As exhaustion kicks in…
When you are drained after a long, tiring week; when it feels like every muscle in your body aches; when you look at your hands, feet and face and they scream for some attention and care, then it is time for a visit to the salon . My go-to rescue place happens to be Hifsa Khan’s. This is a personal piece based on some very private experiences of mine with various salons which I felt inspired enough to share.
The difference between Hifsa Khan’s and others
You have arrived!
When I step into Hifsa Khan’s Spa , the atmosphere greets me with a warmth that brings a feeling of having arrived at a haven away from the cares of the world. It promptly brings an involuntary smile to my face- which anyone who knows me, would know, is not a common occurrence unfortunately! The reason is simple- I am instantly made to feel that I am well taken care of… and what else can a girl ever want!
I would like to mention my experiences of waiting endless periods of time at other salons , before anyone at the reception can manage to find the girl who will be providing the salon services to me. At Hifsa’s someone quickly takes charge of you, guiding you through to your private little cubicle without much fuss.
The horror story!
Recently, I had the misfortune of getting stuck for services at a famous salon located in a popular local club in Lahore because of a gift voucher someone had given me. The salon has a big fancy name and lots of pomp and show which made me feel that I could perhaps give it a try. For a full 15 minutes they could not decide which girl to assign to me or what to do with me. Trust me, I am not that impossible to fix! But they seemed harassed and unwilling! A simple face polisher became the biggest challenge of their lives, while they ran around like headless chicken not knowing where to begin. Finally, the woman who was to be my messiah, materialized out of some back quarter and informed me that if I required a face and neck massage along with the polisher, I would be charged extra! Me, having been spoiled by Hifsa Khan, where my polisher comes packed with one of the best massages in the world- yes you heard me- I did say the world..so trust me… I found this salon’s request quite strange.
The worst part was me dressed in a gown (a loosely used term for a flimsy cloth that has an elastic band at the top which you can fit your torso into, basically leaving your arms, shoulders and neck bare, mostly very see-through, leaving not much to imagination) walking into the room for a pedicure and coming face to face with a man! Shock! For a moment I thought I might be mistaken but he had a beard too (I know what you are thinking…and no he wasn’t a woman). I do realize there are salons which have men working for them, but these men are never allowed into the rooms where the women are sitting, skimpily dressed, semi-naked for their beauty treatments! After I created a racket, which the entire club must have heard, I was hurriedly covered with towels and positioned behind a tiny screen and informed without apology that the man will stay! Yes he was not going anywhere because he was the makeup artist.
Massage room or cafeteria?
The room where I was taken for a polisher had many massage tables and upon one of them, some of the staff was sitting having lunch. This explained the filthy, stained sheets on the tables. Throughout the polisher, which itched and burnt my skin, and my attendant was nowhere to be found, (everyone else was definitely there, having a party in the middle of which I was lying stretched out like a very uncomfortable corpse) some client on the next table, kept talking very loudly on her phone. I learnt the entire story of how her wicked mother-in-law tortured her through the week and how her spineless husband didn’t give a damn- certainly not a story for a polisher/massage session. I was so disgusted that I decided to skip the extra-costing massage. Well that is one salon I am never going back to but let’s come back to our safe haven- Hifsa Khan- a salon I intend to keep visiting for a long long time.
Hygiene at Hifsa’s
All the workers at Hifsa’s are made to wear surgical masks, so as not to transfer germs to the clients by the whiffs of their breaths which would make the client dizzy, during the face treatments (not that they have bad breaths but hygiene is the thought behind the mask). A freshly washed gown, packed in a plastic bag containing a new set of sponges, issued only for you is used to maintain the best hygiene standards. You can take your sponges home, bring back for next time or get new ones each time if you wish. They disinfect their hands before they touch your skin.
Find your peace!
There is quiet. If the girls ever need something really urgent – they talk to each other in hushed voices very briefly, which I believe shows a lot of training on part of the salon owner. Hifsa has superb managerial skills and a client’s attendant will not leave the client’s side even after applying the polisher or face masks. The girl attending to me, repeatedly asks me if I feel any itching or discomfort.
Soothing spa music plays while you enjoy the treat and are made to look and feel prettier. The temperature is maintained keeping your comfort in mind, unlike other salons where you can freeze to death in winters. When lights are not required, they are switched off so you can relax without the glare of blinding lights in your eyes during a relaxing massage. And of course the massage is part of the package and simply divine.
The most brilliant thing is that the products they use are such that they do not hurt or damage my skin in anyway. That might have something to do with the fact that each client’s form is maintained in their database, which has all the information about your skin type and what products suit you.
Skin polisher or skin removal?
Almost all salons here like to scrub at your face as if cleaning out oily utensils with a wiry sponge with full might and force! The idea is that it makes the skin fairer (Ah the eternal quest of our female population- the holy grail, the ultimate life goal, which seems ever so elusive). At Hifsa’s I have never been tortured in this way. There is no rough scrubbing and no use of sponges in the way one might remove tar from a brick floor!
A complete spa!
I recommend their manicure and pedicure wholeheartedly- the instruments used are sterilized; the process is smooth and expedited by two girls working simultaneously on you. The full body massage is also executed superbly, competes fully with other prominent names in the city, even those that employ Thai or Filipino masseuses, and surpasses them in price by being quite affordable.
For me it is very important that the toilet facility is also kept clean which I have found only at Hifsa’s to date. I have visited so many very famous salons , which have toilets, which are kept in a state that would shame even the filthiest of toilets! They are unusable. A very popular salon , one of the older names in the industry, owned by a superbly talented makeup artist, has toilets, which often have bloodstains on the seats! Firstly, one cannot comprehend why our population has no decency about how to use toilets and secondly, at how the owner can leave them in that condition. I have always made it a point to inform about this at the reception, but not everyone cares about these things.
Little things make all the difference at Hifsa Khan’s. At the end of your time at the salon , you come out with a feeling of being new, feeling happier and more relaxed, ready to take on the challenges of your daily routines! And for this feeling, Hifsa Khan is so totally worth the long journey I have to make to reach there!