The terms ‘salon’ and ‘beauty parlour’ are often used interchangeably – a salon is just into hair treatments only whereas a beauty parlour provides a whole gamut of beauty treatments under one roof.
Technically a salon is run by professional hairdressers who are solely into hair cutting, hair styling and hair colouring. A beauty parlour is where various beauty treatments ranging from skin, hair, makeup, aromatherapy and massages are done.
Nowadays however beauty parlours are becoming specialized, with separate sections for hair, skin, makeup, hairdressers to do your hair, aestheticians for facials, make-up artists to help you highlight your features, manicurists to take care off those delicate digits and experienced staff for waxing and threading.
With beauty parlours and salons mushrooming all over the country, you need to make a judicious choice. A treatment at the wrong beauty parlour or salon could make you shudder when you look into the mirror.
The wrong haircut from a salon or even badly done eyebrows from a beauty parlour may totally ruin that perfect look. So, it’s wise to shop for a beauty parlour and a salon that suits you instead of resorting to random, hasty experimentation.
When choosing a salon and a beauty parlour:
Test the waters
Even if a beauty parlour or salon is highly recommended by your friends or hailed by newspapers it’s still a wise idea to test it for yourself. Newspapers sometimes write rave reviews only for beauty parlours and salons that pay for advertisements, so you never know whether to trust them.
It’s also important to note which of your friends the recommendation is coming from. “The recommendation should come from someone who knows the difference between high living and average – someone who understands the high standards of fashion,” advises one of Mumbai’s leading hairdressers Ayesha Riazuddin.
If you trust a recommendation from your fashion-challenged friend, who’s just heard of ‘blunt cuts’ and ‘step cuts’ (instead of the correct terms, rock chic look and layered cut), you’re asking for trouble. The same salon she praised highly may be at a complete loss when you ask for a truly fashionable stylized cut that suits your face.
At the same time, don’t get carried away by the celebrity clientele a salon may claim to have. Ayesha cautions, “Many celebrities often do their haircuts abroad and just opt for minor treatments like a blow dry in an Indian salon.”
After a beauty parlour or salon is recommend by reliable people and sources, it is still better to test it before you go for any major treatment there. Advises Nirmala Shetty, Beauty Therapist, Naturopath and proprietor of Nirmal Herbal,” Just check out the place by asking for a brochure. Also find out who does the treatment. After all if a male does the massage you may not be very comfortable with it.”
Adds Ayesha, “Opt for a simple treatment like a shampoo. Observe if the hairdresser is professional or not. Can she correctly tell you about the quality of your hair and recommend the exact products you need for it? If the answer is in affirmative, you will understand that this salon even takes a simple shampoo seriously and that you may entrust them with hair cutting, hair colouring and other services.”
‘Don’t judge a book by its cover’ goes a proverb. Similarly ‘Don’t judge a salon or a beauty parlour by its ambience’. Ambience does matter, but don’t forget to check out the professional experience of the staff. Ayesha advises, “When you are searching for a salon start looking for the chef, not the five star hotel. So we are not looking for frills here, we are looking for knowledge.
The ambience of a salon doesn’t speak for much. It could just mean a wealthy businessperson with little knowledge of the business, and good PR skills has started the salon. Unfortunately not many hairdressers in India are licensed. A professional hairdresser should be from a recognized institute which gives her the license to run a place.”
Quality of products used
Top beauticians and hairdressers are updated on the latest beauty and hair products in India and abroad. Nirmala says, “The client has every right to know what is being used on her skin and hair, this shouldn’t be kept a secret.” A good beautician will ask you what products or ingredients you are allergic to before giving you a facial.
Hygiene and Cleanliness
A good beauty parlour will be concerned about hygiene and cleanliness. Beauty, health, fitness are after all inter-connected. A beauty parlour which doesn’t meet the standards of health and cleanliness isn’t for you. Avoid salons and beauty parlours with hair strewn all over the floor and clogged sinks.
Nirmala advises, “Check basic things like whether you can get a fresh towel or napkin. Boiled water should be used for treatments. Are the napkins disposable? Are sterilizers used? Are the workers dropping something and reusing it? Make sure the same cloth is not being used to wipe your face over and over again. The massage parlour should have disposable bed sheets.”
- Comfortable ambiance
A beauty parlor or salon needn’t have a plush décor. It just may be simple yet tastefully furnished. The ambience should make it easy for you to relax. After all you’ve come to the beauty parlour or salon to rejuvenate. Adds Nirmala, “The rooms should be well lit and not dark and dingy. Only select areas like massage rooms may be slightly dim.”
According to Nivedita, a pilot with Jet Airways who is a client at Salon Ay’sha, “I think it is very important to find a salon where a person may find like-minded clients. After all a person will be in the salon for a couple of hours, so what’s the point in being uncomfortable there just because you are not at ease with the kind of people who visit the salon?”
Ayesha says, “Strictly avoid salons with giggly workers. It is an insult to the client to snigger when a beauty treatment is being done on her. Nirmala adds, “The staff should be helpful, courteous and smile politely.” Each and every client should be treated with respect, irrespective of her financial or social strata.