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Katameya, Cairo, Egypt.
Mohamed El Sagheer Spa & Beauty Salon: Top Beauty Services in Katameya Heights
Mohamed El Sagheer is like the godfather of beauty salons in Cairo. One of the forerunners of beautifying in the city, the number of branches spread out all over is starting to become difficult to keep track of. The latest one to draw us in is located a little out of town, in the lovely but gated community that is Katameya Heights.
Part of a block that has a few other commercial outlets, you go up a flight of stairs to where the salon awaits. The first impression this branch in particular gives is that it is different. The usual darkened interior, with dark wood and heavy tones, is replaced with whiteness, sleekness and pop art. Straight-lined and very modern, the space is decorated with images of old Hollywood stars printed in vibrant colours.
Looking to get a good old fashioned manicure and pedicure, we made our way into a room in the back where these services are provided. The room inside was equally white and drenched in daylight from the sizable window to one side of the space. Boxes of nail polish provide you with indecisiveness and confusion – the variety of colours will boggle your eyes. They don’t have distinct brands, but rather a mishmash of random ones.
After the much needed guidance of our manicurist, a colour was selected and we sat down to begin the pampering. Mohamed El Sagheer is no newbie as already mentioned, so naturally their equipment and facilities are up to par. We began with the customary feet-and-hands-in-water routine; the former were scrubbed (quite roughly) and tended to meticulously. While we found the beautician to be a little heavy-handed, the quality of her work easily made up for its heftiness.
Moving onto the manicure, she was attentive to the shape of nail, making sure to get them just as desired. She suggested that a full-blown manicure wasn’t really needed, and instead concentrated on minimal cuticle removal – her lack of eagerness to unnecessarily chop away at skin was both appreciated and duly noted.
After skilfully applying the nail polish, avoiding left over bubbles or haphazard layering, we moved on to have our eyebrows reshaped. Most technicians in Cairo will eat away at your eyebrows no matter how many times it is stressed not to do so; there is always a slight risk when moving into the chair where you are at their mercy. However, we were delighted to come out of this experience with eyebrows that were not massacred, rather shaped while maintaining the correct thickness.
Mohamed El Sagheer in Katameya is a different experience than most other branches; the stark interior and overall emptiness is quite the opposite from its Zamalek counterpart for example, and it is possibly for this reason that we preferred it. Quiet, clean and efficient, we will be going back again.
Many upper floor salons in Cairo block out their windows with dusty posters of questionable hairdo’s – not the Beauty Salon in Zamalek, though. Sitting on the first floor of a residential building on El Malek El Afdal Street, their window is clear and adorned, either side, with large Grecian pillars. The décor of the place was probably fashionable once upon a time, with black and grey marble floors and walls, black and gold vintage chandeliers and fussy mirrors; although the salon was a little outdated, everything seemed neat and tidy, creating a rather charming feel.
We booked in advance but happened to be the only customers anyway. As soon as we walked in, the staff bent over backwards to make us feel comfortable; smiling constantly, lighting incense, offering us drinks and generally being friendly and chatty whilst being unobtrusive.
The salon offers various treatments including haircuts for 75LE, blow-drying for 50LE and they’ll touch up your roots for 250LE-350LE. A mani-pedi is 60LE, whilst eyebrow threading is 30LE and a full body wax starts at around 200LE. After relapsing into a nail-biting habit, a manicure was essential (30LE), as was a wavy blow-dry (50LE).
Quickly, we were towelled up and beckoned over to the basins. We spotted a couple of hairs already sitting in the sink, but the towels seemed clean. We waited for ages before the water heated up and when it did, it struggled to steady at one temperature. On a more positive note, the woman washing our hair was both gentle and thorough, and wrapped our hair tightly before leading us into the next room for our manicure.
As expected, the room was smaller than the hair salon but was still roomy, with wooden decking beneath large, comfortable-looking armchairs where patrons would sit for their pedicure treatments. We were lead to the standard nail bar on the other side of the room and the work began. We started with a warm soak before the technician trimmed back our cuticles, using her own nails for scraping and some sterilised clippers, before our nails were cut short as requested and filed smooth. We were given boxes and bags of assorted nail polishes to choose from in just about every colour, matte or metallic, from a multitude of brands. The nail technician’s hands were a little shakey but the results were still just above average.
Afterwards, we were ushered into the hands of the hairdresser who proceeded to prance around like a ninja, gently volumising our roots and quickly wrapping it around several round hairbrushes. In around twenty minutes, he unleashed our clean, wavy, smooth barnet, perfectly textured and flicking up from the bottom. We were delighted with our new do and will certainly be returning before a night out.
The salon itself might not be the most attractive, but it oozes charm, particularly from its hospitable staff. The Beauty Salon provides personal, fast and effective services and may make a good – and more cost effective – alternative to the busier, mainstream salons.