Saturday, April 12, 2008

On Beauty and Grooming in Paris

I cannot find my tweezers that I planned to use to keep the nicely shaped eyebrows that I had when I first arrived in Paris. My mother always tells me that one of these days I am going to lose my shadow. She may just be right but all I know is that today I'm going to go pay the equivalent of almost $20CDN to get my eyebrows done whereas in Toronto I got it done for $5 and change. I should have known the tweezer plan was never going to work out especially since I have never plucked my eyebrows by myself in my life.

Anyways, grooming and styling is expensive anywhere but in Paris it is mega-expensive. Last week I went to the salon to get a wash, blow dry, simple styling and trim done and it cost me 48Euros! That is almost $75CDN just to wash and dry my hair. I usually pay $40CDN for that service. Granted though I went to one of the most expensive salons here but the reviews were hard to pass up on PLUS, and this was the deciding factor for me, they are just a little over 2 blocks away from my apartment so it was very convenient. The salon that I went to is called Ethnicia. I found out about them from googling for black hair salons in Paris and reading forum comments. Also, my cousin who has been living here recommended them as well. And, when I compared prices, it seemed that this place was only 10Euros more than the other closest black hair salon.
The other deciding factor for me was the rave reviews the salon got for its welcome. On the contrary to the other reviews for other salons, this particular salon apparently stood out because of the way in which its clients were treated. Aparently at most of the other salons, you barely even get a cursory glance when you walk in. Also, apparently at the other places you are made to feel as though they are doing you a great service by serving you aka doing their job. I know this type of greeting well as it is common practice in Jamaica. I've been told that this is a problem as a whole with Parisian stores as well but I have yet to experience it and didn't want my first experience to be at a salon. There are lots of words pertaining to a salon that I don't know in french and so I wanted to go somewhere where they would be patient with my broken french. Ethnicia seemed like it could fit the bill.

When I first read up on Ethnicia it was on a black hair forum website for France. However, when I went to the site, the pics showed black, white and Asian women. The one pic of the black person had her wearing an Afro so I was a bit confused. The home page stated that it was not only a salon but a place for all your beauty needs or éspace de beauté so I thought maybe they meant salon for non-Black hair and beauty needs for everyone. But when I went back to my forum sites most of the people who were hailing the salon were black or mixed and from reading more comments plus going back to Ethnicia's page and reading the About section, I realized that the concept of the salon was very good. It was founded by a young African (that gave me much more confidence) and it strived to be a multi-ethnic salon. Thus, I booked an appointment.

On entering the salon I was greeted by a United Colours of Benetton-type trio of pretty ladies (just like on the salon website one was black, one was white and one was asian). They were all dressed in black but it was the welcome that I liked. I was greeted very warmly and even offered tea, coffee or water! The decor was too nice. They took me to a set of lockers to put my coat and handbag and gave me a key as well to lock it. Then I was brought to a private room and again offered something to drink. On my way to the locker and private room a few more employees passed by and they all greeted me nicely. All this time, I was thinking 'I could get used to this!' When it came time to do my hair, it was a white lady who came to do it. I was surprised but she was quite good considering. She was also giving me lots of advice and was very patient with my french. At the end of it all, my hair looked nice. I've definitely had it done much better but it was still a nice result. When I factored in the excellent welcome and overall experience I would still give them a good mark for overall service.

This brings me to the eyebrow threading that I'm getting done today. The place that I'll be going to is again the most expensive of the three available ones in Paris. This time though, I tried calling the other ones to set up an appointment (at 7 or 8 Euros they're almost half as epensive) but everytime I get a busy signal so I gave up trying to save money and called the expensive one. Maybe, in a later post, I'll let you know how my rendez-vous at the Institut Darya goes. Of course, though my going there today means that I wil take a longer time to go back.

1 comment:

Case No. 3KY687p said...

Wow, Ethnicia sounds like a great place. Friendly staff--that's a shocker...and priceless. As for the price, enjoy it. It costs about twice that in DC for any run-of-the-mill street corner salon.