I moved to Minneapolis for college in 2006, and despite its godawful cold weather and streets that get so teeny from snow piles you can barely wedge a car in them, it wormed its way into my heart. It's a pretty nice place full of pretty nice people, especially in the summer. It's also the birthplace of Aveda, Prince, Betty Crocker, Mrs. Meyer’s, 3M and Target. So there. (Disclaimer: There isn't anything about our sister city, St. Paul, in this piece because I never go over there. I know, I know.)
Since moving here, I've scouted out all the best salons, shops, local lines and homegrown talent. I’ve made wonderful friends in the industry. Minneapolis is an accepting and encouraging community for artists of all kinds, and that includes beauty, too!
BEST SALON: Haus (4240 Nicollet Ave.)
All cool Minneapolis chicks get their hair done at Haus. It's a fancy, arty salon with revolving art exhibits gracing its too-cool walls. The stylists are immensely talented; I've sent more than one friend to see Caitlin, my magical haircut witch. (No kidding: Friends of mine who've moved to Chicago, Seattle and Los Angeles always make sure to get their hair cut at Haus when they're back to visit.) Haus often partners with local designers to create cutting-edge looks to accompany their designs.
BEST LOCAL BEAUTY BRAND: The Elixery
I visited the Elixery's factory space a few months ago and got to make my own lipstick. It was a dream come true! Chemist Karoline spends many painstaking hours in her lab creating lipsticks from sheer brick red to bright sky blue and is planning to expand into other cosmetic realms in the future.
BEST BLOWOUT: Blowdry! Blowdry Bar (1203 Lagoon Ave.)
To say I am addicted to Blowdry! Blowdry blowouts is a massive understatement. If I could afford it, I would get one every week, just like ladies in the olden days used to do. Luckily, I can stretch one for almost two weeks with the right products and planning.
A trip to Blowdry! is like a mini-vacation; you get a scalp massage, a hot cup of coffee and the best hair of your life courtesy their stylists and divine No. 4 product line. I've had them shape my unruly blonde hair into Old Hollywood curls and beachy waves to great effect. For $35, it's a small price to pay for the confidence gained by a really, really good hair day.
BEST BROWS: Blink (700 Washington Ave. N. #215)
I had my brows threaded at tucked-away Blink and was forever changed. It was like being touched by god. My brows looked perfect, but not so manicured as to make them seem fake.
Blink isn’t cheap, but its staff will whip your brows into shape without ruining their natural beauty. I recommend it to anyone who needs help figuring out their perfect brow shape, which is not as easy as it seems!
BEST BRAZILIAN: The Refinery (321 14th Ave. SE)
I’ve been getting waxed on the regular here since 2008. It’s right in the Dinkytown neighborhood in the middle of the University of Minnesota campus, so I’d often schedule waxes between classes.
Brazilians at the Refinery never take much longer than 15 minutes; I’m in and out in about five nowadays, and for $35 that’s some serious bang for your buck. Remember to exfoliate beforehand!
BEST SPA: Spot Spa (Northeast: 21 4th St. SE; Uptown: 1600 W. Lake St.)
Spot Spa has two lovely, airy Minneapolis locations. They offer facials by some of my favorite skincare brands, like Dr. Hauschka and Arcona, as well as massages and acupuncture.
BEST MAKEUP ARTIST: Julie Swenson
I send all bride friends to my pal Julie Swenson. Though I've met countless talented makeup artists while living in Minneapolis, Julie is one of my favorites. She's hilarious, so friendly and incredibly talented.
Besides her troupe of brides, Julie does commercial, editorial boudoir and red carpet work, too. She splits her time between St. Paul and Los Angeles. Did I mention she somehow finds time to teach makeup classes and be a mom too? She’s amazing!
OTHER SWEET SPOTS TO CHECK OUT IF YOU'RE IN TOWN
June Resale (3406 Lyndale Ave. S.): My friend Daune owns this designer resale shop and I have purchased many of my most treasured items, like my Chanel saddle shoes, from her. She has fabulous taste and every piece in her store is in flawless condition for an equally good price.
Hunt & Gather (4944 Xerxes Ave. S.): Part antique store, part junk shop, all parts fun treasure hunting.
Mall of America (60 E. Broadway, Bloomington): Only about 15 miles outside Minneapolis proper. You gotta go. It's the biggest mall in America. I worked there once--it was a special time. The Nordstrom beauty department is top-notch, trust me.
The Bachelor Farmer (50 2nd Ave. N.): Obama ate here when he came to town! I love their Scandinavian-influenced dishes like their insanely delicious pheasant meatballs. The duck liver pate toast is one of my favorite things to eat in the city, hands down. Local boy Josh Hartnett likes to eat here. I’ve never seen him, but all my friends have. What gives?
Have you been to Minneapolis? Tell me your favorite spots!