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Salon time becoming more egalitarian

A trip to the salon is second nature to many women, but more recently men of all ages, ethnicities and backgrounds are embracing the concept.

Long gone are the days when taking care of yourself was equivalent to feminine, as men get massages, dab their eyes with wrinkle cream and spend their lunch hours getting manicures and pedicures.

Today’s men are getting into the makeover scene with such gusto that they have become a large segment of the clients at beauty salons, including at the newly opened Orchid Nails and Spa located at 25 Industrial Dr. in Elmira.

Owner Julie Nguyen said almost 25 per cent of the clients at her salon are men looking for some extra attention to their hands and feet.

Julie Nguyen, who has more than five years experience working as a beautician, has recently opened Orchid Nails and Spa in Elmira. [COLIN DEWAR / the observer]
“I have a lot of men coming into the spa, usually they first come in with their wives or daughters but then they start coming on their own,” said Nguyen. “These men are just looking after themselves and making sure they have healthy feet and nails.”

The spa offers a vast array of products and services available to its clients from acrylic, gel, or solar nails to pedicures, manicures, waxing and facials.

Waxing ranges from eyebrows that will cost $8 while a man’s back waxing or a woman’s full leg waxing can cost $40 to $45.

“We can wax anything from upper lips, chin, legs arms, back or chest, even a bikini or Brazilian wax is available,” said Nguyen.

All waxing are done in a clean private room at the back of the spa. Nguyen has ensured that all her equipment and supplies follow health code regulations and she has the expertise to uphold it.

Born in Vietnam, Nguyen worked at a nail spa for two years in her home country before moving to Canada to work in the industry. She worked for three years at a local spa before deciding to start her own business.

“I have a lot of friends in Elmira who really supported me and the people who live here are very friendly which made the decision to open a spa in town an easy one,” she said. “In my country we don’t have a spa like the ones in Canada. There are no massage chairs or feet baths, it is very basic.”

All spas thrive on an environment that is clean, safe and relaxing, where customers can receive prompt and professional service. Cleanliness is a particularly important element for Nguyen as she knows that can it will draw clients in again and again.

She makes sure that all her employees know to keep all towels, footbaths, and other equipment washed, clean and odour-free. The spa employs four beauticians who are qualified and well-trained, said Nguyen.

“People must be able to trust that the products and tools that we use are of good quality and safe. You cannot afford to put your [clients] at risk from infections,” she said. “After every [client] we wash and sanitize all the tools and equipment that we used. We are very particular about having clean equipment.”

Nguyen says she has aways enjoyed working at spas as it is a profession that allows her to be creative, especially when doing her female customers’ nails.

“I love to make nails beautiful and when I see that my [clients] are happy that makes me happy too. I could design for hours it is just something that I really enjoy doing. I love this job.”

It can be very hard to cut your own nails properly and deal with ingrown toe nails or foot fungus. A professional who has been properly trained can easily work on your hands or feet, said Nguyen.

Nguyen has picked a location for her spa that is strategically situated in one of the busiest areas of town. Formerly the Co-operators insurance offices, the spa is over 900 square feet and offers six massage chairs and foot spas and six manicure or nail stations.

“It is so good to come in and relax and have someone pamper you after working all day.”

The spa takes walk-ins and appointments and is open seven days a week.


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