Dubai beauty salon – top four survival tips
Most of the expat beauty forums and blogs that I’ve read about living in Dubai will profile and recommend beauty salons frequented and/or run by other Westerners. I understand why this is so, however, if you are more budget conscious and less ‘experience’ focused, a local beauty salon can be a great choice.
You will save a LOT, however, it is important to note that the experience may be slightly different in just a few ways….
Here is a quick summary of the key differences for anyone looking for a wax job that stretches your dollar a little further… a little bit of humour doesn’t go astray on these expeditions either.
- what do you mean ambiance?
So, I can only really go off what I have experienced in countries like Australia, the US, UK etc, but usually when you walk into a beauty salon, there will some nice background music, maybe a few candles burning, and an efficient almost nurse-like assistant greeting you with a comfy seat and even sometimes a water or tea.
Well, expect none of that here. I walked into harsh fluorescent lighting, a desk with a book and pen on it and a wooden chair. I was greeted by a lovely lady who wanted to know what I needed and immediately was told to come in and taken to the little room at the back – no appointment necessary!
The room had a table with wax on it and the table to lie on with a towel and more fluorescent lighting and that was literally it. No flowers, no dimmed lighting, no comfy cushions. This room very much screamed ‘you are here to be waxed and that’s it’, and you know what, it was okay, as that is literally all I needed to happen.
2. ‘modesty’ is for the weak
As I’m standing there, my lovely beauty therapist comes in and introduces herself, and says basically ‘get your gear off and hop on the table’. Now, I’m used to being told this and then having the beauty therapist discreetly leave the room to allow me to get sorted, cover myself with a towel and a paper g-string, followed by a quiet knock after a few minutes before re-entry. When you think about it, this is all total nonsense really given that in a few minutes she is going to have her head immersed in locating every last little hair on your nether regions, which is by no means a pleasant experience for either party. Why partake in the silly ritual of pretending this is some kind of nice pampering session I ask?
I think this local beauty salon has completely embraced that concept as this beauty therapist stood staring at me and waiting for me to disrobe, which was initially a little disconcerting. When I squeaked mention of a towel she looked at me blankly and indicated the towel was already on the table waiting for me to lie down… clearly there would be no modesty towel nor discreet paper g-string nonsense here!
Upon lying down, my legs were immediately rearranged to look like a frog being dissected on a student’s operating table, fully displaying everything I own out there for the world in all its fluorescent lighting! Let the waxing begin…
Next thing, there is a bit of, presumably Tibetan chat, before another beauty therapist opens the door next to me and enters the room, and my lovely lady simply says ‘we will both do wax yes?’. What can I reply to that really except for ‘oh yes of course…’ And so, I have two beauty therapists both scrutinising my private world up close and personal, all the while chatting away in another language whilst I lie there pondering what they could possibly be chatting about.
All of a sudden, one of them begins to rub my belly and the chatting is heightened – I become slightly alarmed at this point… what on earth could they be talking about? Am I weird… does my stomach do something they haven’t seen before?
Then she says to me “your tummy so smooth? You have babies?” to which I reply “yes, I have two”. More fever pitch chatting back and forth, and then she responds “no… you have two babies? Tummy so smooth, no marks? why this so?” I’m a little bemused by this line of questioning.
Next thing I know she calls out something and another lady enters the room. I now have three of them standing over me rubbing my belly and peering at me – bear in mind I am still naked from the waist down, frog legged and spreadeagled for all the world to see. I start to chuckle at the fact that this would never have happened at home…
As I was lying there I thought, “wow, should I say something? This is a bit unacceptable isn’t it?” I quickly identified these thoughts and classified them as counterproductive – my positive turnaround here was that throughout this entire situation, I hardly felt those little hairs being ripped by the root from my skin which is something I have virtually never experienced. Waxing is normally quite painful (especially brazilian waxing!) and varies a lot from beauty therapist to beauty therapist.
Now, I don’t know if it was a distraction tactic on the part of these women or if it was their immense skills after many hours of waxing, but I literally felt virtually nothing of this wax which was AMAZING! It was also somewhat empowering to let go of all those slightly pathetic western prudisms with a little bit of thought control and positivity. Just get it all out there seems to be the message over here and it’s surprisingly easy to do if you choose.
3. get in and out – fast!
Given the reinforcements were called in (perhaps due to the unruly hairiness of this western woman) or given the skill of this lovely beauty therapist developed over thousands of hours of waxing, I’m not sure…all I know is that these women work fast. I was in and out for a full leg and brazilian wax in half an hour – honest to goodness, no exaggeration.
Now at home, I never got away under 50 minutes and usually more like an hour or an hour ten. Perhaps that’s because they like to chat, or perhaps it’s because there’s usually one beauty therapist, I don’t know. But the speed of this experience was brilliant. Thank goodness I guess as one can only take so much humiliation, but I would take that any day over spending so much time lying there being tortured.
I should mention that, given English is not their first language, they don’t really chat. I have to say though that I find this such an immense relief. I used to have to psych up a bit whenever I went to a salon back home as I really hate all that polite chat you have to do – “what have you been up to, hasn’t the weather been hot, do you have kids” blah blah blah. Even though waxing is painful, I would still rather just lie there and try to tune out than make chat with someone I’m probably never going to see again and who knows exactly what my private parts look like. I’m sure it’s all a bit of a ruse to try to keep your mind off what’s happening, but I’d prefer we were all just upfront and got it done as quickly and quietly as possible.
So this really was my ideal situation. Speedy and quiet… what more could a woman want?
3. leave your credit card at home
So why go for this experience you may well ask, as depending on your outlook on beauty and ability to absorb something that could be described as slightly humiliating, you may find this all rather unpalatable..
But before you decide, let me tell you, the cost was literally less than half what you would pay in those pretty, dimly lit, nice smelling, chatty, paper g-stringed salons. And do I think the cost is worth the ambiance? At the end of the day, no way. The result is still the same – nice smooth legs but at a fraction of the price!
I really do believe, as long as you are mentally prepared for the humour of the experience, you should give it a go and give your wallet a rest – embrace all that is being a Dubai local and try a local beauty salon! I would love to hear your comments too and tell me your experiences and we can all share a good old chuckle over the joy it is to be a woman, wherever you happen to be in the world. And I can guarantee, this is one place you won’t be ‘Dubai-ed‘! 🙂
Till next time… keep it real my lovelies…