Oomph Salon and Academy wants everyone to experience the oomph factor with knowledge and expertise

They call it Oomph — actor Madhuri Bhattacharya and Shalika Kunwar's joint venture, an exclusive salon and academy. “We want our clients to look their best, happy and beautiful when they come here,” they say. “Also to tell them that it's a place where you can bring your oomph factor to the top with knowledge and expertise,” they add.

Decorative floral patterns in silk fabric garland the walls at the entrance of a bungalow in Koramangala, which has been done up in contemporary style to accommodate Oomph salon and academy. You exchange smiles with the pleasing staff at the hostess lounge and enter the unisex hair salon. A wooden staircase leads to the first floor and that is where all the action is.

The first batch of 10 students is already on the job, touching and feeling hair displayed on mannequins, under the watchful eyes of invigilators. “When it comes to hair, technical knowhow is literally non-existent in India,” says Shalika Kunwar. Oomph has a tie-up with Schwarzkopf Professional to offer training for aspiring beauticians and hair stylists. “We have a collaboration with the German University and follow a German curriculum to bring in professional expertise.”

The six-month course in hair styles, co-branded with Schwarzkopf, begins with a step-by-step training on the basic understanding of hair, internally how the hair looks, the structure, colour, chemical make-up and then moving on to styling and colouring. A huge LCD in the theory room displays different looks. And the practical session is drawn based on a particular look. Shalika, who has over 10 years of experience in the industry says hair styling is a “feel” job. “We don't have academies for hair in India that offer good training. Our expertise is not even at infancy when compared to the West. We give them on-job training on dealing with the clients beginning with the distance to maintain while talking and the body language.”

With Oomph, they want to dispel myths associated with hair. “For instance, the choice of shampoos. Most prominent brands (including henna) are high on silica. It gives an instant sheen but what they need to nurture the hair is sulphate-free shampoos. We want people to make logical decisions, understand the hair and gain knowledge of the unknown.” And give consultations on promoting a healthy lifestyle. Madhuri says salons are good things. “They are de-stressing; every woman should take some time off to take care of the hair, nail and skin. There are very few salons that offer a good experience. People are well-travelled, aware and want something different.”

Shalika says every hair strand is unique. “Hair takes the brunt of the sun and wind. There is no repair mechanism; it doesn't know how to repair itself. Use shampoo, conditioner, and use a leave-on serum.” When it comes hair colouring, Madhuri says knowledge is the high point. “Right knowledge, right attitude, confidence and comfort works.”

The USP of the salon is the Shea hair spa, an exclusive high end luxury spa which uses organic derivatives such as blue lotus, white pears, cashmere, wild roses, amaranthus and Japanese cherry. Also the OPI nail lounge, which offers pedicure and manicure spa.

After a tour of the salon, Shalika hands me over to Nisha, a veteran in hair styling and beautician, to get a feel of their beauty services. And, it is an Ambrosia facial (natural) for me, especially to remove the tan. Once inside the spacious facial room, you are cut off from the world as the room is sound proof. All you have for company is soothing music. Nisha gets on with her job. After cleansing, a 10-minute steam follows to open up the pores. Next, she massages the face with the scrubber to remove dead cells. And, the best part follows, a relaxing massage of face, neck and shoulders, with Ambrosia toner. I went into a 20-minute trance and woke up as Nisha applied the white peel off mask to close the pores and to give your face an added glow.

Oomph is located at 555, Madhura, 12 Mani Road, 4th Block, Koramangala. Call: 9901941170.

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