Every beauty lover has a beauty bucket list with items like "get a gold-infused facial" and "own every color of Kylie Lip Kit ever made." I got to check a major item off of my own beauty bucket list when I had the chance to spend a day getting a full makeover at Dubai's Dollhouse salon, otherwise known as the original home of Huda Beauty.
The salon is owned by Mona Kattan, who you probably recognize from Instagram as a beauty influencer and one of the fabulous three sisters behind Huda Beauty. Kattan started the salon in 2012 with her partner. They wanted to create a beauty destination where women in Dubai could relax and feel pampered all while getting their treatments done in a gorgeous, one-stop shop. "When women leave my salon, I want them to feel like they own the world," says Kattan. "I want them to feel confident."
According to Kattan, women in Dubai go to salons as often as twice a week, and prefer to be able to do all of their treatments in one fail swoop instead of having to go to multiple locations for their nails, eyebrows, and hair. There are currently two Dollhouse locations in Dubai (one that happens to be inside the ultra-luxurious Women's Club) and both locations specialize in one-of-a-kind nail art and luxury hair treatments and extensions. They provide a wide range of services including eyelash extensions, massage, facials, luxury Italian spray tanning, hair styling and up-dos, and hair removal. Basically, they do it all.
I went to the salon with a group of editors so we could all have our hair and makeup done for the Dubai film festival, where we were going to be walking the red carpet and attending an after party with the Crown Prince (yes, life in Dubai is that over-the-top and amazing). Considering I don't exactly do things like this every day (or... ever.) I was excited to get the full #teamDollhouse treatment so I could look my best to look my best and like I somewhat belonged at a party full of royalty.
When I walked through the Dolllhouse's neon-pink entryway inside the Dubai Ladies Club, I knew I had come to the right place. Immediately upon entering, felt like a straight-up #Queen. The entire salon was purple and gold (aka the colors of royalty) and overlooked a sprawling lawn that turned into a beach. There were nearly a dozen salon chairs, every color of nail polish imaginable and 20+ hair and makeup artists who were there to cater to my every beauty need.
I was ushered over to the hair washing station, where my hair was triple washed with the best head massage of my life. Naturally, I fell asleep.
Once I was sufficiently clean and relaxed, I was gently awoken from my slumber and taken to the hairstyling station where members of the team brought me coffee, bottled water and enough iPhone chargers to last me for the rest of my life. I flipped through a copy of Harper's Bazaar Arabia while my hair was getting blow dried, and halfway through the process a massage therapist came by to give me a hand and shoulder massage. It was at that moment that I realized I had officially found beauty paradise.
I asked for loose, Old-Hollywood-Glam-looking waves that I thought would look nice with my bedazzled black tie caftan later that night. The hairstylist used a single-barrel curling iron to create uncontrolled curls, which she then clipped to the top of my head and secured with a hairnet to let it set.
She started by doing my eye makeup in a golden smoky eye using Moon Dust, Dubai, #Blessed and Trust Fund. She prefers to apply eye makeup before foundation, to avoid any fallout from the powder. Then, she applied Huda Beauty's "Samantha" lashes to give me the majorly glammed-out look I was going for.
She contoured my face with a beautyblender using foundation, highlighter, bronzer, and blush from MAC and Make Up Forever. Even though The Dollhouse uses and sells Huda Beauty's entire line, they have other brands that Mona herself really loves like Bulgari fragrances, Kardashian Beauty hair products, and Olaplex Shampoo and Conditioner.
After my face was totally baked, the makeup artist applied heavy black eyeliner to the top and bottom lash lines, which made me look like a completely new person. Considering I'm more of a "one swipe of mascara" kind of girl, it was admittedly a little shocking at first.
Finally, the artist finished the look with Huda Beauty's Liquid Matte Lipstick and Matte Lip Contour Pencil in "Cheerleader."
The hairstylist came back and pulled out my pin-curls one by one, which left me looking like a vintage Hollywood movie star. Let me tell you — I was feelin' myself.
At the end of the afternoon, I got to check one final item off of my beauty bucket list: Take a selfie with Mona.
My afternoon at The Dollhouse was unlike anything I had ever experienced in the US. The level of service was straight up insane, and Mona was just as kind and amazing in person as she seems to be on Instagram. But I have to admit — at first, I wasn't so into my look. It was a lot more overstated than what I'm used to, and between the heavy eye makeup, the red lip and the visible contour I felt a little bit ridiculous at first. But the more I stared at myself in the mirror (and the more people who responded to my selfies with "Omg you look amazing"), the more confident I started to feel. When I hit the red carpet later that night, I really did feel like I could take over the world.
And the best part? My hair makeup lasted for 10+ hours without having to re-apply anything (not even the lip gloss! And I ate dinner!).
I went to bed that night still feeling like a superstar.
If you have the chance to visit Dubai, you can visit The Dollhouse locations here.
Images: Courtesy of Author