It’s been about a week that beauty parlours reopened and most of them are already booked for weeks to come.
“There’s a huge rush for treatments, especially repair jobs,” chuckles Jolly Chanda of FE Block’s Satin Rose Salon and Spa. “There are couples who tried to chop one another’s hair and messed up and teenage boys coming in, furious at how their mothers ruined their hair. Many had summoned beauticians from an app to cover their greys and it went awry. These women now have stylish blonde shades at the bottom of their tresses but the top looks like it was coloured with cheap sachet black dye. Clients are now coming in the morning and leaving in the evening after head-to-toe makeovers.”
Blame it on wfh
Green Trends, in BE Block, is being frequented by more men than women. "Since men wear their hair short, they need a trim every month or it goes wild. But women, in the work-from-home mode, can just tie their hair and put off colouring, straightening, waxing and threading for later,” observes cluster manager, Sourav Bardhan.
Azone, a ladies parlour in IA Block, has the same complaint. “The most common treatment now is shaping the eyebrows,” says Asha Rana from behind the counter. “Women are shying away from all other treatments saying they don’t need to keep up appearances as they have no where to go. Even if they go, the face is covered by masks. Frankly, I don't blame them. Faced with job losses and salary cuts, will people eat or dress up?”
Not only is Satin Rose ensuring that their clients are vaccinated, but they have also ferried their staff to different health centres to get them vaccinated before opening up. “It would have been awkward if a client challenged if my beautician was inoculated when she wasn't…I wanted none of that and paid for everyone's jabs well in time,” said Jolly.
Priscilla Corner, on behalf of the June Tomkyns salons, explains an elaborate protocol they maintain at the entrance itself. “We are asking the client’s Covid history, present condition, offering them disposable footwear, giving masks…. For treatments like facials, when the client has to remove her mask, we, the staff members, are wearing face shields,” says Priscilla. Also, they are taking clients only by appointment.
It is because of the pandemic, in fact, that June Tomkyns closed down, or rather, shifted their parlour from The Stadel to a second unit at Silver Arcade on the EM Bypass. “Silver Springs is a stone’s throw away from Salt Lake and our clients have no qualms driving down. With two units under the same roof we have greater control to ensure Covid protocols,” says Priscilla.
Salons like AD Block’s The Princess Diary salon have closed down. “The last 18 months have come down heavily on the beauty industry and people have got used to doing things themselves at home,” says proprietor Indrani Saha. “The eyebrow-plucker gadget, for instance, became popular in the markets during the pandemic. People are working from home, there are hardly any get-togethers and so women are spending their days in nighties. Salt Lake clients typically weren’t very young and the 50-plus are hardly stepping out of home now.”
June Tomkyns is booked for weeks ahead and Priscilla says it’s a revelation that despite masks and hair nets, very many people still care about looking good. “I guess they want to look good not to show off to others but to feel good about themselves,” she smiles.
Jolly agrees. “The other day a client was complaining that her NRI son saw her on video call and said she was looking weird after a beautician booked through an app had ruined her hair. Despite the death and despair around, the lady wanted to look good. And that’s important for their mental well-being. People want to be well groomed so they can look at the mirror and smile.”