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Mohandiseen, Cairo, Egypt.
Chez Richard: Stylish Salon with Shabby Service in Mohandiseen
Cairo’s winter seems to be getting worse by the day and has most of us clung to our heaters or underneath a warm duvet. It’s easy to neglect yourself a bit in the winter, but you need your beauty treatments now more than ever. The cold air is a killer for hair, skin and nails. Chez Richard is a beauty salon located in Mohandiseen nearby Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf and Gouthé. The exterior of the venue resembles a Roman temple gone wrong.
Chez Richard is pretty big inside with a huge hair salon in the front and a big manicure and pedicure room in the back. The interior is light and bright, and thankfully the Roman temple theme is nowhere to be found inside. We took place on the comfy couch for a manicure and pedicure, and sat with our feet in lukewarm water while having our manicure. The girl who helped us was very nice; however manicures were definitely not her specialty. After the usual clipping and filing she started to apply the French manicure as requested. Unfortunately, she started over several times because she wasn’t always able to get the line straight. In the end our manicure took very long and our nails still looked a bit amateurish. Because it took so long to finish, the water in the pedicure bath became cold in the meantime and we had to request new water.
The pedicure was considerably better and involved thorough scrubbing and scraping. Unlike our hands, the French manicure on our feet did look good. We paid 45LE for the manicure and 55LE for the pedicure.While paying we requested a copy of the receipt and were rudely told that we were not allowed to take the receipt with us and that receipts are only for the shop and not for customers. Not only is this rude, but it’s also against the law.
Based on this reviewer's experience with a manicure and pedicure alone, Chez Richard falls well short of some of the better beauty salons that can be found around Cairo. We can excuse a bad day – everyone has them – but the staff that dealt with us directly during our visit failed on the most basic levels. At one point, we were abandoned in the room for such a long time that we thought the staff might have packed up and left for the night.
What better way to spend a rainy afternoon in Cairo than looking out onto the flooded streets from a warm salon chair as someone brushes your hair?
The visit to KRISS salon in New Cairo didn’t exactly start out as seamlessly, though; the telephone manner of the receptionist was found wanting, to say the least, as she opted to cover the mouthpiece with her hand instead of putting me on hold as she hollered at a colleague for help because she didn’t understand what a bleach and dye treatment was. Another let-down, was that of KRISS’ six branches, only one features a ladies-only section— the New Cairo salon located opposite Rehab Gate 6, at The Corner Mall.
However, things improved once inside the glass-front salon, which was a little on the small side square footage-wise, but cosy with cream-coloured walls, floors and decor.
After being guided to a black patent-leather salon chair, one of the two ladies’ stylists asked what was to be done. When treatments were added to the appointment that weren’t previously arranged for, she was pleasantly accommodating and began to appraise the head of hair in question before getting started.
The stylist stated that a cut would cost 150 LE, bleaching and dying would be 400 LE each (measured by how many millilitres of product was used) and the final styling would come to 100 LE. Altogether, a pricey day at the coiffeur, but the treatments are actually fairly priced when you consider them individually.
The hair was spritzed with water and combed thoroughly before being braided and cut; KRISS is one of the few salons in Cairo that understands how to cut hair that is to be donated to Cancer foundations to be made into wigs.
What they did with the remaining 12cm of hair was brilliant. Pixie cuts are becoming a trend among Egyptian women and KRISS has definitely caught on and learned a thing or two about how to create them. The stylist was precise – even snipping a little extra off after the final styling, making sure the ‘do played up bone structure (including the now close-cut back of the head and nape of the neck).
Then it was time for a bleaching – not exactly everyone’s favourite experience; the stylist made sure to dry the hair before applying the colour-zapping mixture in order to minimise the burning sensation we all dread. They were also careful to check the progress of the treatment every 15 minutes or so to make sure the hair wasn’t overly-bleached or damaged. When the desired tone was achieved, the hair was washed with L’Oreal shampoo, dried with a towel that came in plastic packaging (we’re assuming it was dry-cleaned) and brushed before L’Oreal permanent dye was applied.
Throughout the whole process, a blue plastic cape was used to ensure any spills didn’t cause dire discolorations on clothes – this was a nice change from the spare towel salons usually use.
One thing that didn’t differ between KRISS and other hair salons, however, was the stylist’s neglect to clean away excess dye from the ears during/after the dye was rinsed out.
Once the colour was set, the stylist got out the blow-dryer and flatiron and went to town, styling the ‘do almost exactly like in the reference picture that they'd been shown. Needless to say, we were well-pleased with the drastic before-after result and would definitely go again.
The salon also caters to men, so would make for a neat unconventional date (like couples’ massages, but cheaper!). In addition, KRISS features a mani-pedi section stocked with Essie polishes, including gels. To see what else KRISS offers and book an appointment, visit their Facebook page.