Hairdressing Adventures in Dubai

Or, as I like to refer to it… the ongoing search for someone who doesn’t f*ck my hair up.

I had the wonderful Stylianos take care of me for so long.  He did wonders with my strange decisions of the time.  He managed to get me back to a decent blonde after it was dark brown and red.  He NEVER cut it badly.  Also, as an aside, he was a genius at up-dos (here and here).  Then he went and moved back to Greece.  I still haven’t forgiven him.

Then I found a salon in DIFC and loved the hairdresser.  She didn’t cut (I wasn’t brave enough to let her try) but the colour was perfect.  It turned out it was her last week.  Typical.  The guy who took over afterwards did an ok job but could never replicate that first beautiful Nordic blonde that whatever her name was managed.  I didn’t like his cutting style either so after a couple of average attempts, I decided it was time for a new hairdresser.

I found a colourist that someone I knew had used.  I stalked her on Facebook and Instagram to see if I liked her work.  I did.  This was going to be great!

I was a bit skeptical at where the salon was located, but I gained a little more confidence when they told me that the colourist wouldn’t be doing the cutting.  I like it when people know their strengths and stick with them.

At the point at which I arrived and saw the salon, I should probably have listened to my inner snob and left.  It was all very clean and newly decorated but in that shabby chic style I don’t like.  It just made me think of a restaurant here called Shakespeare’s and made me hungry.  Turns out the same designer had done both.

I think Truvy would approve too!

Now, my hair was in desperate need of doing.  I had been suffering with my back again and I just couldn’t sit for that long after work, and weekends were for laying on my side to alleviate the pressure from the base of my spine.  It had been far too long though and my roots were out of control.

Why didn’t I wear more make up!?

I thought a good “before” pic would be well placed here so you can appreciate the hard work this girl was up against.

Also hard is the fact that hairdressers generally don’t like me so much.  I used to be far worse than I am.  I have given up having really good hair since being in Dubai which is why I am happy to experiment more.  With the bad hairdressers and the horribly harsh water we have to use, I just don’t care as much as I used to.  That doesn’t mean that I am a joy to work with and I know that.

I went in with a very clear idea of what I didn’t want.  I didn’t want the sad attempt at Nordic blonde any more.  I also didn’t want an all over colour as the maintenance is too high.  I did think I quite fancied an ash blonde with maybe a silver side to it.  That sounded fun and different.  It was also veto’d as hard work to maintain and aging.  No one wants to come back from the hairdressers looking older!

We had a very long chat and finally agreed to a colour.  I wasn’t too sure exactly what was going to happen but I was really positive about the idea.  It sounded brilliant.

We started with an all over colour to get the blonde dealt with.  It was put on wet hair.  I don’t know why and I don’t know what colour was used.  I do know that when it was washed out I was really pleased by the ashy type colour that was left.  There was so much movement in it.

I like this colour

Then she elected to add a few highlights through the t-section.  I couldn’t see the harm in this and did think that maybe it needed to be a little lighter.

So far so good.  The highlights went in.  She toned down the bit where the colour met the root so it didn’t stand out too much when it started to grow again, which I thought was very clever.

I was so excited to see the new colour but I had to get though the wet cut first.

Enter hairdresser number 2.  Another lovely, lovely lady.  She had come by earlier to chat and to find out what I wanted.   We had discussed ideas but my only insistence is that a) it was no shorter than my collar bone (my face is too fat at the moment for shorter than that), and that it was a low maintenance cut.  We discussed my lack of hair drying skills at length.

Now, I do have to say at this point that my hair is tricky to cut.  Very.  It always has been.  I don’t really understand why but I explained what previous hairdressers have said and repeated it a few times for good measure.

I don’t have much more to say really.  A haircut is a haircut when it’s happening.  I have no clue what is meant to be.  I just have to trust that they have listened and know what they are doing.  You only know how good they are when it is finished.

I’m too fat for this cut

I ended up with a “Rachel” which didn’t bother me too much at the time.  I did think it was a little too short, but no point in saying that.  It was very well cut and dried expertly.  What wasn’t to like?

What isn’t to like is that it is an exceptionally high maintenance do.  I do not have the requisite hair dryer skills to make it look any where near as good as she did, no matter how hard I tried.  Also, when I just do my ‘blast drying’ in the week, I end up looking like something that has been chewed and spat out.

Just look at all those jagged ends.

The colour is ok.  It’s not my favourite colour ever and like the cut, it’s really well done.  Actually, it’s expertly done.  I really can’t fault it.  She is very good.  I think I just need an adjustment period.  I have been very blonde for a couple of years again so this is going to take some getting used to.  The comments have all been complimentary and apparently it makes me look younger.  I am happy with that.  It also feels healthier for the massive cut, whether I like the end result or not.

So, 4.5hrs after ambling into the salon, I left nearly AED 1,200 lighter.  I had a full head colour, t-section highlights, something called olaplex (yeah, no idea what that is but a treatment of some kind maybe?) and then a cut and blow dry.

Would I go back?  No.  It’s out of my way, hideously priced and I am not in love with the results.  That said, I don’t need my cut done again for a long time so maybe I can justify going back and working on the colour some more?  I don’t know really.  I just feel very let down by the whole thing.

I purposely haven’t mentioned the name of the salon or the ladies who I saw.  I know I am really one of the worst hair customers you can get and so I don’t want to be unduly mean.  They really were some of the nicest people I have met in a long time and I just wish I had loved the results as much as I had fun there.  Also, to reiterate, the cut and colour are good.  The cut just not for my hair and the colour will take getting used to.

UPDATE: I’ve sat on this review for a couple of weeks now to see what I thought of the colour.  It has washed out hugely and now I quite like it.

4 Comments Add yours

  1. Ann Benjamin says:

    The struggle is real! I had good luck at Gloss on Al Was, before I moved over to Blo Dry Bar in Motor City (now my gal just comes to my house!!).

    1. I miss the girl who used to come to my house. She went and got an office job, which is a huge waste of colouring talent!! Glad you have yours sorted now though!!

  2. Expat Panda says:

    Gosh I am so afraid to take myself to a salon here in the UAE and this is why!

    1. I think you’ll have a much easier time of it with your hair type…. well, I sincerely hope so anyway!!!

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