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Zamalek, Cairo, Egypt.
Mohamed Al Sagheer: One-Stop Pampering Shop
The Capital features more than its fair share of salons and beauty centres to keep the average city girl primped. Trips to the local coiffeur are routine for most of us, but every once in a while it behoves us to give in to something a bit more luxurious.
Sprawling over three floors, Mohamed Al Sagheer’s Zamalek branch offers a world unto itself. Smartly uniformed bell boys usher you through extravagant black and gold doors, after the salon’s valet service has taken your car to be parked (there’s no set fee; so pay 5LE and upwards).
Located on the third floor, the spa’s walls, decor and furniture are rich tones of dark red and black. Upon entering the fitting room, patrons are presented with soft, thick cotton beige robes and slippers. The rooms are decorated in natural wood tones with roomy, frosted-glass showers.
The Thai massage is highly recommended; prices start at 350LE and go up to 550LE for a half-hour, full hour, or hour and a half. This oil-free treatment stretches, relaxes and targets tensions; perfect for computer-tired muscles.
Looking for something a bit more intense? Try the hot stone massage. Heated stones are placed on key pressure points to promote circulation and relaxation. Most of the masseuses are of Thai background and are well-trained and friendly.
The Spa also offers standard waxing and sweet services. Prices are slightly higher than smaller-scale salons, and range from 30LE to100LE for arms, legs and bikini. While waxing walk-ins are generally welcome, be sure to schedule your massage or facial in advance as they are not all available on a daily basis.
When you are pampered to the max, travel down to the second floor to polish your nails and treat your locks. Be it a cut, highlights or even just a blow-dry, Mohamed Al Sagheer hosts a team of stylists ready to work their magic. Ask if Kimmy is in for a guaranteed expert cut, and Sherif is your go-to guy for subtle highlights. Wash, cut and styling should cost you about 180LE, while highlights start at around 400LE, depending on the length of your hair. The blow dry and styling are sometimes rushed and 70LE may seem a bit much compared to the market average of 35LE to 40LE for a full wash and style.
A private room is dedicated to pedicures and manicures with individual manicure tables and pedicure tubs set beneath comfortable couch chairs. Mona is hands down the best eyebrow-shaper and pedicurist. Pedi and mani appointments can’t be booked; so time your walk-in to a weekday afternoon, and avoid Thursday nights and Friday afternoons.
Mohamed Sagheer also features a floor for men, where dark leather easy chairs invoke a sophisticated barbershop environment. On the ground floor, a small boutique sells hair salon products by Kérastase, L’Oreal Salon and Chi, in addition to a small jewellery collection, perfumes and beauty products by Clarins, Dior and Makeup Forever.
With a few branches already running in Mohandessin, Heliopolis and Sheikh Zayed, La Coupe recently made its debut in Zamalek, located on Mohamed Anis Street.
Down the block from Didos, their Zamalek branch is conveniently located within walking distance from Maraashly and Taha Hussein Streets. Decorated in white, black and grey, with a large window to the side, the shop feels spacious and luxurious.
With our roots growing out and our locks calling for a trim, we decided to let Marwan, their stylist, make recommendations for improvement. After consultation, we decided to go ahead with a chocolate brown dye and a trim. Beginning with the colouring process (250LE–350LE), the colourist worked on the roots while an assistant mixed the main colour under Marwan’s supervision. The colourist was careful that the mix was solid and well-blended, but gave it room for natural sun colouration as well.
After the colouring, we opted for a Kérastase ampoule treatment (100LE) to hydrate. The end result was exactly as we wanted – a chocolate brown hue that was rich and deep with reddish undertones.
We’ve been told Marwan works miracles with short hair, and having had a bad run-in with a pair of scissors recently, we decided to throw caution to the wind and let him snip away. After about 15 minutes of what seemed like random cutting, the result a messily styled bob that hit the mark.
Next, we decided to get a manicure (40LE). Led into a room with little foot-baths and a long couch, we resisted the temptation to sink into the sofa, and instead surrendered our hands. Like many parlours that don’t specialize in nails, they don’t accommodate you for just a manicure, the set-up is designed for a full hand-and-foot treatment. With an assortment of funky-coloured nail polishes to choose from, we sat through a thorough filing, brushing, clipping and polish. We did however have to remind the manicurist to apply a topcoat.
The parlour also offers waxing and sugaring (60LE for arms, 80LE for legs); Moroccan facial treatments can be done by appointment for 500LE.
Other hair treatments include hair masks (150LE) and Kérastase Caviar Treatment (400LE). A haircut ranges between 100LE to 120LE, while Keratin hair treatments start at 800LE for the Crystal treatment and a hefty 1,800 LE for the regular treatment.