If you’ve ever been to South Korea and went searching for a day of pampering, you would have probably found Leekaja Beauty Salon. The popular and prestigious salon boasts 150 outlets in South Korea alone, 60 in the USA, 30 in China, one in Australia, and now the first one in Singapore has finally opened at Mandarin Gallery Orchard.
Established in 1972 by Madame Leekaja, it has since grown into a beauty empire of sorts, renowned in Korea and elsewhere. Over here in Singapore, Leekaja Beauty Salon is totally new to the scene and only opened early Dec 2016, on the third floor of Mandarin Gallery.
You might first be daunted by its location, assuming that the prices will be sky high but I assure you that it’s actually rather reasonable. Besides, personal grooming under their exceptional care and reputation is well worth the money spent.
Walking in, you’ll be greeted by wooden panels, lined with foliage, exuding an earthy charm that is warm and inviting – the perfect ambience for a day of pampering.
Chairs are all decked out in black leather, reaching the granite floor that injects a slight industrial chic to the interiors. The soothing atmosphere allows complete surrender of the senses to relaxation, allowing the stylists to work their magic.
Staying true to their roots, the salon staff is made up of 70% Koreans, all expertly trained to ensure every single intricate detail is looked after.
They believe in providing only the best services and that means leaving no customer dissatisfied. This is evident in the salon’s buffer period of eight days after your visit, where there’s free retouching for haircuts, colour jobs, perming and rebonding.
You can choose to get your hair coiffured by the resident stylists ($50 for men, $60 for ladies), senior stylists ($60 for men, $80 for ladies) or director ($70 for men, $100 for ladies). Two from our team got themselves a haircut by a stylist, and a head spa (+ scalp treatment $180), which is honestly something you should get while you’re at it.
The stylist, Hyun Jin, suggested a few hair styles based on their face shapes before proceeding to pamper them further with a soothing hair wash.
A gentle head massage and wash completely relaxes one and sets the mood for the rest of the pampering session. Providing a face mask during the hair wash service is not a common practice in beauty salons in Singapore, and it is something that we now think should be a necessity.
Hyun Jin snips and shaves away with extreme precision and professionalism, giving an end result that greatly satisfies. Before the final hair styling, the boys were indulged in a head spa that relieves any tight knots, massaging the temples and scalp thoroughly, leaving them invigorated.
So yes, you get the drift, Leekaja Beauty Salon provides exquisite salon care when it comes to hair styling, perming, cutting and the sorts. But what really sets this Korean salon apart from the others is how holistic an experience it is.
Much more than just providing a specific beauty service, Leekaja Beauty Salon encompasses all facets of beauty services and ensures you’re as comfortable as you can be throughout.
I’m talking about more than just your usual haircuts and head spa treatments – you can also come here to treat scalp problems and hair loss with authentic Korean hair products. They even have private rooms for you to feel like royalty while indulging in such hair services.
And it doesn’t even stop there; Leekaja Beauty Salon offers make up services for all sorts of events, nail and foot care for everyone as well as eyelash extensions. There’s no way they’re leaving out Korean eyelash extensions.
When it comes to make up, trust the Koreans to transform you into a baby doll, complete with such sweetness nobody could resist. If that’s what you’re aiming for, then look no further.
Leekaja Beauty Salon provides make up services for dinner and dance ($100), bridal day ($300) and friends and family of the bride ($80) as well. You can even get your eyebrows trimmed ($15) and shaped ($30) at the same time.
Calling all Gelish fans, you’ll be pleased to know that Leekaja Beauty Salon uses a buffering machine to remove your old Gelish manicure, something I’ve not seen in the other nail salons that I’ve been to.
The machine allows the manicurist to scrape off the Gelish manicure or pedicure carefully, controlling strength while simultaneously having the ability to gauge the degree of scraping so as not to damage the nail bed.
Gel Classic Manicure ($85), Gel Classic Pedicure ($95), Addition of Nail Art 2D or 3D ($10 onwards)
What usual salons do is to soak your nails in acetone before using the buffer to buff off, which could hurt your nail bed in the process and weaken your nails with each session. While I was waiting for my turn, I was wondering if she wanted me to pre-soak my nails to save some time.
But since she spoke of nothing, I let the artist do her job. And when she finally brought out the machine, I was impressed and thoroughly sold. I was definitely going back there for more.
Nuri, Leekaja’s dedicated nail artist, has been at it for over three years with certified qualifications in her field. Friendly and warm, the two hour long session quickly turned into a hearty conversation, making the entire process a much more enjoyable one as opposed to sitting there in absolute boredom and isolation.
I’ve been going for manicures for quite awhile now and was always tempted to try the marbling effect. I was quite apprehensive about the results because it’s really, pretty damn hard to get right.
It requires the artist to have an aesthetic eye to improvise according to the width and length of the nail beds rather than simply following a template.
The end product? I’ll let the picture speak for itself. And I’ll have you know, the cliche idiom of ‘as happy as a lark’ greatly described me then.
Remember when I wrote about it being a holistic experience? Here’s an idea of the level of service that you’re treated to.
There’s an in-house cafe, where a pretty Korean barista will masterfully pull you an espresso, or make you a latte, or a freshly squeezed blend of juice… well you get it. Alongside comes a little Korean snack so you won’t get hungry or bored while you’re indulging in a day of pampering.
We all know how long some of those treatments take!
By now you should be sold, like I am. So hurry on down and get yourself a pampering session that you won’t regret.
There are three tiers of membership, the first costing $1000, second $3000 and third $5000, with better benefits in every tier. The membership prices serve as credit for any of the treatments at the salon.
Leekaja Beauty Salon doesn’t just tend to your needs, but to a child’s as well, so your entire family can get a haircut together. If you’re considering the $5000 membership, it can be shared amongst your immediate family. The $3000 can only be shared between two persons and the $1000 is limited to the purchaser.
Membership runs for one year effective from the first day of usage and as mentioned, can be used on any service in store so it really works out to be quite worth it. I speak with such conviction as if I’m secretly Madame Leekaja’s daughter or something (I wish), but it’s really the premium services and hospitality that they provide that has got me so mesmerised.
So go on, treat yourself.
Expected damage: $50 – $180
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