With Egyptian vanity alive and well, beauty salons in Cairo are in constant demand – be it for weddings or a raunchy night out at Tamarai. Inconspicuously placed on the first floor of a residential building in Zamalek, Paul Raynault's salon is hidden behind a large, unmarked door. Previously associated with the now closed La Villa 36, the French hairstylist has built quite a reputation around the city.

The salon offers a full range of services including all the usual waxing and threading treatments. Haircuts are 185LE, whilst roots are just 70LE, with highlights ranging from 200-350LE for longer hair. Of course, manicures (40LE) and pedicures (35LE) are also available, with a decent range of polishes available to choose from.

Decorated using grey tones, cement and stainless steel, the salon has an industrial and almost futuristic feel. The main hairdressing area features a long work surface, floating mirrors and iron, safe-like cupboards tucked underneath. Whilst the minimalist style is finely executed, it's almost too bare; a shortfall which left us feeling a little on edge. However, the occasional aquamarine accent brings a little warmth, allowing an edge of contemporary-spa ambience.

 Arriving late in the day without an appointment, we were surprised to be seen to right away for brushing (90LE) and a manicure (40LE). We were immediately robed and guided through to the reclining seats at the basin area. We were relieved to see the addition of rubber neck rests before our hair was thoroughly washed and conditioned. Unfortunately, the detangling process was a lot longer and more painful than it should have been, and surprisingly, the usual head massage was non-existent during the lathering stage.

After a brief consultation with our nominated hairdresser, he began working to curl our locks, whilst the manicurist started on our nails. Both took as long as each other; the manicurist meticulously prepared our nails and cuticles for the tidy French polish which didn't begin chipping for days. The hairdresser worked like a true artist, carefully fixing every hair in place with the curling tongs, and was sure to finish with a light coat of strong-hold hairspray.

Aside from the incessant hair tugging at the start, we left Paul Raynault's salon feeling both pampered and pretty – the main aim of any visit to a salon. The industrial, quirky decor may be hit or miss, but the services are generally executed with professionalism and skill – and that's what really counts.