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Maadi, Cairo, Egypt.
Butterfly: Popular Beauty Salon in Maadi Degla
Located on the ground floor of a shaded and chic apartment building just across from the CAC's wall, Butterfly is one of Maadi’s most popular veteran hair salons. Also known as Khaled Butterfly to some, the name refers to the head honcho and owner of the salon, Khaled, who cuts and dyes the hair of veteran customers and newbies upon request.
Flanked by glass doors and large windows, the salon space is sunny, well-cooled and decked out in the usual hair salon furniture: large mirrors in front of hair-styling seats, shelves displaying L’Oreal Professional and other hair products, makeup and jewellery, the proverbial TV screen showing Fashion TV footage, and the hair washing sinks with dark leather armchairs.
A separate room towards the end is for the pedicures, facials and waxing services. A large massage bed also functions as the eyebrow-threading and facial bed, while two large and comfortable leather arm chairs sit before large foot basins for your pedicure.
With its cool interior, spotless hygiene and savvy stylists, Butterfly has accumulated a steady following of both expats and Egyptians over the years. Khaled is excellent when it comes to hair colouring, especially the tri-colour mixes. His specialty is getting that golden brunette shade just perfectly, but on the downside, he’s not at all adventurous when it comes to brighter, funkier colours and will refuse point blank to cater to your requests if they sound outrageous to him. Hair colouring costs 250LE, touching up roots costs 185LE and highlights cost 450LE.
While Khaled gives great trims (100LE for a cut) and efficient blow-drying (50LE) followed up by a quality Babyliss, he’s too conservative and inflexible for any funky haircuts; at least in this reviewer’s experience.
Aside from Khaled, the highlight of the salon is their beauty technician Magda, who previously worked at the Marriott Zamalek and has a deft and light hand. Her pedicures (50LE) are quick, gentle yet thorough; qualities you’ll greatly appreciate when you’re in a hurry and desperate for foot therapy. Her deft hands will also tweeze your eyebrows (30LE) with minimal pain, and her threading will wreak minimal havoc even on sensitive skin.
Waxing and sugaring services are both provided, with half-leg sugaring for 50LE, a half-arm for 40LE and a full body sugaring for 275LE, while waxing a half-leg will set you back 60LE and a half arm 50LE. Magda also offers facials for 150LE and artificial nails for 95LE. Based on this reviewer’s experience with her sugaring and tweezing, we’d definitely consider coming back for the facial.
Well-equipped and efficient, Butterfly is the hair salon you head to when you need a good blow-dry or a rich new hair colour, or if you just feel like indulging yourself in a pedicure or a Moroccan bath. However, bear in mind that the salon fills up on weekends, especially during the evenings, so be prepared to wait for Magda’s undivided attention.
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.