Men charged more for manicures

Some men here are up in arms (and feet), having realised that they are paying almost 30 per cent more than women for manicures and pedicures.

Nail salons here typically charge female customers between $20 and $30 for manicures, and between $30 and $40 for pedicures. But men typically have to pay up to $10 more for either service.

Polytechnic student Darren Tan, 18, goes for manicures occasionally - for example, when he does not have time to take care of his fingernails, or when he wants to feel pampered. However, he is disappointed that he has to pay more than his female friends for a classic manicure.

"It's not really fair that men have to pay more. After all, I don't think it takes a lot of additional effort," he told my paper.

However, Ms Sylvia Kua, 40, a business-development manager at Juup Nails, said otherwise: "It's more expensive (for men) because it takes more effort and time to clean their nails and push back their cuticles, as compared to women."

This is because men have thicker and tougher cuticles than women, according to those in the trade.

The prices of classic manicures and pedicures for men are $8 more than those for women at Juup Nails, which has outlets in Somerset and Marina Bay.

Ms Tay Sok Hui, 33, owner of Nail Enchantment at Far East Plaza, echoed Ms Kua's sentiment. She explained that male customers have "harder" nails, and their nails require "more buffing" before becoming smooth.

She added that, despite this, she gives discounts to her regular customers, regardless of gender. Five salons told my paper that they have experienced a 10 per cent increase in male customers over the past five years. Men now make up about 20 to 30 per cent of their clientele.

At newly opened nail lounge Thumbelina, male customers are typically expatriates. However, it also sees a few Singaporean men who seek treatment for ingrown nails, calluses and foot rot.

Unlike many other nail salons, Thumbelina imposes no additional charge on classic manicures and pedicures for men.

"We want to keep prices equal for men and women. Some of our male customers even commented that it was sexist of other salons to charge them more," said Ms Zoe Teh, 27, owner of the newly opened nail lounge in Bukit Timah.

Mr Tan said he would "definitely go for more manicures" if more salons set equal rates for both genders.

But for polytechnic student Kieran Chiang, 18, the extra charge is "a small price to pay for beauty".

He said: "There are many other things in this world that are more unfair, anyway."

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