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The Lakme rouge

When was the last time you took a closer look at yourself in the mirror? Has your hair been screaming for `care'? How about pampering your face and skin in a chic' salon? The recently opened Lakme Beauty Salon, near Vanross Junction, is `the gateway to a fuller and more beautiful you' -- a place where `you can transform your body, mind and spirit'.

The salon is part of the Lakme brand chain and offers pedicures, hair styling, massages and facials.

The 1,500 square feet salon, has a lovely décor in green and pale yellow. "We want our clients to be comfortable. The salon should build in them a sense of belonging. This is the only brand salon in the city. We have a lot of non-Keralite clients now," says S. Karthika Ajith, who runs the salon. The parlour has beauticians who have been trained by Lakme. Their expertise can be seen in the way they cater to the clients. There are four hair styling units; facials, bleaching and waxing are done inside cubicles.

The cosmetics and other beauty products such as the skin renewal facial scrub, soothing calamine and pure aloe vera gel all are Lakme's. German products are also used. Hindustan Lever provides the aroma oils used for beauty treatment.

The hair dyes come in a wide range of colours and in various tints such as ruby red, samba brasil, hot chocolate, red sunset, red passion and true nature range. Each of these has dark, medium and light shades. Avocado, honey or henna extracts are used for conditioning the hair. This softens the hair and gives it a silky feel.

The facials done here are of three types- Lakme facial, Aroma facial and Fresh fruit facial. The normal facial helps to keep the skin well-toned while the revival facial is good for sagging skin.

"We recommend face-clean ups for teenagers and those in their twenties. Determining the skin type and the duration between beauty treatments is also important. Regular facials are bad for the skin. For those with oily skin and acnes and pimples, clean-ups are a prerequisite for facials," point out beauty experts.

The staff is required to attend classes conducted by doctors and cosmetologists and every six months their skills are polished further. The massages are done by applying varying amounts of pressure on the pressure points.

Unlike many other parlours, Lakme Salon uses only disposable cloth. Even the bindis for the bridal makeup are sent from Mumbai. "Lakme believes in quality, so we maintain high standards," Karthika adds.

The service tariff is of course a bit expensive than other salons, but then quality does come with a price. A manicure will cost you Rs.95, while a pedicure comes for Rs. 120. Bridal make-up has a fee of Rs. 2,000 and Bridal package costs a little more- Rs. 3,500. Clean-up costs Rs. 150, while Fresh fruit facials can be done for Rs. 400. The most expensive facial here will cost you only Rs. 450. If you can spend Rs. 575, you can get your hair coloured if it's short; colouring long hair will cost you Rs. 925.

Check it out yourself at the Lakme Salon, in the midst of soft lights while the strains of sarangi and sarod soothe your frayed nerves. The salon is open on all seven days a week from 10 a.m. to around 7 p.m.

SMITHA SADANANDAN

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