City News contributing writer subjects her bitten-down digits to some much needed grooming and tells us about the experience.
|PHOTO COURTESY OF IPUTA NAILS
Short, tiny nails, bitten to the quick. That was the state of my nails before I stepped into Iputa (Korean for “pretty”) nail salon.Needless to say I had never stepped into a nail salon before and this was my maiden voyage into the sparkly world of artificial nails and 3-D nail art.
Iputa is tucked away in a corner of Far East Plaza. A girl’s hideaway, you’re greeted by pale pink walls, big comfy armchairs and manicurists in pink aprons. Right at the receptionist sit two lonely chairs for waiting customers, but more often than not, the waiting boyfriend.
June Tan, owner of Iputa Nails, had me settle into an armchair as she added the finishing touches to another customer’s nails. One of her staff started on a pedicure for my feet and I was quickly lulled into a pedicure coma by the soft strains of k-pop and the murmur of customers chatting as they were being pampered.
Pedicures at Iputa have your feet soaking in a sink of warm water with fizzing bath salt, followed by a leg scrub and a rubdown with a pumice stone. Toes are then prettied-up with a color of your choice.
“Your nails are so tiny!” she exclaimed. I had to sheepishly admit to her that yes, I tend to bite my nails. “Nails are like your face and hair; you must take care of them,” she reprimanded. The mother of two took the time to explain what type of artificial nail would be good for me.
With my tiny nails, it was definite that if I wanted to paint them I would have to add extensions. “We encourage customers with short nails to keep their nails long. If their condition is bad,” somehow I had a feeling she was referring to my nails, “we help by putting extensions and overlay gel.” Overlay gel is meant to protect nails and is more long-lasting than regular nail polish.
“Nail polish chips easily after a few weeks, but soak-off gel lasts for over a month. 80 percent of our customers use soak-off gel. They usually come back after three weeks to change their nail design.”
“Apply overlay gel and extensions and in about two months your nails will look very nice.” She prepped my hands for their makeover by neatening my cuticles and buffing my nails, all the while telling me more about her shop.
A native from South Korea, Tan arrived in Singapore over 10 years ago and is married to a Singaporean. She and her husband have two daughters. Tan always had a penchant for arts and crafts and she discovered the joys of nail art soon after arriving in Singapore. “When I give customers pretty nails, they are happy and this makes me happy too.” June enjoys creating new designs for nails, and customizes designs for customers.
“Three-dimensional art is very popular.” She referred to a few pictures of previous designs she did for customers. Flowers, bows, there was a plethora of fashion nail art. “Most of my nail art is from Korea.”
Quickly shaping the acrylic pieces for the base of my nail extensions, she shared about the profiles of different ones who visit her shop. “My customers are bankers, businesswomen, and housewives. We have tai-tais coming in also.”
“Air stewardesses come in a lot as well.” She added. Customers like air stewardesses and businesswomen usually go for a simple look. Most opt for soak-off gel instead of nail polish as it lasts longer and is more resistant to wear and tear.
While 3-dimensional art sounded tempting, I opted for a simple, sparkly design of black, silver and pale pink. With the little pots of color-gel in hand, Tan began to paint on each layer with a brush. While long-lasting and less damaging to the nails, applying soak-off gel polish is tedious. Each coat can only be dried by a UV light and has to be dried slowly, layer by layer.
Finally after about 30 minutes my nails were done and I reluctantly got out of the comfortable armchair. Shiny and new, the nails were a whole new experience for me.
One question, how do I open a can?
14 Scotts Road, #05-07,
Far East Plaza, Singapore 228213
Tel.: +65 6735 7073