I had the privilege of spending some time with AnnaMarie Cua, hair and makeup extraordinaire, and the owner of The Beauty Box Organic Salon + Spa and I Am Cua. Her salon is currently the only salon in Columbus that provides 100% organic skincare and hair treatments, which requires special licensing and classes, making her Columbus' only practicing certified organic colorist. The skincare products she uses in-salon are made by a fourth generation herbalist in Hungary. The hair color is from Italy and ammonia-free, making it safe for pregnant women and cancer patients. You will likely be greeted by her dog, Dolce and with floor-to-ceiling windows, an overflow of plants and a funky aqua paint color, you might even feel like you're on vacation.
Since 2003, AnnaMarie has been a practicing cosmetologist after receiving her license following high school graduation locally. From there, she attended college in Atlanta where she furthered her education and pursued a bachelor's degree in Fashion Design and Merchandising. Before opening The Beauty Box Salon in 2016, she co-owned a unique salon/boutique concept in City Center with a friend of hers, designing and selling their own clothing and continuing their work in hair and beauty (not to mention she designs and sells wedding headpieces currently!). She has also spent time in South Beach helping a friend of hers open a salon, and currently substitute teaches at her alma-matter as a cosmetology instructor.
She also spent three years in Maui, after moving there with the intention of working on an organic farm. She told me that "her passion is ingredients," and in our conversation, it became clear her knowledge and experience with whole and raw ingredients was indeed a love of hers. If you stop into her salon, you'll find aloe plants all over the studio, which she uses frequently in treatments on clients. She hopes to create her own line of products for skincare using all-natural ingredients. In the meantime, however, she makes an AMAZING sugar scrub that she sells in-store. During her stay in Maui, she couldn't resist getting involved in beauty again and practiced under the #1 makeup artist in Maui for 15 years running. At the time, Maui was the number one wedding destination spot, which gave her exposure to an array of cultural customs and traditions within the wedding realm. She has worked on brides from all cultures, including Chinese, Indian, Russian, Italian, Japanese, Brazilian, Cambodian, Hawaiian and American. Because of this, she is familiar with and able to work with cultural traditions that many other makeup artists and hair stylists may not be familiar with. She explained how working in humid, hot, and rainy conditions - as Hawaii is often known for - really put her skills to the test and was a testament of the products she uses on wedding days.
Her work has taken her all over the country and world, spending a considerable amount of time under industry professionals practicing and fine tuning her work in nails, skincare, waxing, makeup and hair. During her travels, she has become inspired as an artist which directly translates to her salon work here in Columbus. She has always been drawn to Australian hair and beauty styles, noting their uniqueness, vibrance, and creativity. In 2015, she visited Australia for a global hair convention, where she took several classes to develop her craft. While she does love and enjoy her storefront salon, she also loves connecting with brides for their big days.
She describes her ideal client as one that loves to get a little funky, and isn't afraid to do something a little out-of-the-ordinary. AnnaMarie wants her bride to feel like the best version of herself on her wedding day, and notes she will go to all lengths to make sure that happens. Between arriving ready to work, stocked with every tool she could need, to researching different products that work for brides with sensitive skin or product allergies, she believes her value comes from the entire client experience.
She offers brides the option to come to the salon the morning of their wedding, or travel to their getting ready location for hair and makeup. You can hire her for just hair, or just makeup, but trust me when I say that you want her for both. Don't forget to utilize her in the weeks leading up to your wedding for regular facials (she highly encourages this!), nails for your big day, and waxing to get you ready for your honeymoon! On wedding days, she will accept only brides, full bridal parties, and everything in between. With no minimums, her goal is to serve her clients in the best way she can, regardless of how many of you there are.
If you're interested in hiring her for your wedding, she encourages you to visit her website at www.iamcua.com and check out her work. There is an inquiry form on the contact page. Submit your information there and she will respond with more information, pricing, and service descriptions. If you're ready to move forward, she will then create a contract and requires a 20% deposit to reserve your date, but hurry because she books 6-9 months in advance! Most brides like to book a trail run for their hair and makeup, where she will take notes and pictures of everything done and discussed for your wedding day. About a week before, she will reach out and confirm the timeline, and then next time she sees you she will be making you beautiful! On your wedding day, she can deliver all kinds of services, including: full bridal makeup, hair (both up-do's and down styles), airbrushing, body bronzing, demure makeup, custom fit lashes, and even an array of braid styles!
While her price point is slightly higher than the average hair and makeup vendor for wedding days, she firmly believes that the full client experience that she delivers is what gives her an edge. With competitive pricing, she can create custom packages to work with any budget or bride, requires no minimums, and brides receive a touch-up kit for their wedding day.
Be sure to schedule a visit to see her at The Beauty Box for your hair and skincare needs, and keep her in mind for your big day!
I Am Cua: www.iamcua.com
The Beauty Box Columbus: www.beautyboxcolumbus.com
Five fun facts about AnnaMarie:
- She's a big goof ball, which many people wouldn't expect from her, she says.
- She loves to make her own beauty treatments and products.
- She enjoys cooking, experimenting and trying new cultural foods. Recently, she has been trying a lot of Chinese food and recipes. She also knows and loves Moroccan recipes and Indian recipes.
- She loves being out in nature. She's not much of a camper, but does like to hike!
- She loves to read and hardly watches television. Her favorite book, as of recently, is Braving the Wilderness by Brene Brown (which I'm totally checking out for my book reading this year!)