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Maadi, Cairo, Egypt.
Nefertari: Affordable Hair Salon in Maadi
Although the Cairo neighbourhood of Maadi has numerous salon options, Nefertari stands out for its affordable prices and friendly service. Tucked away next to the new Jared's Bagels shop on Degla's Road 233, Nefertari is a small but comfortable venue offering a standard range of hair salon services.
Nefertari's owner, Madame Nagwa is often in the shop, and greets customers at the door with a smile and offer of refreshments. A fashionable lady trained in France, Nagwa is a French speaker and can offer good advice to customers when it comes to hair colour and cut options. However, English speakers should be wary; the strengths at this salon are Arabic and French, and getting a complicated request in English executed correctly could be difficult.
A comfortable waiting area has a table piled with new issues of American, British and French fashion magazines, a veritable jackpot of salon reading material. Due to the fact that Nefertari has only two hairstylists, Said and Khaled, these magazines come in handy when wait times get lengthy. If you are coming in for a long appointment or don't want to get stuck waiting, consider calling ahead as they accept appointments.
Due to space constraints, there is no section for veiled ladies at Nefertari, but women can partake of waxing services (starting from 20LE for full arm) in a closet-sized treatment room if they so wish. Threading (starting at 10LE for eyebrows) is also offered either by hairstylist Khaled or a female assistant.
At just 35LE for a wash and blow-dry, Nefertari's hair styling services stand out for their low prices and high quality. Both Khaled and Said will take their time styling your hair to your exact specifications. Said is a master of volume – perfect for those with less than ideally thick hair, while Khaled is skilled at taming wild, curly locks into a silky, smooth coif.
A rare treasure in such a modest salon, Madame Nagwa is a professional stylist, and a haircut with her begins at 60LE. She is able to execute a range of styles, and is familiar with the latest trends from Europe. For simple cuts, Khaled and Said can both be trusted as well, but for a major change stick with the lady herself. The same goes for colour, which starts at around 100LE for a root touch-up.
With a gem of an owner who can offer European-standard colour and cuts, skilled stylists and prices rarely found in Cairo hair salons of similar calibre, Nefertari is a great choice for quality and affordable salon services.
New Cairo is currently booming with new shops, restaurants, lounges and spas, with Ahmed & Abdou being the latest chain of beauty salons to jump on the bandwagon. We can never say no to some pampering and so, amidst shopping around the growing Cairo Festival City Mall, we found ourselves heading towards the beauty parlour for some much needed relaxation.
Located on the 2nd floor of the still pristine mall, Ahmed & Abdou gives a rather luxurious high-end vibe with its grey and white colour scheme and modern furnishings. Much to our relief, there were no stereotypical, tacky decorations, or cheap and cheesy pictures of dolled up celebrities in sight.The overall design of the place was quite classy and the coveted salon offers all kinds of hair and nail treatments.
Upon entrance, we were greeted by the cashier and receptionist who asked what treatments we wanted. Upon requesting a trim and blow-dry (200LE altogether), he typed in our names and mobile numbers and escorted us inside. The place was, much to our surprise, smaller than we thought it would be and packed to the brim with customers. We were seated on the rather uncomfortable couches and remained so for about 20 minutes before we were taken to the hair sinks.
The quick and efficient staff massaged and washed our hair with top-notch shampoos and conditioners and skilfully untangled our hair without yanking almost any strands out. Our hairdresser immediately came by and patiently listened to our requests; no-fuss trims that kept the length of our hair pretty much intact. He began to snip away with our demands in mind and, shockingly, used quite unusual trimming methods - but our gut instincts told us to remain silent and trust him.
He finished cutting away, massaged some serum into our strands and began blow-drying them. Much to our dismay, we started smelling some burned hair and the heat immediately began stinging our faces; he was using extremely high heat. The finished look was not quite how we expected it would be. The trim was on-point and he definitely listened to pleads for our hair to remain lengthy but the blow-drying was nothing special, with our hair lacking the anticipated volume.
All in all, our experience at Ahmed & Abdou was satisfactory but lacked any wow factors; we were pleased with the trim, yet unamused by the overall styling. The fact that the place was crowded also meant that it was noisy and did not allow us to unwind and relax at all. We, however, thought it’s a nice staple salon to hit during beauty emergencies.