To the side of the busy Omar Ibn El Khattab Street, almost next door to Citystars in Heliopolis, the large, glittering doors of Nora intrigue passers-by. This salon certainly caught our attention so we thought we’d treat ourselves to some much-needed beauty treatments. We booked in advance; a mani-pedi (60LE) and – not feeling too brave – half a leg wax (70LE).
Upon entering Nora, your expectations of a bright, fresh beauty salon are instantly shattered. We thought the popular salons in Citystars might encourage some fierce competition – sadly not. The cheap, black, faux leather sofa in the entrance is not the most attractive, nor is the algae covered fish tank next to it. A purple magazine-cover collage covers one of the walls which would almost be vogue-ish if the rest of the salon wasn’t so dingy.
We were informed the leg wax would go ahead first and we were oddly guided out of the salon and into the building next door. The entrance to the spa area is on the first floor, up a flight of unlit stairs with nothing to distinguish its door from all the others.
An empty hot-tub greeted us in the middle of the lobby, suggesting its use is not overly popular. We were instructed to undress in one of the adjacent rooms but then moved – half naked – through the lobby into another room to be waxed.
The rooms were small, plainly decorated and the floors were dirty; hardly the most uplifting experience so far. However, on a more positive note, the waxing lady was lovely, cheerful and took a no-nonsense approach to the waxing; quickly and thoroughly removing every last little hair.
After taking a shower and re-dressing, we were escorted back to the main salon for our manicure and pedicure. We were shown to a room at the back of the salon where women can receive hair and nail treatments in a more private setting. At the time of our visit, there were around six young children in said room, acting up from boredom and leaving trails of crisps on the floor and seats.
We asked for a French manicure and got something similar. Our fingernails, nicely shaped and long beforehand, were filed down to different shapes and sizes and our cuticles cut right back. The nail polish was gloopy being applied in a streaky and untidy fashion; the white tips were also uneven.
The lady assumed we wanted the same on our toenails and that’s what we got – minus any cuticle work. We didn’t complain; hastily leaving the noise and grubbiness to re-do the polish ourselves was the more favourable option.
If you think beauty salons should be places of solace, existing solely to pamper and beautify the stress away, then Nora Beauty Salon in Heliopolis is not the place for you. This place offers a wide range of hair and beauty treatments at attractive prices, with, unfortunately, not so attractive results. We won’t be returning any time soon but at least we left with smooth legs.