Sign in using your account with
Heliopolis, Cairo, Egypt.
Pace e Luce: Modern Salon Heliopolis
Lebanese hair and beauty salon, Pace e Luce, have opened their second branch in Cairo, located on the first floor of the Emaar building in Heliopolis. Being regulars of their Maadi salon and desperately needing some sun-kissed highlights (500LE), roots (200LE) and a mani-pedi (125LE), we headed out for some after-work, routine pampering.
The building is an impressive one and the elevator is situated in a marble lined lobby. There are no signs to guide you to the salon, so be careful not to get out on the wrong floor; you may be greeted with a pile of rubble, rather than an impressive Pace e Luce sign.
Entering the double doors, you will find yourself standing in the middle of the busy hair salon, where the décor is much the same as the Maadi branch – modern, sleek and clean with small plasma TVs switched to Pace e Luce's own hair and beauty advertising.
Guided to a separate room, and because we were tight on time, two women, neither of whom spoke English, began preparing us for the pedicure. Each white leather arm chair has its own white basin and a side-table for manicure utensils. After soaking our feet for a couple of minutes in a bubbly foot bath, the pedicuring routine began; an exfoliating scrub, a deep massage and threading of any unsightly hairs.
The only thing worthy of complaint was that the nail clippers were a little blunt and our nail clippings were free to fly everywhere, including into our shoes. After two coats of gorgeous, deep red 'Orly' nail polish – which is also available to buy (80LE) – was applied to our toenails, we were given a pair of rubbery flip flops to wear during our trip back to the hair salon.
Once we'd become acquainted with our appointed hair dresser, and after the bilingual receptionist explained to him that we wanted a full head of roots and half a head of platinum highlights, one of the trainees set about making us feel welcome, while the main hairdresser looked on but never smiled at us – not even once throughout our whole visit.
After getting our hair washed in a relaxing, reclining chair in front of the basins, the assistant was careful not to tug our hair as he brushed, dried it and then proceeded to apply the bleach to our roots carefully, making sure he covered every give-away brown hair. As in many salons in Egypt, the beautician manicured our nails whilst the hairdresser fiddled with our locks – and we were very pleased with the tidy results. Our hair was then re-washed and dried before the hairdresser set to work on the half head of highlights.
Once all of this was eventually finished, it was 10PM and, feeling a bit bored and frustrated, we left without the extra 100LE blow dry and brushing – which in our opinion should be included as part of the overall package.
Ultimately we couldn't complain about the colour results; it didn't look like the picture we'd shown, but they were platinum highlights nonetheless. The fact that neither the beauticians nor the hairdresser could speak a word of English was both frustrating and a little unusual as the staff at their Maadi branch manage much better.
We were advised to book our appointment for 6.30PM as the salon closes at 8PM, which seems a bit early considering the amount of beautifying required for events and parties at the weekends. Despite this, we were able to stay until all of our treatments were completed – two hours after the closing time.
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.