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.