t do it. Instead, my wedding hair was a nightmare.

Here’s what happened: The whole treatment was bad from the beginning. I showed up at 9am for the trial, two days before the wedding, and didn’t leave till 2pm. And I left looking exactly the same as I went in, with a bit more of a sour face and lighter of pocket.


The lady the owner had trained up to wash hair was so lovely, and we chatted away like old hens. But she had obviously not been taught to NOT to scrunch long hair up in the basin. After a very relaxing shampoo, I came out looking like Amy Winehouse after a particularly heavy session. If you have long hair, you’ll know where this is going. I sat in the salon chair for about an hour, having knot after knot cut out, and brushed out to the point of tears. She didn’t even say sorry, just ’your hair knots very easily, sorry I’m going to have to cut some knots out’. Really? Screw you, Edward Scissorhands.

She was a young girl who got herself into a panic, and my hair was paying the price. But I wasn’t going to storm out just yet - she was my only choice at this late date in the middle of frickin’ nowhere. She then took over an hour and a half to blow dry my hair, and then put stone cold rollers in.

Even my hairy-assed husband would know that cold rollers in long straight hair will only leave you with…well, long straight hair, still. But she was the ‘expert’, and I guessed she’d done it for root lift or something technical and impressive. No. I waited over 30 mins for these cold curlers to miraculously wave my hair, or to give it the most amazing body. Of course, once they were pulled out (taking half my scalp with it), it was of course…ta-dahhh…flat. And as straight as it was when I walked in. She then started to curl my hair with straighteners. Nah. It wasn’t curling, like at all. Instead, all she achieved was lifting my scalp off of my skull as she pulled and tugged at it in a panic. This medieval torture left me with a headache for days. That was the final straw for me (and by now, my hair was a little bit like straw), and I told her I had to go. Can’t remember how I wriggled out - maybe I said I needed a poo or a skydive, or I had other things to prepare for the wedding or something. JUST GET ME OUT. I walked out of there, paying, like a MUG again.

I was so fuming I decided I’d just have to do my own hair on my own wedding day, like a glorious martyr. The only good thing I can say about her is that she did my mum’s and sister’s updo’s very well. But they too were left with sore heads after all the Victorian workhouse yanking. I honestly question her qualifications. Not to her face, she might try to de-lice me or something. The worst thing about this ordeal was that I actually had to use her on the day, as my hair was too long for me to curl it to the ends on my own. She used my hair curlers, and my hairspray, and I talked her through the process from start to finish. And I had to pay for the privilege of teaching her how to style my hair.

So, there we have it - my very relaxing pre-wedding beauty stories. Moral of the story - do your research and don’t be a mug like me, don’t pay for a bad service. Trust no-one. Don’t go to Dee’s African Spa for a waxing, unless the pain thing is, well, your thing, you kinky so and so. And don’t go to Roots Hair Salon in Marloth Park, unless of course you want to sit for hours, leave looking the same as you went in, with a scalp that has been professionally separated from your skull.

The only bit of hair & beauty that doesn't have a horror story attached to it was my make-up, perhaps because I did it myself. After all, who knows my face better? Being a make-up artist helped of course (candace-makeup). So unfortunately, a make-up artist is another thing I cannot give you a referral on, not someone based in South Africa anyway. However, other than myself (candace-weddings), I would highly recommend any of these ladies (all London based). Otherwise I am sure Karen at Phonix capture (our wedding photographers) would be able to recommend South African based people for you:

1. Gina Dowle hair & make-up.

2. Taylor Rands hair & make-up.

3. Jade Victoria hair & make-up.

- 3 steps to clearer skin & getting fit.
- Dressing the bride & bridal party on a budget.
- Surviving the Registry Office.
- Flights and car hire.
- Where to stay and what to do.
- The venue, catering & music.
- The cake, flowers & decor.

- Finding the right wedding photographers for you.


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