Yun Nam Hair Care Singapore - Review of a trial session
If you live in Singapore, you would likely have seen the numerous advertisements by Yun Nam Hair Care offering free or low-priced trial sessions to people with hair problems. You may even have been tempted to go try their services, but was, like me, extremely worried about the hard sell tactics that usually accompany these offers. It turned out that I was recently asked to accompany a friend to a trial session, and came away with a few observations that you may find useful.
The Scalp Analysis
The session began with a questionnaire asking us basic questions about ourselves, our lifestyles and our hair care habits. This was followed by a scalp analysis. A hand-held scanner was used to capture magnified images of various parts of our scalps. These images were then saved into the computer. With the help of the images, the consultant then "analysed" the problem areas in our hair and scalps.
Between the two of us, we had various problems -- dandruff and itchy/flaky scalp, hair loss and gray hair -- thus the consultant focused on the following points:
- According to the consultant, a healthy “pore” (I am using the term very loosely here since the consultant had a very poor command of English) should have three hairs growing out of it. She proceeded to point to all the areas of our scalps with less than three hairs per pore.
- A person with a healthy head of hair purportedly has lots of "baby hair". They showed examples of baby hair and pointed out areas that lacked these vital elements.
- The consultant also showed us various parts of the scalp which looked flaky (due to dandruff).
The images did seem to show serious problems.
However, with regard to the three hairs per pore "fact", for example, it is interesting to note that in one of the testimonials found on the Yun Nam Hair Care website itself, this is stated less definitively: 'Before treatment, her scalp was excessively oily, and her hair follicles were badly clogged. Most people on average have 3-4 hairs growing from each follicle; however Rachelle only had 1-2. In certain follicles, she was hairless.' (bolding mine) (Source: Yun Nam Hair Care, Testimonies 2 - Rachelle ). Furthermore, a search of internet sources seems to suggest that each hair follicle has only one strand of hair, but that follicles may cluster together in a way that makes it seems like they are all coming out of one opening, and the number of hairs per group can range from 1 to 4 (in hair transplant literature, such clusters are called "follicular units". See for example the International Society for Hair Restoration Surgery information on 'Follicular Unit Transplantation and Extraction').
Also, from my observation of how the scanning was done, the process was highly selective. The consultant used her fingers to part her hair and carefully chose where to place her scanner. Thus, the results are likely to be skewed towards making your problem seem worse than it is. In addition, the consultant tried to add to the fear factor -- we were told that if we did not do something about our problems now, there would come a time when even Yun Nam would not be able to help us.
The treatment started with the application of a lotion, followed by a shampoo.
Shampooing involved a fair amount of rubbing of the scalp by the consultant using the fingertips, presumably to remove the flakes and clear any oils from the "pores" in the scalp. After that, a mask was applied, and the hair steamed. This was followed by a rinse and application of another type of solution.
My scalp was also sprayed with an astringent lotion after I complained of itchiness after the shampoo and mask treatments. The lotion did help a little, but I was not impressed with their explanation for the itchiness; the consultant attributed it to increased blood circulation resulting from the various treatments.
The Sales Pitch
After that it was back to the consultation room, where our scalps were again scanned. We were then shown a comparison of what our scalps looked like before the treatment and after. The focus was on: (1) how the pores were now clear, supposedly allowing "nutrients" to enter the roots of the hair and (2) how the flakes are gone. Sceptic that I am, I sat there wondering what the scan would have shown if I had gone there immediately after washing my hair at home -- I suspect my scalp would also look fairly clear. Furthermore, I had used other anti-dandruff shampoos and they did not result in such serious itching.
To address our problems, they suggested 5 to 10 sessions of cleansing, saying that the scalp has to be clear so that the pores can absorb the nutrients in their treatments. It is only after the scalp is "clean" that the hair loss or gray hair treatments could commence.
A package of 5 sessions priced at S$800 (i.e. an average of S$160 per session) was then offered to us. We were told that the usual rate was S$250 per session. When we balked at the price, they dangled a new offer (just because there were two of us). They would be willing to offer each of us a S$300 voucher, thus lowering the price to S$500 for 5 sessions. When we said that we would like to think about it for a day or two, we were warned that if we left without signing up, we would not be able to enjoy the same price.
We had to wait half an hour past the time of the appointment as there were no consultants available, which was I thought a lapse on their part. However, once the consultants turned up, they were personable and did do a good job administering the treatments (but then that would be expected since they were trying to convince us to sign up). On declining their offer, the consultants were not happy, but were still professional, making sure that we received the promised gift before we left.
Should You Sign Up?
A cursory google search will turn up many complaints against the centre. I will not provide links since the aim here is not to critique Yun Nam, but to recount my experience and observations. However, if you are intending to check out any of the hair care centres in Singapore, I think it would be instructive to check out the feedback posted online. I myself, wanting to have an open mind, did not read the reviews and feedback until after I went for the trial session but I did find quite a few similarities between my experience and that of others.
Based on my experience at the trial, and my reading of others’ experiences, my view is that their service is probably equivalent to treatments you get at hair salons, that is, it would be wise not to expect the kinds of magical results you see in their advertisements. Any results you see will likely come from your hair and scalp getting extra pampering, and maybe from suggested changes in diet (less processed food) or lifestyle (less stress). If you sign up with these expectations, and can afford the S$100 per session, it could be a rather relaxing experience.
A word of caution: As I mentioned earlier, the treatment actually caused my scalp to itch, which suggests to me that although their formulations are supposedly all herbal, it is possible to be allergic to their products. That would be something to watch out for.
Also, if you are suffering from serious hair loss or dandruff, I would say that the most sensible option would be to see a specialist rather than rely on services from hair care centres.
Be a Smart Consumer
When checking out any beauty (including hair), spa or fitness services, it would also be wise to be wary if you encounter the following:
- Sessions offered free or at very low prices.
- The use of scare tactics such as telling you that if you do not deal with your problem immediately, there will come a point when there is no “cure”.
- Packages which are applicable only when you sign up on the spot, that is, you are told that the prices on offer would no longer applicable once you leave the shop.
If you do have the intention of signing up for packages offered by hair care, spa or fitness centres, do take note of the following:
- Go to the salon looking like a person of average means. Also, when filling in your profile, you should also be careful not to suggest that you are in the high-income bracket. This could affect the types of packages and the prices offered to you.
- Do negotiate the price. It may be possible, as our experience shows, to negotiate the price down by 40% or more.
- Do not sign up for too many sessions. Learn from what happened in the aftermath of spa closures in Singapore. Many customers had signed up for large amounts, and were left in the lurch when the spas closed.