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May Yip
Wednesday, Jul 23, 2014

Semi-permanent beauty

The Business Times | May Yip | Wednesday, Jul 23, 2014

Forget the five-minute face. Recent research by US morning TV programme The Today Show and mass media corporation AOL found that the average woman spends 55 minutes on her appearance every day - or two weeks in a year.

But if a similar study were to be made on women here, those numbers may take a big dip. Today, minutes could be shaved off one's beauty routine thanks to a slew of lasting beauty treatments - from hair straightening sessions that don't leave tresses looking totally limp, to natural-looking brows that mimic Cara Delevingne's voluminous arches.

Homegrown semi-permanent make-up chain Erabelle has seen a 24 per cent increase in annual revenue from its eyebrow embroidery packages last year; while Strip, another local beauty chain initially known for its waxing services, notes that over 70 per cent of customers now opt for permanent Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) hair removal treatments. Half the customers at nail salon chain Manicurious also choose gel manicures over regular polishes. The earlier procedure lasts an average of two to three weeks, compared to mere days for old-school manis.

"Such spikes (in eyebrow embroidery) could well be attributed to the fact that more people realise how well-groomed brows can make a great difference to their appearance," says general manager and founder of Erabelle, Esther Kerk. "Unkempt brows can easily downplay one's tidiness. And such a procedure makes it convenient for clients to look fresh from the moment they wake up in the morning, without spending additional time trying to balance their eyebrows or groom them."

State-of-the-art brows

Corporate finance executive Linda Lee, for example, has opted for laser hair removal and semi-permanent brow and eyeliner make-up in recent years. "It is mainly out of convenience, I am just lazy, quite simply put," says Ms Lee, who would return to the salon for touch-ups on a yearly basis.

The latest breed of lasting beauty fixes is a far cry from the damaging treatments of yore, which often yielded unsightly results. Gone are the days of blue-tinted tattooed brows, for example, or nail extensions that destroy your digits. Instead, the focus is on looking naturally accentuated without wrecking one's God-given assets. "If you are comparing the earlier generations of embroidery and now, the colour pigment quality is definitely higher, and geared towards looking natural in the skin," explains Ms Kerk.

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