Get bouncy blowouts at Prep
IMAGINE a bygone era when beautifully coiffed hair was a must, and when glamorous women would saunter into salons just to get their tresses done in time for their afternoon tea.
This is exactly what Singapore's first dedicated blowout-only salon, Prep, wants to inspire in women. So, the two-month-old salon at Mandarin Gallery doesn't offer haircuts - just washing, massaging and styling.
The concept is the brainchild of three friends - Ms Jacelyn Soh, 28; Ms Jacqueline Chang, 28; and Ms Yishi Teh, 28 - who left their cushy corporate jobs in the finance and food-and-beverage industries to launch the niche service.
"The first thing people notice is your hair. I think more attention should be paid to it," Ms Teh said.
The idea behind Prep came about after they "found themselves to be frustrated office workers" who wanted to relax at lunch and get their hair done, but couldn't find many options in the market.
Ms Teh admitted that Prep's specialised services are not as cheap as those at a multi-service salon: prices start at $39 for basic styling (six styles are available for you to choose from) and can run up to $89 for a more complicated updo.
But Prep is also offering a lifestyle - a "chill" atmosphere and where one can hang out, like at a cafe or a friend's home, she said, adding that she hopes the salon can bring back the times when women took the time to set their hair.
She wants to make the concept popular among 20-somethings, and have them think of it as a pampering session they can incorporate into their schedule - just like a manicure, for example.
BOUNCY CURLS IN A SNAP
Intrigued, this reporter tried out Prep's services earlier this week. My stylist, Mr Sherman Poh, who has been in the industry for 13 years, advised me to try loose Japanese curls, one of the six basic looks available.
My mane usually hangs limply about my face and, attracted by the idea of a head full of bouncy waves, I went with his suggestion.
Mr Poh washed my hair twice with Redken products, before giving me a vigorous 10-minute head massage (available for $10 more).
Then, a hot towel was placed on my forehead and under my neck while conditioner was applied onto my tresses. Redken nourishing mousse was applied to my wet hair before segments were parted and blow-dried, with the help of a round brush. My hair was then set in rollers.
Fifteen minutes later, my curls were given a fluff, serum was added for shine, and I was good to go.
It all took less than an hour, and I loved that my hair bobbed about, looking alive and healthy. I felt like a movie star who'd stepped off a 1960s-inspired photo shoot.
Sadly, the curls didn't last very long - they lost their shape after two to three hours.
Still, even at the end of the following day, I felt that my hair had volume - something quite foreign to me. And the strands were smooth and frizz-free.
I was tempted not to wash my hair that night, just to retain the effect for at least another day.
Guess that means I've got to go back to Prep to try out the other styles.
Prep is located at #03-34, Mandarin Gallery (tel: 6732-6123). Services begin from $39.