Online booking app Vanitee had its first awards in January for its favourite beauty talents. We single out five that stand out from the rest .
“I didn’t set out to work as a makeup artist, but I was bored with my previous job. So I signed up for hairstyling school.” – Gerra Chong.
What’s worse than spending hours trawling the Internet for “best facials in Singapore”? Choosing a salon with stellar reviews, only to discover that its service is nothing like those reviews.
That’s why Douglas Gan, Meters Ang, Peng Kong Choy and Kuik Xiaoshi started the Vanitee mobile app to make the going better for us. It helps users search for and book beauty services from 1,700 providers who are mostly independent hair and makeup artists, and under-the-radar facialists, manicurists and brow groomers. It is now the No. 1 online beauty booking platform.
To celebrate and honour the best talents, Vanitee started its first awards. Winners were chosen based on reviews and ratings, as well as the number of rebookings made for each service. From the top five in each category, we compiled a list of Editor’s Picks. Here, these winners tell us why they love what they do, and what they are doing that’s better than what others are providing.
Hair & Makeup Gerra Chong, 34 @thebeautysociety
Gerra specialises in the natural look, but she does it with her own twist.
“I don’t always follow what my customer wants, especially if I think a diﬀerent look is better for her. For example, if more eyeliner will be more eﬀective in bringing out her eyes, I will tone down the rest of the face to make sure that the eﬀect is still natural, but her attractive features are highlighted.”
She plays with modern themes and concepts, such as those gleaned from indie or pop culture magazines. “The styles are unique, and I get inspired to try these Caucasian looks on Asians,” she says.
The opportunity to have fun and meet diﬀerent people in this industry keeps her going. “I didn’t set out to work as a makeup artist, but I was bored with my previous job as an optometrist. So I signed up for hairstyling school. When a friend needed help with hairstyling and makeup, I decided to give it a shot. That’s how I got my start eight years ago,” says Gerra, who aspires to manage her own team of artists in future.
Facials Anna Chye, 38 @indulgencebeauty
Anna is blessed with deft hands, which she uses to thoroughly and eﬀectively deep-cleanse the skin without causing pain or leaving red blotches after.
“Extraction tools for blackheads cause pain, and can bruise the skin’s surface, or worse, lead to scarring. By using my fingers to extract, the process is gentler,” she says.
Her extensive experience – she’s been at this for 17 years – allows her to accurately select the right facial treatments to address specific skin concerns. “The easiest way out of any skin problem is to recommend a hydrating facial, which is what many salons do,” she says.
“What I do, however, is to target specific concerns. For example, pigmentation problems can be addressed with a treatment that involves light and heat energy, with accompanying chemical peels and recommended at-home care.”
Brows Wendy Lau, 33 @browstudio
Wendy gives every pair of brows the same patience and attention that she would her own.
“Some customers request a specific shape or style, but it may not suit them,” she says. “So I always try to recommend one that suits them.”
Wendy believes that well-groomed brows can increase a woman’s self-confidence. And she knows that she plays an important role in this. “That’s why I do my best,” she says.
“Well-groomed brows can increase a woman’s self-conﬁdence.” – Wendy Lau.
“I didn’t consciously train myself to draw well, but I believe that my ﬂair for art is why I enjoy my work so much.” – Gwynes Tang.
Nails Gwynes Tang, 28 @2kgnailsbygwynes
Known mainly for her adorable Pokemon designs and detailed prints, nail artist Gwynes clearly relishes what she does. She draws inspiration from personal experiences – for example, a Chinese book she read recently had beautiful watercolour illustrations that she incorporated into her work.
A 10-year veteran in the business, she has always been interested in art. When she was a student, teachers praised her drawings and hung them up in the classroom. “I didn’t consciously train myself to draw well, but I believe that my flair for art is why I enjoy my work so much,” she says.
Gwynes is working towards becoming an accredited professional nail art teacher, and hopes to set up a nail salon one day.
Lashes Elayne Neo, 28 @emeraldallure
The owner of three- year-old Emerald Allure, Elayne is a whiz at making lash extensions look natural and attractive.
Her salon uses only high-quality lashes imported from Korea, which she and her team attach strand by strand using state-of-the-art technology from Taiwan.
For women with hectic schedules, Emerald Allure tries its best to work around their hours. “Currently, we open from 11am to 8pm, but we often put in extra hours to accommodate our customers, sometimes up to 10.30pm,” says Elayne.
These customers not only admire her work but also appreciate her commitment. Regulars, knowing that she has irregular mealtimes due to her work demands, often drop in with snacks or drinks for her.
Some even turn up with souvenirs from their holidays, showing her that they are truly grateful for her eﬀorts.
As Emerald Allure has only one salon in Katong, Elayne hopes to set up branches in other parts of the island. “This will enable us to reach out to more customers.”
PHOTOGRAPHY (GWYNES) TAN WEI TE / HAIR IKEDA MITSURU/ITTO+LIM / MAKEUP BENEDICT CHOO, USING LANEIGE / PHOTOGRAPHY (ELAYNE) WINSTON CHUANG / HAIR MICHAEL CHIEW / MAKEUP LOLENT LEE / PHOTOGRAPHY (GERRA & ANNA) TAN WEI TE / HAIR IKEDA MITSURU/ITTO+LIM / MAKEUP BENEDICT CHOO, USING LANEIGE.