Sunday, December 21, 2008

Beauticians are in the eye of the beholder

Ed Note: The first of the beauty rants written in Jul/05 – forerunner to this. Recycling this since I am unwell(shameless sympathy fishing here) and am not supposed to be up and about..

There are three things in the world that I am afraid of - dentists, lizards and superior-young-women-at-beauty-parlours. Today's post is dedicated to the third.

A typical scene from a beauty parlour goes thus

I walk in (usually without an appointment - somehow this thing about taking appointments for parlours has never cut any ice with me - I don’t take appointments for doctors and I’ll be damned if I will take one for a parlour)

Usually two or three extremely superior young women will be standing there looking well, extremely supercilious. The minute I walk in they will turn around and look at me with a slightly contemptuous sneer on their face (I promptly feel that my hair is all wrong or my clothes are inside out or there is a zit on my face or SOMETHING!)

After about three minutes of looking helplessly around one will condescend to come upto me to ask what is it that I want to do. (Usually something very basic - a hair trim perhaps)

She will seat me on the chair (ah, that’s the reason I don’t like beauty parlours’ - the chairs are the same as those they have in a dentists consulting room!).

She stares at my face and asks me "what is your skin care programme"
Me: "Uhm skin care programme?"
She: “Yes skin programme - what all do you do to take care of your skin?”
Me: (Half defiantly, half sheepishly) “Nothing much really - just wash it and keep it clean and don’t experiment with my face wash/soap/cream”
She (rolling her eyes heavenward - one can almost hear her begging God to deliver her from these half-baked-skin-programme less-morons). “You should have a skin regimen - you need to take care of your skin - if you don’t you will end up with wrinkles and marks and look something like that” pointing in the general direction of the picture of an 87 year old woman with a pockmarked face.
She continues: “Look at this - you already have a blackhead here if you don’t take care they will go on multiplying”
I much shaken, peer into the mirror and see zilch: “Uhm where?”
She: “There on your nose! Can’t you see it???”
I peer more intently and manage to locate one solitary blackhead.
She: "You need to take care of your skin - you should have a proper facial and get your skin cleansed and toned - should I do it now?"
Me (feebly): “No- not today I am going for a movie in an hour or so - I just need a hair trim right now”
She (sniffing disapprovingly): “Ok. But I suggest you get some scrubs for your face”

(I have but a nebulous idea what a scrub is - I used to always think it is that thingummy one washes ones clothes with which they beat the dirt out- I have recently discovered it’s a walnut based or apricot based paste, which one is to apply. I haven’t seen it yet but I have just heard all these fancy descriptions from my cousins.)

She (looking at my hair from all angles): “Your hair - it’s so DRY”.
Last time I went there they told me my hair was too OILY - you never win do you?
She lifts my hair up and tells her colleagues “Look at her hair it’s so DRY”
I am ready to sink through the floor, for shamelessly walking around the world with DRY hair.
Then she starts to measure and cut and meanwhile continues her rant.
She: “What shampoo do you use?”
Me: “Head and Shoulders or Pantene”
She (aghast): “Those? Those are very strong! They will ruin your hair - it will eventually all fall off”
Me: (Quaking at the thought of my suddenly going bald):"Uh..what about Sunsilk? Which one should I use?”
She: “Tetra hydrox something something" (I don’t get the last part of the name but it sounds like a washing machine)
She continues: "You should colour your hair - that will automatically condition it and stop it from becoming dry"
Me: "Er no I don’t want to colour it - everyone I know who has coloured complains that it ruins the texture of the hair"
She: "Bah! They do lots of research and testing before they out it on hair - of course nothing will happen to your hair"
Turns to her assistant: "Get the catalogue of hair colour"
I flip through the catalogue - somehow my imagination balks at the thought of me as a peroxide blonde.
I tell the lady the same.
She: "Don't get a global hair colour get it highlighted - that will look nice"
Me:"Uhm but the texture - have been told that it completely ruins it"
She: (In an obvious effort to explain things to a cosmetically-challenged half wit ) : "If you are so afraid of it you should go in for the ammonia free hair colour"

Ammonia? They use ammonia to colour hair? ...Eeeks! I thought ammonia was used for disinfectants.

Me: "Er no ..I think Ill pass the hair colour for now- I just need to trim it you know"
She: "At least come for a conditioning treatment"
Me: "What is that?"
She:"You have to come here and we condition your hair"
Me (suspiciously): "How many times?"
She: "At least five times - you'll need to come every 10 days to sit here for sessions of 45 minutes"
Yeah right - here I barely manage to go to the damn place once in 5 months and she expects me to go there 5 times.
Me: "Isn’t there anything I can do at home?"
She (firmly): “ home isn’t good enough you will have to come here"
Me (looking at her piteously):"Nothing whatsoever?"
She: “You can try this new L'Oreal shampoo-conditioner"
Me: "Where does one get it?"
She turns to her assistant who promptly gets it and puts it in front of me.
She continues:"You must use it - you really need to take care of your skin and hair you know"
Me: (meekly): “This is good is it?"
She: "Yes not as good as a treatment here but if you insist this is decent"
By this time my spirit is utterly broken.
Me: “Okay I guess I will buy this

All the while knowing I am being conned - hell I work in advertising I know how to con consumers into buying things they don’t need or want and I still fall for this!

By this time, the haircut is also done and I walk out the reluctant owner of a very expensive shampoo and conditioner

Beauty? Gah!


Australopithecus said...

mummy mummy main first aagaya

Iya said...

hey..hope u feel better soon...
So did that super expensive shampoo and conditioner make ur hair any less dry??
I have been conned in picking such useless stuff before so now I am ultra careful... one advice wud be to plug in your earphones after u have given the lady the instructions...the indifference usually works...

Mumbai Diva said...

no comment, just......L-O-L

Shachii said...

Oh yeah! Spot on! I usually get something like "You've never coloured your hair? Like, NEVER???!" Like its a crime or something... and then you have two other red-haired women from the other corner staring at you for the rest of the time you're in that chair!!!
Ha ha!

manuscrypts said...

on behalf of the marketing community, allow me to offer my deepest contempt..tch tch
and next time, come to Bangalore, we'll go to my regular barber shop together..they dont ask no questions.. in fact they're cutting so well, most of it is not growing back these days :p

sra said...

Ah, I was looking out for this post (you said it was due in a reply to my comment). None of the beauticians - even in the most high-brow and best-equipped parlours to know what to use onwhom, and are useless at suggesting hairstyles.

There's a parlour I stopped visiting - the owner-hairdresser would insist I needed to get a pre-haircut shampoo in her ionised (or whatever) water, charge me for it separately, boast about her star/starlet/other VIP clientele, try and sell me "her own" or parlour-only hair care products and said I should get my 'sideburns' lasered off and be willing to take a risk with such stuff to look good! She even said my skin was so bad I had to get a facial four times a week!!!

Nandini Vishwanath said...

I hear you! I hear you! I go to the parlour for eyebrows only and a hair cut once in a zillion years when I muster enough courage.

For the talkative person that I'm, I'm totally tongue-tied and I just sit there closing my eyes hoping that this action will prevent me from seeing, hearing, what the heck, being htere! I just hate beauty parlours!

Sandy said...

we men get that too these days. but i give the blighter a nasty look and that normally shuts him up!

AmitL said...

Hi,Cyn-hope you're feeling much better now..(And,if you're not,just read this post of yours..I was ROFLling,imagining the super salesgirl with her gullible,you now own a nice bottle of shampoo and conditioner-besides having had a nice haircut.:)The price-well,look at the flip side-at least you didn't get sold on the hair colour and the 'required'frequent visits to the parlour.:)Cheerio!!

Cynic in Wonderland said...

austro - munna beta first aya? accha gajar ka halwa khilate hai!

iya - no i dont think it really made any difference. it made the hair more sticky for sure. glad to know im not the only one suckered into buying useless stuff!

mumbai diva :D

Shachii - ah et tu have virgin head of hair? i thought i was the last one hehe. they get quite scandalized no? as if that is blasphemy or something

manu - bah to you too. id rather have hair and listen to them then not listen to them and have no hair. no?

sra - they are a menace i tell u . what the hell is ionized water? and how will washing hair in it stop it from doing whatever its suppoed to? next they will be telling u to wash it in all those blingy H20 super premium mineral waters or something.

nandini - thats the funny thing. i reckon men think females LIKE beauty parlours. could not be more mistaken!

sandy - no beautician woman shuts up with nasty looks. heck the potential to guilt trip poor unsuspecting customers out of their well earned money is too high for them to get squashed by nasty looks.

amit - there is sense of self presevation or money preservation rather. im DAMNED if i ma going to spend 10k on my hair in one month.

shub said...

I remember reading this so well. Right down to the L'oreal shampoo part! Strangely, it's left me feeling old(Er)!

sra said...

That beautician claims that water makes the hair softer and easier to cut - I think it just turns the tap for more cash!

Trinaa said...

some beauticians ought to be jailed! seriously.. :P

gooddaysunshine said...

Jeez were you narrating my story? Except that I'm shameless enough to say I don't have enough money on me to buy the conditioner and that I'd be back...for authenticity I ask what time they're open in the night till! They're never going to remember my face when I make the trip back 5 months later!

Amey said...

I barely manage to go to the damn place once in 5 months

Girls are lucky... Every month or so I have to go hear my barber tell me, "You have long hair. You will never go bald".

Aquarius said...

Omg wat a puuurfect description...I was laughing my head off...