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Entries in beauty (24)


Home-Made Buns

To honour International Star Wars Day, SNAP brings you this homage to Princess Leia’s buns. 


During the battle when the Princess Leia is captured by Darth Vader’s imperial troops, her Royal Hairdresser is killed. The Princess has no choice but to go on without him.

However, in this extremity, she knows that she cannot wash her hair, for there will be no-one to wind up her buns again. Undoubtedly, it will not matter, as Lord Vader will probably have her executed anyway.

But to her consternation, she is rescued by the impetuous Luke Skywalker and that mercenary but confoundedly handsome scoundrel Han Solo.

Princess Leia determines that the buns must stay in until they are safely back in the bosom of the Rebel Base and some minion can be fetched to re-do them. But finally, when she at last has the opportunity to wash her lank locks, no suitable hairstylist can be found. Princess Leia decides to attempt the buns herself. 

The result is not happy. In fact, her buns are half-baked.

The Force forbid Han see her like this! Always pragmatic, Princess Leia decides it’s time to part ways with her outré ear-muffs and goes for braids instead.


Bangs for my Buck

So I finally got my hair cut! I’ve been talking about it for months, but yesterday morning I stopped dithering and picked up the phone to make an appointment.

I hadn’t been to the hairdresser for years, but I knew exactly where I wanted to go: Lady Marmalade. Years ago I read in a local paper an interview with a hairstylist who loved to cut bobs. That piqued my interest because I have worn bobs many times in my life, and the quaint name of the salon stuck with me long after the clipping fell off the fridge.

…he curled my hair with a slim straightening iron – novel!

Although I wasn’t planning on getting a bob (not right away, anyway), I did know I wanted bangs – a much lovelier description than a fringe – and around shoulder-length hair. I was happy to have layers, I told Alex; beyond that I was amenable to suggestion. In the end he didn’t cut any layers around my face, but he curled my hair with a slim straightening iron – novel! I hope I can replicate that look.

I loved it. “Such a different look!” I exclaimed. My curls bounced as I went out the door, the idea of a bob somewhere in the nebulous future.


Everyone knows it can be a scary prospect trying a new hairdresser, but I came away from Lady Marmalade so happy. It was a relaxed experience: Alex (and Bridget who washed my hair) greeted me by name; they chatted just the right amount and made me laugh; and after I refused all offers of tea and coffee, Alex offered me a glass of wine. “Now you’re talking!” I answered. I highly recommend the salon if you’re in the neighbourhood.


Drink me, eat me

Another lovely birthday gift from an equally delightful friend (Rapunzel this time), this enormous cake of soap hails from Italy via Klein’s Perfumery in Fitzroy.

Knowing I had recently become obsessed with freshly-squeezed pomegranate juice during my holiday in Dubai last December, Rapunzel couldn’t resist presenting me with this pomegranate-scented soap.

“About the pomegranate I must say nothing, for its story is something of a mystery.”

The pomegranate is such a strange and exotic fruit that it’s no surprise there are many stories and myths centred around it. I particularly love this quotation: “About the pomegranate I must say nothing,” whispered the traveller Pausanias in the 2nd century, “for its story is something of a mystery.”

I’m obviously not too shy to wax lyrical. If the delicious scent of the fig-and-almond-milk-flavoured version is anything to go by, pomegranate soap might just be as addictive as the juice – and I’ll be telling everyone about it.


Bad-hair saviours

I hardly need state that everyone has a bad hair-day every now and then.

Traditionally, this implies unruly, recalcitrant hair that defies every attempt to control its appearance whilst unfettered.

In my case the problem is that my hair is too fine and flyaway. And because it is so long, I have a lot of new growth that often creates an unsightly halo when I am after a smooth sleek finish.

Sometimes it is simply a case of bad-morning, not bad-hair, when I have zero minutes to spend on its appearance. This is when my hair accessories really come into their own, and the importance of quality cannot be overstated.

It [the ibis clip] has never let me down – and my hair has never tumbled down unless I fully intended it to.

Years ago I discovered the joys of French hairclips over Chinese imports. There is simply no comparison. The springs in the Paris Mode clips are steel, and they do not snap open at some ill-timed moment. Ditto the ibis clip. It has never let me down – and my hair has never tumbled down unless I fully intended it to.

And the tortoise-shelled hair comb is virtually indestructible, unlike the inferior Lady Jayne version I owned prior to my epiphany. That quickly became gap-toothed as an old lady rocking back in a nursing home. I can bundle my damp hair up in a French roll and secure it with the comb so easily, and when I shake it out – like an advertisement – what a riot of curls!

Of course, there is a pretty price to pay for quality, and it may make you gasp at first. But it will definitely be worth it.


Ode to a Grecian hairstyle

When I first saw Chloe’s hairstyle one hot day this past week, I instantly likened her to some exotic princess of the Classical era. I could imagine her standing at the prow of a ship, white skirts billowing. “You look regal,” I said to Chloe, which bemused her. That resemblance owed itself undoubtedly also to the dotted white shirt – even the enamelled earrings continued the theme.

I instantly likened her to some exotic princess of the Classical era

Greek woman, 4th century BC, from

Apparently she spent two seconds on her hair that morning, merely twisting it up and fastening it with a tortoiseshell butterfly clip. Patently hair texture – and length – is all, as my hair would never do this of its own accord. It’s too fine.

“That’s always the way,” I agreed with Chloe. “When you’re in a hurry, your hair ends up looking fantastic. But just try repeating the effort for a special night out!” My hair is so slippery it often falls out of any updo, although I have recently rediscovered hair product, and that does help!

I remember in my early twenties my friend Rapunzel visiting me at my parents’. She and Chloe have similar hair texture, thick and wavy. My dad is the traditional sort, and, admiring Rapunzel’s red locks, he opined that I too should have hair that flowed to my waist. At the time I was sporting a short 20s style bob, and looked like Louise Brooks. I made a face in response to this admonishment. My hair would never actually do that even if I wanted it to. Rapunzel laughed and replied diplomatically that she’d always wanted hair like mine.

I guess the hair is always Greeker on the other side.