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Your Valentine's Day beauty countdown

Follow our seven-day beauty planner to look your best on the special evening, says Indu Saksena Bedi

  • By Indu Saksena Bedi, Friday magazine
  • Published: 00:01 February 3, 2012
  • Friday

Woman with rose
  • Image Credit: Corbis
  • Go for a classic red lipstick this Valentine's for an ultra-feminine look.

It's the one day in the year when it's OK to go overboard with romance, and naturally, you want to look your best. To ensure you are gorgeous from top to toe on the day, start prepping a week in advance.

Follow our beauty guide that counts down from a week before, so you have everything - from glowing skin and chic hair, to tip-top nails - sorted for your celebrations on Valentine's Day.

Day 7

Perfect talons

Perfectly manicured nails are a must, but to ensure a perfect, chip- and smudge-free finish, steer away from your regular mani-pedi, and pencil in an appointment for a chip-resistant Shellac nail treat instead. The hybrid polish is treated under a UV lamp to leave you with a fab freshly painted nail effect lasting three weeks. There are 36 shades to choose from including several swoon-worthy pinks and reds, which are perfect for a Valentine's dinner. We especially love a bright neon fuchsia called Tutti Frutti!

Book: Shellac manicure for Dh125 at Sisters Beauty Lounge, The Village Mall, Jumeirah; Call 04 342 0787

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Day 6

DIY make-up

You don't want last-minute dramas, so plan your look ahead and get some practice in. In fact, why not make like the pros and pick up some expert tips at Make Up For Ever's new studio at Dubai Mall? Whether it's your base you want to perfect, conquer the bronzed look or work a smouldering smoky eye, you are sure to get useful advice, with this 90-minute make-up lesson. Our favourite takeaway? Use a primer before applying foundation to give your skin a Hollywood glow. 

Book: Lessons from Dh150, Make Up For Ever, The Dubai Mall, 04 325 3496

Day 5

Deep-conditioning

"To prepare hair for a special occasion, sleep in a hair mask to give it additional deep conditioning," says Chelsea Gowland, Hair Style Director at Toni & Guy, Dubai. Chelsea suggests applying your hair mask to clean, dry hair at night, starting from the roots and then using extra product on frizzy ends. "Cover your hair with a shower cap as this helps retain the moisture throughout the night, leaving hair just slightly damp in the morning. You will need to rinse out the product in the morning with plain water, but don't use any shampoo." Our tip? Save your favourite bed linen for another night.

Try: L’Occitane 5 Essential Oils Concentrated Hair Mask, Dh125 (L’Occitane stores)

Day 4

Smooth and silky

This is the perfect time to get your waxing done, to get rid of any unsightly hair and ensure luscious legs. Laveena Menezes, waxing therapist at Tips & Toes, says it's more effective to wax a few days before an important occasion as the waxing ‘bumps' take at least two days to subside. "Don't bathe or expose skin to water for at least six hours after waxing as that leads to ingrown hairs," she warns.

Book: Arm waxing: Dh60, leg waxing: Dh80, Tips & Toes, The Springs, call 04 361 9696.

Day 3

Radiance boost

Book in for a cleansing facial right about now, so you don't run the risk of a post-facial breakout on the day, but still have your skin looking fresh and glowing. The Eve Lom signature facial is a favourite of ours.

Book: Eve Lom Signature facial, from Dh529, Raffles Spa, Call 04 314 9869.

Body con

We all need a bit of a helping hand to fit into that perfect dress before a special evening. For a quick fix, head to SensAsia for the Elemis Body Sculpting Cellulite and Colon Therapy. The 75-minute treatment begins with a peel-of f mask followed by a drainage massage which uses firming serums.

Book: Dh540, SensAsia Express Spa, Mall of the Emirates, call 04 354 9228.

Day 2

Happy feet

In preparation for any post-dinner dancing, get your soles smiling by booking in for a 30-minute foot reflexology session at the Balance Spa. Tired feet won't make any kind of impression on - or off - the dance floor. Plus, reflexology also helps you get into a relaxed, balanced state of mind so you are primed to have a good time, whatever you get up to.

Book: Foot Reflexology, Dh150, Balance Wellbeing Club, Oasis Centre, Call 04 384 7010 

DIY glow pack

The big day is just a few hours away and there's still time to raid your kitchen for an inexpensive DIY skin brightening pack. Here's one recipe that never fails to bring a radiant glow every time: Mix a tsp of honey with just two drops of fresh lemon juice and apply it to the face and neck. Leave it on for two minutes, rinse off with lukewarm water and pat skin dry.

Valentine's Day 

Lip service

Opt for a flatters-all-skin-tones coral shade of lipstick, or go for a hot pink or a classic red for an ultra-feminine look. Give your pout the wow factor with MAC's Iris Apfel collection, which includes a range of pinks and corals and reds in a delicious matte finish. To ensure the colour doesn't disappear halfway through the evening, use a lip liner that is one shade lighter than your lipstick all over, then slick on the lippy.

Buy: Iris Apfel lipstick, Dh90, MAC store, The Dubai Mall. Call 04 339 9681. 

Glam hair

Radiant skin. Check. Pretty feet. Check. Smooth legs. Check. All that's left to do is give your mane a makeover with a glamorous blow-dry at JetSet Altitude in Emirates Towers Boulevard. JetSet stylist, Souzan Al Housseine, offers her top tip for blow-dry staying power: "Never fiddle too much with styled hair; the more you touch it, the more likely it is to lose shape or look greasy."

Or, you could also try an elegant up-do for ultimate grown-up glamour. To start, blow-dry your hair using a brush for a smooth, polished look. Brush and gather hair back into a low ponytail. Pin back some shorter side layers with jewelled hair pins, leaving the rest loose. Grip the ponytail firmly and use your other hand to twist the tail into a tight spiral. Hold the base of the ponytail with one hand, then lift the tail straight up with the other. Coil it around the base and secure the bun with prong-shape bobby pins. 

Book: Blow-dry, from Dh105, JetSet Altitude, Emirates Towers, 04 330 0886.

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