Going to a new salon can feel like cheating on your favourite hairdresser or facialist. It can also be intimidating to put your trust in a stranger who is about to hold the fate of your hair and skin in their hands. If you’re looking to break out of a beauty rut, are new in town or simply feel like treating yourself, these are the appointments to book in Sydney’s east this winter.

Cut and colour at Salon Her, Darlinghurst
If you’ve ever walked past someone on the street and thought, “Gosh, they’ve got good hair” and felt an instant pang of jealousy, this one’s for you. Salon Her is by colourist and stylist Michael Kelly. With more than two decades’ experience at home and abroad, Kelly is a known hair wizard. But in an effort to break down the cold, exclusive nature that can accompany top salons, he has worked to build a warm and welcoming new space.

A stone’s throw from the glimmer of the Coca-Cola sign, Kelly has created an oasis on Victoria Street, Darlinghust, with a little help from the team at Folk Studio. Slung leather chairs, chequerboard flooring and marble touches in rich tones greet you on arrival. There is a gallery of local and emerging artists’ work (including pieces from Bridget Stehli, Zoe Grey and Gelbell) lining the deep green walls. Coloured glassware and ornate vases fill open shelves, and the lighting is just so. It feels more like a hotel bar – or your chicest friend’s living room – than a hair salon.

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The warm aesthetics mirror Kelly’s inviting approach to haircare. A cut, colour and blow-dry at Salon Her will not only leave you with a ’do that will make people stop and ask who did it, but if you’re lucky enough, Kelly’s two dachshunds will perch on your lap during your hair wash for the ultimate moment of self-care.
L1/227 Victoria Street, Darlinghurst

First Time at Fayshell, Bondi Junction
You might have noticed Fayshell’s peachy facade pop up outside Westfield Bondi Junction. But you might not have realised exactly what they’re offering. Founded by Katelin Gregg and Ella James, the salon is best thought of as a gym for your skin. The skincare-loving duo have created a membership model for monthly facials in a bid to make treatments more affordable, time efficient and customised to their clients’ needs. A First Time Fayshell includes a skin consultation and analysis, fully customised facial and a plan of action. You can then opt in to basic, advanced or ultimate memberships, depending on your skins’ needs. Each membership type includes a monthly treatment, although the advanced and ultimate tiers offer extras like skin needling, advanced chemical peels, hydrabrasion and herbal peels, as well as unlimited access to the LED lounge.

“The monthly treatments are like personal training sessions – they push your skin hard to get lasting results. The LED members lounge is like the gym – the more you go the better your results, and your at-home skincare routine is like your diet – you need to be feeding your skin the right nutrients at home to maintain its fitness,” Gregg says. This treatment is a great option for anyone looking to get their skin in shape. Brides-to-be, acne sufferers or anyone else looking for non-invasive solutions to skin concerns are among Fayshell’s members.
15 Bronte Road, Bondi Junction

Neosculpt Facial at Fenn, Paddington
Tucked around the corner at Paddington’s leafy Intersection shopping hub, you’ll find Fenn. Already loved for its classic facial offering, the team has recently added a new treatment to the menu: the Neosculpt. This is no ordinary facial. Using massage techniques, with a focus on lymphatic drainage, the treatment promises to reduce puffiness and enhance the natural curvature of the face. It’s the booking you want to make if you’re looking for “snatched” results sans cosmetic procedures or strategic contouring.

“It’s not just about the outer. The techniques are very deliberate and intricate. We’re working to release the muscles – which does slim the jaw– but also can help alleviate tension and pain,” senior therapist Lauren Saul says. A specific focus on buccal (intra-oral) massage is what sets this treatment apart. With gloved hands, Saul gently works her way around the inside of the lips, cheeks and chin, concentrating on the mentalis muscle. She uses the Josh Rosebrook Advanced Hydration Mask and a few drops of Maryse Omega Treatment Oil to get just the right amount of slip. The treatment ends with a sheet mask and LED light. And there is a cup of herbal tea waiting for when you come to.
24 Glenmore Road, Paddington

Face Needling at The Skin Bar, Bondi Beach
Microneedling expert Samantha Appel has opened a fourth Skin Bar location on O’Brien Street, Bondi Beach. Fans of face needling will need no introduction to the salon’s services. But those who are just dipping their toes in might feel a bit overwhelmed at first. And fair enough. The idea of having someone press lots of little needles into your face isn’t for everyone. The emerald green walls and rich tan leather salon beds create a soothing space (the clinic was designed in collaboration with The Make Haus), and the staff’s knowledge immediately quells my own nerves. After a quick cleanse, you’re offered a layer of numbing cream (which is recommended for newbies) to help ease any discomfort before the therapist gets to work.

The quintessential treatment at The Skin Bar essentially causes controlled injury to the skin, triggering the body’s natural healing process and in turn amping up the production of collagen and elastin. This is an appointment you want to schedule when you can guarantee a little bit of downtime for your skin. The first few days can leave you with some residual redness, followed by dry and flaky skin. You’ll be advised to pare back your skincare to the simplest cleanser and moisturiser you own. And it’s best to avoid make-up (and touching your face in general) while the skin is at its most vulnerable to prevent any infection or further irritation. By seven days post-treatment, you definitely start to notice the effects. Appel and her team recommend booking four to six sessions spaced at least a month apart, depending on your skin concerns and desired results.
69A O’Brien Street, Bondi Beach

Pregnancy Facial at Self by The Parlour Room, Clovelly
Parlour Room founder Natalie Ferrari opened Self, a space dedicated to facials, massages and sauna treatments, in August 2020. It’s likely that you’ve seen the well-curated interiors on your Instagram feed over the past few years. But just as much thought has gone into the treatments themselves. The newest addition is a tailored pregnancy and postpartum menu, inspired by Ferrari’s own journey into motherhood. “Our aim is to provide a range of treatments that promote relaxation and rejuvenation,” Ferrari says. “We often leave very little time for ourselves, and I wanted to create a menu that supported all stages of pregnancy and beyond.”

The pregnancy facial is a one-hour treatment that’s tailored to skin concerns that can pop up during each trimester: acne, melasma and some types of dermatitis are common complaints. The products used are pregnancy-safe and the treatment bed itself is designed to offer maximum comfort for expecting mums. The facial involves a double cleanse, exfoliation with steam, facial massage and hydrating mask. Plus you can get a hand, arm and foot massage while a super-nourishing Madre Bump sheet mask soaks in (which can help soften and hydrate the belly’s skin, which changes shape during pregnancy). This booking is the perfect appointment to make for mums-to-be who might need a reminder to take care of themselves. There’s also an express postpartum treatment available for new parents who are pinched for time.
1/210–212 Clovelly Road, Clovelly