For all you beauty gurus looking for quality, cruelty-free makeup, and the sophisticated fashionistas looking for their new favorite boutique, a new contender has entered the ring here in Pittsburgh: welcome to VanityBox, located in Shadyside and owned and operated by licensed esthetician and masseuse Lauren Kennedy.
Shadyside is the prime location for chic boutiques of all kinds, salons and spas galore, and some of the best galleries and restaurants in the city. Now, right on Ellsworth, you’ll find the newest resident: an all-in-one boutique and spa offering the prettiest pieces from the Sugarlips Clothing Line and Bijoux Jewelry, among other accessory brands, on the top floor; a full-service makeup bar on the second floor, for makeovers and teaching tutorials to clients; and a treatment room on the bottom floor where you can get a variety of facials, chemical peels, waxing and masque treatments.
When you walk in the front door, you enter into the main floor where to your right is the marble-top makeup bar, lit by beautiful glass chandeliers with director-style chairs for the clients to sit. To the back of the room, a quaint sitting area with a small table adorned with accessories like jewelry and scarves, and a cushioned center ottoman topped with various coffee table books about fashion welcomes waiting guests. The skincare products and supplement line sold in store line the left wall while the right wall is a kitchenette stocked full with what looks like leftovers from her soft opening just a week before, where she had a DJ, snacks and drinks, and giveaways for lucky attendees. When you walk in, it’s almost overwhelming trying to take in the beautiful interior of the space while also being surprisingly greeted by Owen, Lauren’s Yorkshire terrier that gets to come to work with her every day.
To celebrate the New Year, this long-time dream of Lauren’s will officially open on the first of January. After growing up with a makeup artist for a mother and receiving her license in esthetics and massage therapy in 2007 after attending school in Las Vegas, Lauren says she always knew what she wanted to do, and she wasted no time doing it, opening up her business in about one year’s time. “I was an assistant manager for MAC for about 4 years, and they cut my position. I knew exactly what I wanted to do for so long, so it just drove me to work even harder,” she explained. “I knew exactly what I wanted to carry, everything I wanted to do, and it just happened naturally.”
Lauren carries a multitude of brands in house. The paraben-, sulfate-, and cruelty-free mineral makeup line and skincare supplement line are by Jane Iredale, both including a variety of products such as foundations, bronzers, shadows and lipsticks in the makeup department, as well as omegas, skin antioxidants and a multi-vitamin-like product called Skin Accumax in the supplement line. The lashes she uses in her strip and single application services are by a brand called Tatti, worn by popular MUA Nikkietutorials and celebrities like Khloe Kardashian and Christina Aguilera. The brand offers Brazilian silk, Mink, and Human hair varieties. Lauren herself has a favorite from the line, saying, “I love the human hair [lashes], they’re the lightest. It feels like nothing on the eye.”
Ask any makeup artist, but Lauren will be the first to tell you that great makeup starts with great skincare. Dermodality Skin Solutions is the fragrance-, paraben-, and cruelty-free skincare line the sits proudly on the shelves, offering multiple types of products under the Cleansers, Serums, Moisturizers and Hybrid Peels categories. The line has products suitable for all skin types, and is built to help anyone create a solid, customized skincare routine using their products. For any other information on the brands and products sold in store, Lauren has brochures for the makeup products, supplement line, and skincare solutions spread across her front desk as soon as you walk in the front door.
Among the brochures, a black and white menu of all of Lauren’s services stands out from the rest with the VanityBox logo spread across all 3 folds. Inside, you’ll find descriptions and prices for makeup tutorials and applications for special occasions, as well as for various facials, waxing services, and chemical peels that she does in her private and professional treatment room on the bottom floor of the building. The Signature Box Facial, priced at $120, is anticipated to be the best seller, and includes a massage of the face, neck, decollate, scalp, hands and arms, a nourishing treatment, extraction procedure, and finishing mask. Spare 90 minutes of your time and indulge in the ultimate luxury skin treatment, or check out the other shorter treatments available if on a tight schedule!
All in all, it’s a safe bet to say that Lauren Kennedy has opened up the best new one-stop shop for all of your beauty needs. Start off your new year with a little pampering and a stop in to VanityBox Boutique on Ellsworth Avenue in Shadyside to say hello to Lauren and find out all that she has to offer. Be sure to say hi to Owen too!