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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.
A trip to the Sofitel Cairo El Gezirah is an experience in itself; the tube-shaped structure stands as a figurehead on the southern-most tip of Zamalek. There are plenty of reasons to attend, even if you’re not staying the night; an afternoon lounging by the pool or an evening of wining and dining at Nile-side restaurants, Le Deck, El Kababgy or La Palmeraie, provide great opportunities to view Cairo at its best. Another good reason to go is the hotel’s hair salon.
The salon is open every day between 9AM and 9PM, even during national holidays. The coiffeur is on the hotel’s second floor and has signs throughout the hotel. We rang ahead to book, but were told that an appointment would not be necessary and to come whenever we liked. When we arrived, the salon was empty, though the place was well staffed; this is not unusual for the salon, meaning that if you’re in a rush – or it’s a national holiday – you can rely on the Sofitel for unwavering service.
The salon is clean and neat, without any ostentatious displays of girliness or posters of grimacing models – this is a place befitting of the Sofitel name. We were greeted at the till and told to immediately take a seat in the hair-washing chair. The salon has room for four-to-five clients to be seen at a time, and although it’s only a small space, it’s well laid-out and doesn’t feel cramped. The attendant took her time with washing our hair, giving it a good amount of time to soak and even giving us a soothing head massage in the process. The products used smelt delicious and we can now confirm that our hair felt soft and clean for days after the visit.
After our hair was professionally wrapped and brushed, the stylist came out to meet us and consult us on what we wanted. He nodded in assurance at our instructions and sure enough, after much snipping and measuring, came up with the desired result and was happy to make any adjustments we asked for.
After the hair was cut, so began the styling process, which involved at a blow dry, followed by some a heavy-handed application with straighteners. To our dismay, the stylist curled our hair into tight ringlets so that the cut itself was completely overshadowed - although to his credit, the curls were very professional and stayed in place for the entire day.
A wash and blow-dry cost 250LE, and the salon is also equipped to do dyes, extensions and offers a selection of products for customers to use at home. We were truly pleased with the results of our styling and the swift, professional service, which made a Sunday afternoon maybe-I-should-get-a-fringe whim, a reality.