By PAOLA NAVARETTE
Portrait by NOEL PABALATE
Anyone working in the beauty industry should know that first impressions are everything. Candy Hernando, owner of eyelash and nail studio Ayumi Salon, understands this all too well.
“You can only impress someone within the first few seconds of meeting them,” she said. “Eyelash extensions make your eyes pop and help bring out the best version of yourself.”
Before she fell into the wonderful world of lashes, Candy worked for in an engineering firm in Japan for 23 years.
What made her switch was simple: seeing girls who have long, full, and feathery eyelashes every day. “When I was working in Japan, every day when I would get on to the train, I was always fascinated with young girls who had beautiful lashes. I saw them brush up their lashes and it made me realize how it could change someone’s look,” she said.
In 2014, she opened her own salon named after her favorite artist Ayumi Hamasaki, a fashion icon and superstar singer famous for dominating the Japanese pop music scene in the 2000s. “For me, she has the most beautiful lashes. Also, she is one of the pioneers of nail art and eyelash extensions in Japan,” Candy said.
With over 18 branches all over the country, Ayumi Salon prides itself as the only counterpart of DOT 1101, the biggest eyelash company in Japan, which supplies premium quality products and techniques to the salon. Being in the beauty scene for six years, it continues to be an innovator in the salon industry with its well-trained technicians, designs, and services tailored specifically to a variety of customers.
“Our passion is helping women love what they see in the mirror and to face the world with confidence,” Candy said. “When you go to one Ayumi Salon, we want our staff to be performers. Everybody should be performing at par with the quality that DOT 1101 wants us to deliver.”
The brand specializes in combining the natural look of a lash lift and the volume of lash extensions by using 100 percent sable mink hair. Sable lashes are softer than silk, contains that natural shine and fluffy look, and are the closest to natural hair.
Every visit begins with a thorough consultation detailing the client’s health concerns before proceeding to one’s preferred service. The lash technician will help assess and determine the size and type of lash extensions, type of curl, length, and style that would best suit the client’s preference and lifestyle.
One of their signature lash services is 5D Lash Extensions, which use 250 to 300 lashes per eye with lengths ranging from 9 mm to 14 mm depending on the client’s liking.
“We have trained in and perfected the 5D lashes using our bare hands and with our tweezers. These are not premade eyelash extensions that we just attach—we pick all hair individually and make it into a fan,” Candy said.
Other eyelash extension services include Angel Curl, a combination of a lash lift and a classic lash extension, and Cashmere Lash Lift, a premium lash lift with a lash coating.
According to Candy, the extensions will simply fall off after six weeks, but would stay nice up to eight weeks if you care for them. Their company secret: the high-grade adhesive they use for the lashes that don’t irritate or cause problems.
“Since each lash extension is attached to a single eyelash, they will fall out naturally along with the natural growth cycle of each lash. We recommend a touch-up every after 10 days and a repair every three to four weeks,” Candy said.
For nail services, they have lash and nail packages you can book to pamper your hands. They use gel polish, stones, and nail decals for special designs such as the Titanium & Diamond Gel Polish, the first of its kind in the Philippines.
“When we started, we used to have branded nail products in our stores but I encountered problems with it as some polishes would tend to make the nail beds yellow or chip off very fast,” she said. Candy said her solution was to have her own nail polish for Ayumi.
“I spoke to some of my suppliers in Japan to have my own nail polish— it’s collagen-based so it doesn’t make your nail beds yellow,” she said.
“When you want to have the best in lashes, you also want to be known to have good nail services.”
Ayumi Salon is set to open in Banaue, Quezon City on Dec. 8.