I managed to get my extensions refreshed just before the Circuit Breaker, but when the lash salons stayed shuttered for months and more and more of those lovely strands fluttered to the ground, I was starting to get desperate. Especially since strange gaps were starting to become visible during Zoom meetings.
So when it was announced that beauty treatments could operate again in Phase 2, I pounced on my phone to secure a slot. And that's my first tip to you:
News outlets have been reporting how beauty services have been completely overwhelmed since their reopening. Some businesses have had to respond to up to 1000 queries a day. Combine this pent-up demand with the limit on customers per salon/spa to ensure safe distancing, and that means it's extremely unlikely you'll be able to saunter up to your salon without an appointment.
Lash salons are no exception to the national requirements for customer check-ins. Since time will be taken for you to scan your phone/ID and check in, take your temperature, and use some hand sanitiser before your therapists get to work on you, best to arrive early so as not to waste any of your long-awaited treatment time. From my experience, 5 minutes seemed to be the minimum required buffer.
Which reminds me: While two hours of mandatorily having your eyes closed might seem like the perfect excuse to leave the world behind, make sure you don't leave your mobile at home. Not every salon will have the scanning facilities to beep you through using your IC, so you'll need to use your own smartphone to scan the salon's QR code for the compulsory SafeEntry check-in.
When it comes to beauty services, you still have to keep your mask on (unless you're specifically getting something done on the lower half of your face, like for a facial).
Lash services do not fall under this exception, so make sure your mask for the day is chosen for comfort. While cotton masks are softer on your skin, standard surgical masks are often airier and easier to breathe in, so pick according to your priorities.
I had a soft fabric mask on, and I personally wasn't uncomfortable at all. In fact, since I often fall asleep with my mouth open during beauty treatments, I was just glad the mask would save me from looking unglam.
While lashes are often chosen according to your eye shape (cat-eye styles to elongate round eyes, reverse cat-eye styles to space out close-set eyes, etc), those fringes for your peepers can help balance the rest of your features as well. For example, some beauticians believe that bolder lashes can add angles and definition to rounder faces, or that heart-shaped faces benefit from lashes that taper out at the end.
I noticed that my therapist currently couldn't see my face below mask-level, so I was happy to literally give her the full picture, by pulling out my comprehensive database of clear, close-up selfies to share the best possible information to base lash designs on.
While many of us are used to schlepping up to spas in singlets and shorts, be warned that the provision of beauty-salon blankets and towels that used to keep us warm is currently disallowed. I unfortunately forgot about this, and subsequently had it drilled into my memory with blasts of air-conditioning on my bare legs for two hours. Those of us whose feet freeze over easily might even want to wear socks. No need to suffer for beauty.
Agent G at Allongee Japanese Beauty Salon 1 day after Phase 2 Reopening
To reduce risk of viral transmission, some establishments like Allongee Japanese Beauty Salon are wrapping salon beds in single-use polyethylene material, to be disposed of after use by each customer. So your usual soft plush lie-down might now include the sounds and sensations of plastic. We all have sounds that drive us crazy, so if you expect that to be one of yours, bring earbuds to listen to your favourite music during the treatment. And if you don't like feeling plastic on your skin, again, do try to wear long bottoms, and throw on a jacket.
Model customer on an adjacent bed at Allongee Japanese Beauty Salon
The good folk in the beauty business are not allowed to resume serving drinks to customers yet, so if you think you'll get thirsty from your two hours of therapy, bring a bottle of your favourite beverage so you can have a swig right after you're done with your treatment. I was just careful not to do a water parade just before the treatment so I wouldn't squirm throughout the service.
Certain beauty salons have both lash and nail services in their repertoire, and used to give you the option of doing them simultaneously (as per the picture below).
Now, to minimise the number of people in close contact at any one time, I was told that's currently not an option. Guess I'll have to space my full-body makeover out over different salon sessions.
With everything from bottles and jackets to phones and socks being brought for your salon visit, it's unfortunately easy to forget something at the salon. Make sure to check your belongings before you check out, spritz some sanitiser on your hands, and head home with your fabulous new lashes.