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New Cairo, Cairo, Egypt.
Beauty Salon Josy: Homely Beauty Salon in New Cairo
With just a handful of beauty salons in Cairo venturing out to the increasingly-popular outskirts of the city, choices are few and competition is high in New Cairo. After finding success at their Maadi branch, Beauty Salon Josy has opened up in a residential area of Fifth Settlement.
Tricky to find without directions, the entrance to the ground floor apartment of Villa 5 is labelled with little more than a sticker next to the bell. Situated at the top of a set of stairs, customers are greeted by bi-lingual beauticians and soothing smells. Offering a wide range of spa and beauty treatments, a price list is available to take away.
Amongst the tempting body scrubs (120LE+), wraps (170LE+), facials (60LE-1100LE), massages (160LE+), waxing (10LE-160LE) and various nail options – including acrylic and gel sets – we opted for a full leg wax (120LE), a manicure (65LE) and pedicure (80LE). Both the manicures and pedicures are available with a choice of extras, which add to the price considerably. Each option is carried out by either the owner, Josy herself, or one of her more-than-capable assistants. Should you opt to book Josy, appointment options may be more limited, and the price slightly higher.
Rather than the uniform white, sterile decor seen at many contemporary salons, Beauty Salon Josy adopts a green and purple colour-scheme. Although not to everyone's taste, the facilities are clean but not obsessively tidy, giving the salon a cosy, casual feel.
First, we were led to the small waxing room and left to undress in private to the tranquil, tropical music playing in the background. Before carefully applying and removing the wax, a thin layer of baby powder was spread on our legs to help minimise irritation and pain and before long, our legs were smooth, with every last hair meticulously removed. Although pleased with the results, we were a little disheartened by the minimal use of oil afterwards, meaning our legs were left a little stickier than was comfortable.
Next, we headed back to the main room for our standard nail treatments, and were moved to two different areas between the manicure and pedicure. Disruption aside, both the treatments were incredibly thorough, with our nails trimmed and filed to the specified length and shape, before two coats of our chosen nail polish were carefully applied, along with a strong, quality top coat.
Certainly not without its faults, Beauty Salon Josy is a welcoming, homely salon where essential treatments are carried out to a good standard.
We all deserve a little pampering every now and then. But where does a girl go to get a decent mani/pedi in Cairo? Gel polish is a rare find here and who has an LED nail-drying lamp at home anyway? So we decided to splurge and check out Joy Beauty Salon on Road 199 in Maadi.
While booking an appointment is advised, walk-ins are welcome if you go early enough like we did (11.3AM). The salon offers a range of facials (Anti-aging, micro-needle brightening serum, etc), gel and acrylic manicures and pedicures with or without nail extensions and spa treatments (hot stone massage, waxing/laser hair removal, scrubs, Moroccan bath etc.)
In keeping things simple, we went for the classic gel manicure. The owner, Joy, sat us down across from her at one of the three white nail stations equipped with taps, LED nail-drying lamps and alcohol wipes, placed our hands on wrist rests and examined our nails. She pressed down lightly on each nail to assess how strong/weak they were and told us what our natural shape was (hint: it’s squoval). Initially, we’d wanted extensions, but Joy advised against it, saying our nails weren’t quite strong enough and would be further damaged. Her honesty was appreciated, as it would have cost us a lot more to get extensions (210 LE compared to 140LE).
When it came to choosing a polish colour, there were so many swatches to choose from, that it was hard to pick just one! There were two boards with row after row of fake nails painted in different colours (around 120 shades in total), including glitter-infused options, all sourced from the U.S. and China. We chose a skin-tone enhancing shade of mulberry.
She then proceeded to clean our nails with alcohol and file/buff them with a thick emery board. Then she primed the nails with a clear topcoat, before applying the first layer of gel colour. Between every single application of polish, the nail bed was wiped down with alcohol to keep it smooth and free of dust. Hygiene is obviously paramount at Joy Beauty Salon.
With each coat of polish applied, the hands are placed under a LED nail-drying lamp, which hardens the polish in 60 seconds. A total of six coats of polish were applied— one base, three gel colour and two clear top coats —but our nails didn’t feel goopy or weighed down at all; they were firm, yet retained their natural flexibility, and of course glamorously shiny. For extra measure, OPI cuticle oil was rubbed around the edges for a little TLC.
Equally pleased with her work, Joy decided to take photos for the salon’s Instagram page and happily played the role of personal photographer for our own. The manicure lasted ten days as promised, only beginning to lose lustre on day 7. It even survived a trim without chipping!
Overall, the experience was excellent compared to the average Egyptian salon. The prices range from 70LE (for a classic manicure) to 500LE (for the micro-needle brightening serum), which may be a little pricier than the average salon, but the quality of the products and care is worth it. Joy was gentle with our talons, filing them a lot gentler than we were used to and answered any and all questions we had before our visit (she even sent pictures!). In keeping with the classic manicurist