Since opening in 2011 Victoria Fox’s MISS FOX salon has become a Melbourne institution, garnering accolades like World’s Best Beauty Salon and appearing in countless national and international beauty titles. But founder Victoria Fox says she doesn’t consider herself a beauty expert, rather, she prefers to call herself “an expert consumer.” This expertise she believes has enabled her business to flourish, and a consumer perspective guides her decision making a decade on.
Inspiration for MISS FOX came from Victoria’s experience as a client, when a small cosmetic procedure went wrong, leaving her permanently injured. It struck Victoria that as a long time salon client, many of her experiences had fallen short when it came to the magic combination of luxury, safety and customer care. She spotted a MISS FOX sized gap in the market. Since then, her salon has become known for its whole day immersive experiences and head-to-toe beauty services. Now, in a change of pace, MISS FOX has branched into “to-go” services via their Instant Skin Bar.
The notion of a facial “to-go” might seem counter to the MISS FOX maximalist ethos, but Victoria says it is completely in-line with her consumer-first approach to luxury. She explains“as a society we’re entering a period of wanting things fast, now and without too much effort” and that “in 2021, life is busier and more complicated than ever.” Instant Skin Bar is the solution for Want an uber-efficient medi-facial? Ruby Feneley discovers the perfect skincare fix at Victoria Fox of Miss Fox Melbourne and reveals how to keep pace with the modern beauty consumer. clientele who want blockbuster results, but find themselves somewhat time-poor. The menu consists of three treatments, all of which can be performed without a full skin analysis. The client selects based on their key concern: dehydration, decongestion or (anti) ageing. The treatments are all performed in under an hour with zero down time and zero need to remove work wear.
Fox’s assessment of the consumer mindset is spot on. Post-pandemic, clients are busier than ever, and a year of fending for themselves, with online shopping and home delivery has shaped a self-sufficient customer. This individual places a high value on in person experiences, but requires them to fit with their lifestyle. And less time means abridged self-care excursions. They are more likely to be intrigued by a facial that can be served up on their lunch-break and give results that will carry them through to after-work drink.
The Instant Skin Bar experience
I went method as the prototypical time-poor Instant Skin Bar client. I arrived for the Medi Skin (anti-ageing) facial somewhat worse for wear. Having risen at 3am for a red-eye Sydney to Melbourne flight I had spent my day in South Yarra bouncing between meetings and chugging coffees to earn my wifi rights at local cafes. I was popping into MISS FOX right before dinner with friends I hadn’t seen in over a year thanks to the 2020 lockdowns and wanted to look like I’d slept in the last twelve months.
My first thought was that entering MISS FOX is like being transported to the most glamorous fashion week backstage (the Instagram backstage, not the reality) replete with velvet lounges, Hollywood makeup stations and a bustling blow-dry-bar. I was reminded that in heavily saturated industries like ours, the aesthetics of space can be as big a contributing factor to an experience at the service itself. The atmosphere at MISS FOX is luxurious and tranquil – the perfect antidote to frayed nerves. This is Victoria’s aim of course – to deliver “instant” treatments without the “rush-rush” environment of your typical shopping strip beauty bar.
Bree Willis, the senior therapist who designed the Instant Skin Bar treatments says the Medi Facial combines two of her favourite therapy modalities: the LED Lightstim and the Venus Legacy. She says “The LED simulates your skin cells, while the Venus stimulates collagen and elastin with radiofrequency, so they work synergistically.” She said all five treatments on the menu were designed to be delivered quickly with long lasting results, targeting the most common concerns Miss Fox clients present with: ageing skin, dehydration, pigmentation, fluid retention, dullness and redness. Because of their instant results the treatments have become particularly popular before special events or media appearances.
Medi Facial has been thoughtfully tailored to meet the needs of a beauty population in which inflammatory skincare conditions like rosacea, acne and dermatitis are on the rise (British Journal of Dermatology, 2021). Radiofrequency and LED are effective and gentle treatments, suitable for a range of skin types. Victoria Fox said that she herself had sensitive skin and was keen for the salon to range products that were suitable for all, which informed her choice to range Osmosis skincare – a a natural cosmeceutical brand focused on calming inflammation. There is growing awareness amongst consumers of the impacts of inflammation on their health and skin. Slowly, there has been a drift away from the harsh scrubs and high percentage chemical exfoliants of the mid-naughts, a trend MISS FOX has kept step with. Virginia my therapist summarises the philosophy neatly: “it doesn’t make sense to create inflammation to treat inflammation.”
So, what do we do instead?
The Venus Legacy is the workhorse of the Medi-Facial, using algorithm driven volumetric heating technology to stimulate fibroblasts at multiple tissue depths along with the release of growth factor F2F, for long-term anti-ageing results. Immediately noticeable? A radiant complexion spurred by gentle stimulation of somnolent blood vessels, along with chiseled cheekbones as the process of lymphatic drainage takes place. Results are so “instant” that when I pop downstairs post-treatment to touch up my face pre-dinner I actually ditch foundation. I look so well rested that were I heading back to the office colleague might think I’d been napping on my lunch break.
The treatment delivers on all promises, I’m in an out in under an hour and when I meet friends for dinner there are no telltale signs of I’ve had a facial (slick skin, extraction marks, rumpled coiffeur… the list goes on). My time at MISS FOX was short, sweet and the perfect circuit breaker to a busy day. Undoubtedly that’s exactly what Instant Skin Bar’s busy CBD client base will be hoping for.
The industry’s future
Victoria believes it’s more important than ever for beauty service providers to continue to evolve their offerings. She says, “I find that innovation often springs from the most chaotic and painful situations – 12 years ago I suffered a minor injury, while that was a painful time, it propelled me to become a best-in-class service provider.” She continues “In all my years spending time with other entrepreneurs, I find that innovation often happen this way. I have seen the pandemic breed some pretty amazing innovations and while it’s not necessary to be in crisis to innovate, a crisis often allows space for innovation to arise.”
This article originally appeared in the July-August 2021 issue of Professional Beauty Magazine.
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