Cutting Hair


This is my foot – my freshly pedicured foot. Does it look like I’ve stepped off a boat from the South of France? Because I’ve just got it done from an international salon – Dessange which is located at Chinoy Mansion on August Kranti Marg or at the crossroad of St. Stephen’s Church.


Now before you think I’m one of those fancy ladies who gets a pedicure done every now and then, let me put the record straight – I get a pedicure done once in a while – the last one being quite a while ago – almost a year ago. But somehow, like Alice, I was tempted to try out one of the multiple salons that have erupted in our neighbourhood, screaming out TRY ME, TRY ME , so I decided to indulge in some pampering this lazy Sunday morning. 

The lay of the land

Dessange is one of the three parlours (excusez- moi, the word is salons) you will find at Chinoy Mansion. The other two being JCB ( or Jean-Claude Beguine to the uninitiated) on the first floor and Enrich  on the Bomanji Petit Road. Enrich as you must have guessed is a hole in the wall with three people at the reception desk and all the chairs full of clients having different things done to their hair. When I reached the parlour at 11 ish, it was doing brisk business for a Sunday morning yet had time to squeeze in a walk in. The Hair cut would have put me out by Rs. 650+ tax and the pedicure Rs.450. The hair cut included a hair wash and blow dry.

JCB was getting busy and I had to wait before the girl at the reception could figure out if there was a free slot. The earliest I could get was the Jr. Stylist at Rs.800 + tax at 12 o’clock since he hadn’t yet arrived on the scene and a pedicure I could have started off with for Rs.600 ( I think!).

But I wanted to check out Dessange so I went there instead.

The Dessange Experience.

JCB had a distinct disadvantage over Dessange I thought since it entailed a walk up a flight of stairs. It seems the street level entry of Dessange was deceptive because I had to walk down one level to access the salon. At 11 ish, this salon was empty and had one well known personality looking bored to tears while his hair was being cut. I enquired the availability and rates at the reception and was told that there were three levels of stylists – the International Stylist (who could be Tunisian, Ukrainian  or Russian but he was definitely FOREIGN) , the Senior stylist who was Indian and the Junior Stylist who was also Indian but lacking in years of experience. I was willing to go with the Junior Stylist but there wasn’t any available till 12.30 so I had to go with the Senior Stylist who  at 27 was even younger than my younger daughter but I had to take her for her word that she had ‘years’ of experience  and hence as a Senior Stylist justified the Rs.1300 + tax hair cut.

The massage chair for washing hair

After discussing what she’d do to my hair, Jina, who it turned out had trained at Juice and like all the other stylists was working at JCB before Dessange opened, kitted me out in a short kimono like lab coat and took me for my hair wash. I was made to sit on a wonderful massage chair that gave me the most amazing back massage while Jina washed my hair with a regular Kerastase shampoo. (The  in-house product Phytodess would have cost me Rs.200 more). I enjoyed the shampoo cum massage and was surprised when after settling down some weighted shoulder guard on my shoulder, asked me to stand up while she decided the outline of the hair cut… I asked her what she did with clients who were taller than me- she said she kept them sitting. So how did my standing up make a difference????? She said it gives a better idea of how the hair would fall.

No wonder I’m not a hair stylist – I can’t understand how hair would fall differently when you are standing up from when you are sitting down. Obviously I was not good at Hair Physics. She took her time over cutting my hair and half way through the blow dry abandoned me to another senior hairstylist ( looking even younger than her , I thought with his punk hair cut) while she rescued another stylist who had managed to get her client’s hair entangled in the hair dryer! This was a first for me and I presume for the lady in question too, though the Senior Stylist who was drying my hair told me that this was not the first time it has been known to happen.

My Pedicure Experience

The Pedicure stall

The parlour has two spots for pedicure, both of which were filled by the time I was ready for one. I didn’t have to wait much and in fact, the girl who did my pedicure started out with the cutting and filing before the actual pedicure treatment to save on time. Once the chair was free, I was taken to the seat and once again was treated to a back massage gratis. Ten minutes later the back massage stopped and I was told that it was a timed massage even though Jina told me that many people actually fall asleep while having a mani-pedi because the massage was so relaxing. But the pedicure was relaxing and even though the girl tried to sell me the more expensive package, I resisted the temptation and went with my pre-decided cheap but Classique pedicure. My feet were massaged with OPI foot cream and the girl suggested a colour (OPI) which would go well with my skin tone and my miniscule toe nails.

The whole experience.

When I walked out of the salon I was down by Rs.1708 because Dessange was giving a Women’s Day discount of 20% of the actual service ( calculated without the tax component).

Dessange markets itself as the most luxurious salon – it definitely is the most expensive. The products they sell include make up, skin care and hair care which they claim are made from the same stable as L’Oreal and Lancome.  I was told that they were open 365 days of the year and were open from 10-9 with the last appointment being given for 8 p.m. The Junior stylists come in around noon and Mondays and Tuesdays are lean days as people take their weekly off on those days and both staff and clients are thinly spread through the day. Apart from the hair spa treatment and  beauty treatments the salon also offers Bridal packages. Brides could come in to the salon to discuss the styling and have the stylist go home for a special fee of course, for D Day. Tea, coffee and bisleri water is complimentary as are the chocolates at the Receptionist’s desk. Dessange also offers gift vouchers which can be used in a staggered fashion – i.e. the donee can choose which service to have at what time till the amount of the gift voucher is used up.

Verdict :

The International Stylist who was of Ukranian descent assured me that I was looking fabulous but by the
by the time I walked up the hill and came home, my newly cut and blow dried hair was as flat as a pancake and my mother in-law asked me if I had actually had my  hair cut!

Would I go again? Am undecided.

Disclaimer : I’m not very good with figures so my rates may just be wrong. Clients are advised to check out rates for different services with the parlours( pardonnez-moi, salons) before making an appointment.


Unishta

A granny who always sees the humour in life and tries to do things differently. When others make cupcakes, this granny makes banana fritters. When she’s not busy chasing her grandchildren who love making her run around, she indulges in her passions of reading, writing, meeting friends and watching movies. And somewhere between all this she enjoys travelling and cooking!

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