Inside Empire Salon. Photo from the salon's Facebook page
MANILA – A new salon inside the Intercontinental Hotel in Makati City takes inspiration from the high streets of London, with its hairstylists trained in the United Kingdom.
Empire Salon was a result of a teamup among former staff members of Essensuals Toni & Guy at Makati 6750 and a family of business-minded individuals. The salon boasts of a wide range of hair, nail, makeup and depilation services using top-of-the-line beauty products, with interiors having elements of London design.
“It all started ten years ago. We were all part of Toni & Guy at 6750. We maintained the friendship even though we went separate ways,” Angelie Manabat, Empire Salon’s head of management and operations, told ABS-CBNnews.com.
“It has always been our dream to put up our own salon,” she added. “The owners are long-time clients of ours. So when we approached them and asked them if they wanted to invest, readily they said yes.”
Sokie Mendoza, who was the style director of Toni & Guy in Melbourne, Australia at the time, said she immediately returned home after hearing Manabat’s plans for Empire Salon.
She now acts as the salon’s creative director.
“Actually we were surprised because andoon na siya, established na siya in Toni & Guy in Melbourne. Parang we all thought na joke lang ‘yan but then, she went home and joined us,” Manabat said.
The rest of Empire Salon’s team is composed of style director Cristina Dizon, chief makeup artist Chastine Fitcher Isidro, senior stylist Jayson Jaime and head technician Rick Ablan.
Manabat said they hope to help “professionalize” the local salon industry with their London background, noting that not all hairdressers in the country are properly trained.
“A lot of Filipino hairdressers are very, very good mimics. Ang galing talaga nilang manggaya pero minsan, ‘pag ‘di mo alam ‘yung philosophy behind it, doon na nagkakaproblema na lalahatin mo na ‘yung kliyente mo,” she said. “Kasi ‘yun ‘yun eh, personalization. ‘Yun talaga ‘yung ituturo sa’yo sa academy. Aside from the basics, of course, tuturuan kang mag-personalize and to respond to different situations.”
Mendoza, for her part, said: “In London, it’s very specific, lahat ng details. Sa Pinoy, ang tendency is, ‘ay, nakita ko na ‘yan, alam ko na kung paano ‘yan gawin.’ Gagayahin na lang, kapa-kapa lang. Doon kasi, they teach you more on how and why they do it.”
Empire Salon also has suites for customers who wish to have more privacy. Photo from the salon's Facebook page
After Empire Salon, Manabat and Mendoza said they want to put up a school where they can teach aspiring hairdressers about the things that they have learned in London.
“This is our way of giving back to the industry kasi natulungan din naman kami ng industriya. Not everybody is fortunate enough to have an education abroad, in London, even. It costs a lot of money. So sa amin, gusto naming i-share. Wala pa tayo doon sa level na masasabi natin na ‘yung industriya natin ay talagang ‘yung standard talaga. Marami pa ring kapa-kapa,” Manabat said.
Manabat and Mendoza also noted how a lot of Filipinos tend to have a lot of misconceptions when it comes to hair care, saying that these often lead to lifeless locks and unnecessary expenses.
The two mentioned these six common hair mistakes that people need to stop making:
1. Using shampoo without conditioner, and vice versa
In a tropical country such as the Philippines, it is best to use shampoo every day. Photo from Empire Salon's Facebook page
While it is acceptable in colder countries to skip the shampoo once in a while, it is not a good idea to do the same in a warm and humid place such as the Philippines.
Manabat said using shampoo daily in a tropical country helps remove dirt, oil and product buildup, noting that the conditioner will not work if the scalp and hair are not cleaned properly.
“Dapat mag-shampoo ka, kahit na light lang. Concentrate on your roots kasi nandoon ‘yung oil eh. ‘Yung ends na medyo dry na, not too much shampoo,” she said.
A conditioner is just as important, said Manabat, as this will help restore moisture and strength to hair after it has been washed with shampoo. Not using conditioner, she stressed, will result in dry, lifeless hair.
2. Slathering conditioner on entire scalp
Too much of anything is bad and this also applies to conditioner, said Manabat, who lamented how many people tend to apply the product on their entire scalp.
The result, she said, is greasy hair.
“Hindi dapat nilalagay sa scalp ang conditioner, sa tips lang. Kasi ‘yun talaga ang old hair, so normally it’s drier and more mature,” she said.
She also said the same thing about hair serums, which promise shiny locks. “Only use a very small amount, kasi kapag marami sobrang lagkit na. At saka dapat sa ends lang, not the entire scalp.”
To those who have dry hair after staying under the sun for too long, Manabat suggested that they avail of a glossing service. This, she said, will add shine and moisture without the need for a permanent hair color.
3. Leaving the house with wet hair
Leaving the house with wet locks is probably one of the most common mistakes that people make when it comes to their hair, according to Mendoza.
She said hair that is not properly styled can easily make or break a person’s look.
“Dry your hair. Ang dami kasing tao na lumalabas ng bahay na basa ang buhok. That’s a big no-no. Wala ka nang magagawa kasi natuyo na siya nang ganoon. There’s nothing you can do,” she said.
To those who do not have the time to blow-dry their hair, Mendoza suggested to dry their locks in front of a fan or use a smooth cloth.
4. Using anti-dandruff shampoo on colored hair
Those who have undergone color treatments and other services should consider using professional hair care products, advised Manabat.
“Kasi may maintenance talaga and the color lasts longer, so mas sulit ang treatment mo,” she said.
Those who are on a budget may still get supermarket brands, but they should look for products that are for colored hair and avoid using anti-dandruff shampoo. According to Manabat, an anti-dandruff shampoo can cause hair dye to fade easily.
“Kapag nag-color ka tapos you use an anti-dandruff shampoo, sobrang tapang talaga noon,” Manabat said. “Sad to say, if you’ve done a chemical service on your hair, you move up to the high-maintenance group. That’s a reality.”
5. Doing your hair color at home – even if you don’t know how
Manabat and Mendoza believe that there is nothing wrong with coloring hair at home as long as they know how to do it properly.
This, however, is not always the case for many.
“May mga times na nae-encounter namin talaga na… lalo na ‘yung mga nagco-color sa bahay, nagkakaroon talaga ‘yan ng sobrang buildup kaya kung minsan mapapansin mo na pa-light na ‘yung roots pero sa ilalim it’s the same color o dark na dark na. That’s product buildup already. Hindi nae-explain sa kanila kung bakit nangyayari ang ganoon,” Manabat said.
Mendoza advised those who are not familiar with using at-home color treatments to go to a salon, saying that this will be cheaper in the long run than having them corrected.
She also noted how most people do not know how to pick the right shade for their skin tone.
“Kapag morena kasi normally ‘yung mga warm colors ang bagay, like golden brown, red brown and mahogany. Sa mga mapuputi, usually ang bagay cool colors. But those are not hard and fast rules. The best thing to do is to consult a hairdresser,” she said.
6. Relying too much on celebrity haircuts
Not all haircuts are the same. Photo from Empire Salon's Facebook page
It is okay to get inspiration from magazines when getting a new haircut, but always remember that the style still depends on a person’s face shape and lifestyle, said Mendoza.
This as some people tend to force their hairdressers to give them a haircut that is patterned after a celebrity, for instance.
“People go to us (hairdressers) because we are good in what we do, parang doctor ba. Hingi ka ng prescription as opposed to having your look patterned after a celebrity. We have to educate the client din, na medyo hindi yata ‘yan bagay,” Mendoza said. “It varies from client to client.”