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Mohandiseen, Cairo, Egypt.
Kriss: A Funky Beauty Salon in Mohandiseen
In theory there is nothing more relaxing than spending a morning or afternoon at a beauty salon to get pampered and spoiled. Numerous adverts, films and brochures give the impression that all it takes is to lie down and have someone take care of you. Of course, in real life we all know this is not exactly the case where most of us have probably witnessed a fellow patron breaking down in tears because eyebrow shaping can be so painful. After all, the saying ‘beauty is pain’ didn’t come from nothing.
With summer approaching we felt the need to head down to a beauty salon for some necessary maintenance. We decided to try Kriss by Aswan Square in Mohandiseen, just across from Gouthe and Tornado. Kriss has several branches all over Cairo and is quite a big name in the beauty salon market.
The entrance to the salon is bright and very white; the amicable staff will help you from that point onwards. Downstairs is a section for men only, where gentlemen can enjoy a haircut for 50LE, while the upstairs division is all for the ladies. After specifying our waxing and sugaring wishes we got led into a private room with a very friendly practitioner.
The waxing (45LE) was done swiftly and with precision. After finishing, the practitioner made sure to remove all the wax residue and applied oil to soften the skin. The sugaring (70LE) process was as painful as ever but very thorough; thankfully the practitioner works really fast so you are only in pain for a maximum of ten minutes. There is a shower conveniently located in the room, making it easy to rinse off afterwards – upon finishing we were presented with a cosy towel. Though the venue is very clean overall, we still spotted some hairs on the floor and in the towels.
After finishing these treatments we decided to have a pedicure (50LE), it is shibshib season after all. The manicure/pedicure department has two chairs for pedicures and a few seats for manicures. The design is quite funky and the flowery chairs are without a doubt some of the coolest we’ve seen in a beauty salon. The pedicure started off with a nice hot bowl and afterwards came a lot of filing, buffing and cuticle cleaning; our feet also received a scrub and our nails were perfectly cut and filed. Though we wanted to have our nails polished, the pedicurist advised against it because we didn’t have flip flops. While we didn’t get our own hair done, we couldn’t help but notice how great other ladies’ looked after styling.
Apart from the treatments, Kriss also has a little shop where you can buy hair products such as shampoo, conditioner, blow dryers and hair stylers. The same brands used by the salon are on sale such as Chi and L’Oreal. With its pleasant staff and good service, we definitely wouldn’t mind returning to Kriss.
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.