I just realized this could be a bit misleading ;-) We're not talking about the supernatural or paranormal "scares". The first cover I designed for this post was too morbid, so I tried to lighten the mood here with itsy bitsy monsters. LoL :-) So... Recently, I started a thread on Pakistan Beauty Bloggers Community Group about Salon Scares or the Beauty Horror Stories.
That made me think – we’re so active on social media – sharing & reading experiences – it largely saves us from the bad & the ugly of the beauty world. STILL, we have all had our fair share of disasters. With the dirty equipment, substandard products, unskilled staff, disturbing ambiance and unprofessional customer service, there are a tonne of problems we've run into.
Before I could launch into a tirade of service lapses, my disclaimer is:
Price does not determine the quality of service you’re going to get. Some of the cheaper places offer way better service than the outrageously-priced salons. Your experience at a certain place/person/product might vary from mine. My word is not absolute, but represents my views (which may be subject to change). You can benefit from freedom of speech in the comments section below.
Rabia Pervez’s Salon - Karachi
Over a year ago, I was introduced to the idea of parlor “deals”. As naive as I was, i set out to test the amazing monthly package that involved a hair treatment, a mani-pedi, skin polish, and whitening facial. I’m forgetting whether or not there was wax, scrub or threading included as well. I took an appointment and reached the place. It was a residential bungalow with a dedicated portion for the parlor opposite Diamond Nursery. The owner Rabia was perhaps the one I talked over phone and she was very nice & polite. However, there were only 2 -3 attendants in the salon when I arrived, so I didn't meet her in person.
The two girls applied skin polish without any cleansing or pampering. I hate the golden-blonde beard that bleach gives you. So, I always keep it on for less than 15 minutes. After 10 minutes, I kept calling the ladies, They were chatting among themselves and not bothering about taking it off at all. They took their sweet time to come inside and take the bleach off after 25 minutes. The subsequent facial didn’t do ANYTHING to my skin either. Her massage was half-hearted and as rushed as it could possibly be.
After this, I wanted to leave – majorly pissed. The next thing was a mani-pedi. The girl suggested since I don’t have nails (nail-biting), what’s the point of the manicure. I didn't argue, because I wanted it to be over as well. She did my pedicure in less than 10 minutes. Patches of dryness on my heels became even more visible.
While my pedicure was going on, the girl applied an oil or so treatment over my head. She then said, “aap ghar ja ke dho laina”. As I mentioned, there was one more thing in the package that I didn’t get done. Threw the money and went back home. Vowed never to return.... WHILE I washed my hair 6 times to get the oily-gooey treatment out of my hair :-/ This was disappointing since I have watched Rabia’s haircuts over the Facebook and was planning to get one done from her as well.
(Update: A friend of mine was referred to Rabia's salon for hair treatments and cut by a mutual friend. During one of her visits, Rabia was there and she loved the hair job Rabia did on her. However, the times she was not available at the parlor, my friend's experiences with the attendants were similar to mine)
Rehman Pervaiz Salon – Lahore
This has been my go-to salon since I was 16. It’s one of those convenient salons that you’re not pleased with, yet keep returning to. I have had good experiences here too, so I wouldn't bash it mercilessly – but it has one MAJOR issue – Chatty/Bitching/Annoying attendants. The salon owner is a 50+ man who does the haircuts when asked for. He’s a nice quiet person. Never had much interaction or any issue with him in all these years. The girls however keep changing ever so often. If I find someone that works well for me, she leaves due to politics. Lol, yeah, there is so much drama there that someone can start a cat-fight reality series that would be PURE GOLD for all our guilty-pleasures. Believe me, Bigg Boss will be trumped :-P
There are two experienced ladies there who cannot stand each other. Once, my Mom and I were getting our haircut done, they started shouting and abusing across the room WHILE they were chopping off our hair. Mom and I are silent awkward types, so we just stared – hoping for it to die down. Ugh!
Another (frequent) issue is that the girls who are performing the facial/polish in the separate room talk A LOT among themselves - really disturbing the clients looking for momentary relaxation. Personally, there was an attendant eating LAYS *crunch* *crunch* literally over my head while I was getting a facial. Sounds while eating is one of my pet peeves. It annoys the hell out of me. Other one kept talking to her boyfriend utilizing the DAY PACKAGES. And once, there was a lady listening to Pashto songs while the songs graced my ears through her handsfree :-/
10th Street Salon – Karachi
I’d been referred to visit this salon (among the hundreds in Khadda Market alone) by a close friend of mine. I know the owners personally and they’re very nice & welcoming ladies. I actually love their prices, services, and ambience. The scare or horror in going to them was – my hair were in bad condition. Certain health concerns and straightening irons left my hair damaged and less in volume. I was not guided properly by the lady who did my L’Oreal Xtenso Treatment. I had never dyed my hair and they’re awfully curly from the roots. A big problem was – I sweat a lot, so my straightening goes bad within minutes of sun/humidity exposure. The hair are very fine yet frizzy curly, so they simply lay flat over my front & crown, making my forehead look even bigger :-/
Sorry, but the detailed explanation was necessary to know what my expectations vs. outcome were. The lady who did my Xtenso reassured me that it is going to be perfect. Blah Blah Blah! I’ll have volume, won’t need the straightening or anything. It will be straight with volume. I had no knowledge or guidance of my own, so I got it done.
On second day, I noticed some curling on the roots. I called the salon and she advised to come visit. The lady saw and suggested I should get this washed. After that, the root curling was more prominent, to which she said that it was my “hair’s fault”. Since I have curly hair, and they can’t apply the Xtenso to the roots, so it’ll stay like this. I was indignant – WHY wasn’t this information shared before??! She said it’s like this and she wasn’t the chummy person she was BEFORE I got this done. Upon my insistence for a solution, she applied some to my roots as well. Another bad move. Asked me to wash my hair after 3 days with L’Oreal Professionnel Liss Ultimate Shampoo/Conditioner.
The true horror was what followed – The Liss Ultimate would weigh my hair down after 7-8 hours, so I needed a wash every day. The roots became very hard like a horse’s mane for first few washes (and till that time they remained straight). After this, the bad curl appeared and the same salon person advised to blow dry roots on towel dried hair. I followed like a dumb herd sheep, This “daily” routine went on for 3 months, after which I got tired and the whole thing had burnt my hair. I had chopped them off in a short bob with layers to cut away the dead hair, but still the bad hair stayed. They were in such bad condition.
I started oiling religiously and used heath protection stuff, but the texture was destroyed. I lived by myself and worked 10 hours a day, so couldn’t bother with the totkas and all. Protein treatments did help temporarily, but not much. Since I had to look very proper and dress well every day, I needed to straighten my hair – in comes the IRON again :-/ Imagine Raadhay Mohan hair half curly half straight. Most of it was my own fault, but this horror is what I am still living.
*sad old PTV drama flute music here*
Consolation Prize: These places deserve an honorary mention just for the poor quality of service compared to the price. These were not salon scares per se, but sheer disappointment, indeed.
Toni & Guy, Karachi – I have been a big Pond’s Institute and Toni & Guy fan, so naturally when my husband and I shifted to Karachi and he wanted a haircut, I recommended this place. For the 3500 that we paid, the “cut” was far below our expected average. A roadside NAAYEE would have done a similar job for a hundred bucks. It was too mediocre for the price paid.
Merle Norman, Karachi – Nothing personal against the staff as they were very helpful, but I have to say that the overpriced OPI pedicure that I got done didn’t do ANYTHING for my feet. Plus, there were a million rashes and scratches on my feet from the scrubbing.
Mariam’s Bridal Salon by Mariam Khawaja and Madeeha’s Bridal Salon, DHA Lahore have also been in my Salon Horror Stories. Would you like to read a long rant? Check my Bridal Makeup Experience post (coming soon) for the details of what went wrong.
Y’all please share your salon horrors here for a public service message to our readers