The Secrets of Singapore Beauty

It seemed to me that I could have been anywhere in the world getting my nails gelled – except of course it was 9:00pm on Sunday night – which probably doesn’t happen in most places. I wasn’t planning on getting my nails done, but then I came upon the cutest Opi Boutique in Singapore’s Marina Bay Sands complex and I thought why not? I had thought just a basic shape and polish but the sweet lady behind the counter used her Jedi mind powers and the next thing I knew I was picking a gel colour. They look nice – but really I could have done the same thing back home – and probably not paid quite so much for the privilege.
The next day I decided I was going to give myself a local beauty experience. I headed out to Buffalo Road which is right in the heart of Singapore’s Indian enclave to have my eyebrows threaded at Rupinis. As the Diwali (Deepvali) festival of light is next month, the area was dripping in Indian bling, flower garlands, bangles, saris and lots of bright mysterious little boxes were being offered for sale everywhere.
Where I had been dropped off by the taxi I could see a row of local shops selling mostly food and household items. I did wonder for a while whether I was in the right place – but then as drew into the alley-way behind the rows of vegetable stands there was the wooden archway signalling the entrance to Rupinis.
Now before I go any further let me be clear, Rupinis’ is Holistic Indian Beauty Spa which has been around for some 15 or more years. Do not expect clinical treatment rooms, or hip and trendy fit outs – that’s not the experience you get. When you enter Rupinis you walk up an old wooden staircase, leave your shoes at the door and step into a darkly lit, heavily incensed parlour.
There are no bookings. You walk in, you wait. And when a beautician is ready she leads you to an armchair of sorts where she leans you back and using her fingers, mouth and a piece of thread she attends directly to shaping your brow. There is no consultation. No discussion about whether she will take hairs off the top or whether you want thick or thin. You are placing your brows in her hands. In my case, the results were exactly what I was looking for. A natural, still thick, but well shaped and tidy brow – which cost me $7 Singapore dollars.
But Rupinis does more than just brows and if you wanted you could try out a range of treatments – they also do waxing and I must admit to having a bit of a giggle when I saw the Bollywood Baby Wax (Brazillian) on the menu. I dare say the young lady who was ahead of me may well have been waiting for that or some similar kind of treatment as she seemed very uneasy for someone who was attending a beauty salon at that time of day. She was subsequently whisked off into some treatment room out the back.
I decided I would also have a hair treatment as the Singapore humidity was responsible for what can only be described as a hair disaster. I chose the hot oil scalp massage which was immensely relaxing – but as it was conducted in an odd side room off the main salon – felt a tad awkward – particularly as the only privacy was a sheer, black curtain. The treatment involved rubbing the hot oil into the scalp until the entire head of hair was oiled. After a head, neck and shoulder massage I sat under what I think was a hot steam lamp – which caused me a bit of a scare initially as all I could see was a red light and some smoke-like steam coming out from the back of my head.
It was all quite safe however and I was extremely pleased with the results. The cost was $35 Singapore and included a wash and blow-dry afterwards.
You know I could have gone to one of those high end spas in one of the many five star hotels or down at the Marina Bay Sands and yes it would have been a very sanitized, relaxing experience. But why? I’m in Singapore and everywhere I look there are beautiful women. I have no doubt that Rupinis is one of a multitude of places that deserves to take credit for that.


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