How can we let World Beauticians’ Day pass by without speaking to Audrey, Yolanda and Lakshmi who took care of the tresses and skin of the ladies in the city, and still continue to do so

Audrey Munez, 69, Audreys, Jawan’s Bhavan

I came to Coimbatore from Bangalore in 1974. I trained with Eve’s Beauty Parlour there for three years. In Coimbatore I worked in Chintamani in their parlour, before striking out on my own. I think I was one of the earliest beauticians in the city. Women who wanted beauty treatment those days would mostly go to Bangalore or Chennai. I mostly did haircuts, eyebrows and hair dye. Of course, I offered facials too. There were not too many varieties of facials those days, or colouring options. But things have changed so much today.

When I began, I charged Rs, 25 to Rs, 30 per haircut. Now. it is anything between Rs, 250 and Rs. 300. My facials used to cost Rs. 100 to Rs. 250. Now they are between Rs. 250 and Rs. 450.

Lakshmi Manokaran, 56, Vikashni Beauty Academy

When I was growing up, the few parlours in the city catered only to the rich and famous. It was my friend who suggested I start a mid-level salon myself. And so, when I was 16, I headed to Mumbai and Delhi, parents in tow, to apprentice under star beauticians. I then worked in the beauty parlour at Ladies Super Market, before launching Vikashni in 1980 on Cross Cut Road, Gandhipuram. Threading cost Rs. 2, a haircut Rs. 5 and a facial Rs. 10. Initially, business was average. It was only after 1990 that people understood the need to visit a parlour. Now people actively visit parlours to de-stress and feel good about themselves.Today, my five parlours, including a bridal studio in Chennai, are known for bridal make-up.

I’ve done about two lakh bridals in 34 years, sometimes, catering to amma, ponnu and pethi!

Yolanda Roberts, 53, Mademoiselle, Ram Nagar

Yolanda started work in Coimbatore in 1977. She worked with several parlours including Audrey’s, Vogue and so on before she started her own place in 1989. “The facials would cost something lime Rs. 150 or so. Now it goes up to almost Rs. 3,000,” says Yolanda. Speaking of the change in clientele, she says that in the last few years, the number of younger people coming in are a lot more. “I think because of the media a lot of things have changed. Now youngsters come in with a lot of expectations, with strong ideas about what they want done, how they want to look. The products have also become high-end and therefore expensive.

CLIENTSPEAK

Audrey and Yolly were pioneers. We went to them for a hair cut, and Yolanda was the person to go to for Bridals. She has so much experience and knows our trends. But, often we would wait to go to Bangalore or Chennai to get beauty services done or get a haircut. Those days, there were limited products. Not any more. There are parlours in Coimbatore these days that can hold their own with the best.

P. Shailaja, 53

I have been going to Audrey’s since 1983. She was one of the very few beauticians then and I have always been comfortable with her way of working, and have full faith in her. Many Defence Officers’ wives would come down from Wellington to get their hair cut from her. Nothing much has changed in Audrey’s parlour. But outside there has been so much of change. Beauty parlours have mushroomed everywhere. While some huge branded ones are there, there are also many sub-standard ones.

Bulbul Vania, 73