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Hair Salon equipments (Scissors, conditioner bottles, hair comb)

Best Tressed: 7 Top Salons in Dubai Marina

Colour, cuts, blowdries, hairdos – it’s all here.

New to Dubai? Living in Dubai Marina? Looking for a hairdresser who you can actually trust (and not be tearful after a cut or colour)? We got you. Here, The Gaggler rounds up the best hair salons in Dubai Marina and surrounding areas. 

Crown Beauty Salon

Thanks to the heat, the beach, and showers with high-mineral water, your hair may need some extra TLC. Luckily, Crown Beauty Salon specialises in hair therapy and keratin hair masks – the perfect thing for shiny, healthy hair.

Crown Beauty Salon, Ground Floor Marina Views, Dubai Marina, 04 240 6342, open 9am-9pm daily

Hair Concept Salon

Calling all brides-to-be! Boasting highly qualified hair stylists, this is the perfect place to book for any updo styling. Simply bring a few reference images and watch the hair magicians at work.

Hair Concept Salon, JA Ocean View Hotel, Dubai Marina, 04 452 8031, open 10am-9pm daily

Jacques La Coupe, Hair Salons in Dubai Marina

Jacques La Coupe

If you’re looking for the perfect colourist with a touch of luxury and elegance to boot, Jacques La Coupe is the salon to visit. Just be sure to have a discussion beforehand to make sure the price is specified before starting to ensure you don’t get any nasty surprises at the end.

Jacques La Coupe, 66 Al Marsa, Dubai Marina, 04 445 8381, jacqueslacoupe.com, open 10am-10pm daily

Marquee Hair Salon

Marquee may be a little bit on the pricey side, but as the saying goes, you get what you pay for. And trust us, it applies here! We trust them with our (hair) life, from a complete transformation to essential touch-ups. We couldn’t recommend Marquee more.

Marquee, Marina Gate (opposite Spinneys), Dubai Marina, 04 589 5943, marquee.ae, open 8am-10pm daily

Pastels Salon

Located five minutes out of Dubai Marina in JBR, the OG-for-British-expats Pastels Salon is the salon to visit and feel like you have stepped into a London salon thanks to the British hairstylists. It’s also one of the few hair salons with a mix of male and female staff, all of whom are super professional.

Pastels Salon, The Ritz-Carlton Hotel, JBR, 04 399 5016, pastels-salon.com, open 9am-7pm Thurs – Tue, 9am-9pm Mon & Wed

Queens Beauty Lounge, hair salon in Dubai Marina

Queens Beauty Lounge

Looking for a last-minute blowout? Queens has been our lifesaver many, many times! Although we don’t recommend heading there without a booking, we have been in this bind before, and the team has graciously accommodated our request and in less than 30 minutes. Et voilà! A fresh blowout in a hurry, done.

Queens Beauty Lounge, Oceanic Tower shop #5, Dubai Marina, 04 427 9689, queensbeautylounge.com, open 9am-8pm Mon – Sat, 11am-9pm Friday, closed on Sun

Salon 971

Technically not in Dubai Marina, but close enough, Salon 971 is the best salon to head to for Hair Botox and the coolest hair colour trend ever: balayage. We are huge fans of balayage and love the fact that it looks great with any face shape. We also adore that Salon 971 is open weekdays at 7:30am, perfect for the working woman looking to get a cut and colour before work!

Salon 971, Platinum One Tower, Al Barsha, 04 579 6222, salon971.com, open 7:30am-9pm Mon – Thurs, 9am-6pm Fri – Sun

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Tips to Care for Curly Hair

6 Tips to Get Your Curls to Love You Back

It’s time to embrace your curls!

Getting the best from your curls can be really difficult – from deciding whether or not to brush them to selecting the best products and figuring out to how to style them. It can get exhausting pretty quickly. If you’re like me and love your hair curly, but need a few tips on how to make them look better, read on!

1. Silk Is a Great Place To Start

Use a silk or satin pillowcase while you sleep, so if you toss and turn around, it won’t put stress on the hair cuticles. It’s also very good for your skin, so that’s an added bonus. While you sleep, you can also loosely put your hair in a silk scrunchie on top of your head as this will help prevent your hair from getting frizzy and protect the shape of your curls. 

2. Get the Right Shampoo and Conditioner

Curly hairy has a tendency to be dry, so don’t overwash your hair as it washes out the natural oils that your curls need. Also, make sure to use a sulfate-free shampoo to protect your hair – and never think that you don’t need conditioner. Curls need moisture, so deep-condition your hair at least once a week. If you want to try something more natural, coconut oil can work really well as, unlike other oils, it penetrates deep into the hair shaft rather than sitting on the surface. 

How to Take Care of Curly Hair

3. To Brush or Not To Brush

If you have both curly and frizzy hair, use leave-in products meant for curly hair, such as a curl-activating cream (or simply apply some argan oil). Only comb with a wide-tooth comb before you shower and run your hands through it when it’s wet. Be careful at this stage as hair is more prone to breakage when wet.

4. Start Twisting 

When your hair is towel-dried after washing, apply a curl leave-in conditioner to each section and start twisting your hair in sections away from the face. Remember, don’t touch your hair and leave it to dry naturally. You can also use a diffuser to speed up the process. I recommend drying three-fourths of the hair on a cool setting, leaving the rest to dry naturally to avoid frizz.

5. Reactivate Your Curls After Washing

If you want to reactivate your curls on day two, I suggest using a water sprayer to gently spray the hair and scrunch your curls up again. As you already have curling product in your hair, the water should work well. I also recommend the Kérastase Curl Manifesto to boost your curls.

6. Get a Curl-Friendly Haircut 

I’ve got curly hair, and it’s amazing how my hair can react to different haircuts – whether my hair is textured or not, long layers or shorter layers, long or short. It’s important to find a hairstylist who loves curly hair and understands how curls can react to find a look that complements you. 

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A hair dresser telling something to a woman at hair salon

This Is Your Hairstylist’s Jargon, Deciphered 

Your confusion ends here!

We’ve all been in that situation – we want to change our style, but we don’t know how to explain what we want to our hairdresser. Or on the flip side, your hairdresser might start talking in what seems like a foreign language, leaving it to you to decipher what the words they’re throwing around really mean. Here, I’m going to deconstruct hairstylist jargon so that the next time you visit the salon, you’ll know exactly what to say to get the look you want. 

Single Process 

When you’re told your hair wish can be done in one visit, this is called a single process. 

Double Process

This is when it’s going to take more than one visit to achieve your dream look. Make sure to follow your hairdresser’s advice when they say this term as, sometimes, it’s good to space out visits for the health of your hair.

Tone

All colours have cool or warm tones. Cool tones are like winter colours and can include blues, purples, and greens. Warm tones, on the other hand, are more autumn-like colours and include yellows, reds, burnt orange, caramel, and chocolate brown. Looking at a salon’s hair shade chart will help you clearly see the difference and pick a hair tone.

Hair Tip: Cool shades are a great option for clients looking to cool down their complexion by cancelling out redness from their skin.

Highlights

Highlights are lighter than your natural hair colour and can be applied in many different ways, such as freehand, foil, or cling wrap.

Hair Tip: The amount of highlights you add and where they are placed can have a huge impact on the final look.

Full Highlights 

This is when there will be colour in sections that are highlighted throughout the entire head.

Hair Tip: If you happen to have lots of highlights, it doesn’t mean you should go for full-head colour as it’s a completely different look.

Partial Highlights 

Partial highlights are highlights around the hairline. It’s also referred to as ‘face framing lights’ or lights just scattered around the top.

Hair Tip: Partial highlights are great to refresh your lights in between big appointments.

Babylights (or Paper Thin Lights)

This refers to the size of the weave that’s used and are finer lights.

Hair Tip: These are great for around the face frame, especially when they’re done in between a bigger appointment or for the parting when your highlights grow out.

Balayage

Balayage was created by the French and is a natural-looking, hand-painting technique that grows out easier.

Hair Tip: This technique has allowed hairdressers to be a lot more creative. In just one hair colour, you can use many techniques such as highlights, lowlights, and balayage for a unique look.

Lowlights

Lowlights darken strands to add depth and dimension to hair and are very en vogue now.

Hair Tip: Sometimes, blonds feel like they need to be blonder when actually, they just need to add in some lowlights to give their hair dimension, which will make them look blonder.

Root Tapping

Root tapping softens the look of the highlights at the root area. 

Hair Tip: This treatment is well known for allowing the colour to seamlessly grow out better and appear more natural looking. 

Hair Glossing

This is a colour that gives instant shine. There can either be colour in it or it can just be a clear colour that adds a fabulous gloss to your existing colour.

Hair Tip: The brand Redken comes with a wide range of hair gloss products – including stunning cool colours – that can be found at mariadowling Salon.

Root Smudging 

This technique is used to soften or remove the line of old highlights by applying a colour that’s closer to the base colour on the root. It can be smudged one to three inches (or more) into the hair, depending on the length of the hair.

Hair Tip: This technique will add dimension in the colour by adding depth and is very on trend right now.

Bump Up the Roots

This is a technique used at mariadowling salon after you have highlights, and for a speedy refresher in between appointments to the root area around the hairline. 

Hair Tip: The whole appointment is quick and clients don’t have to come as often as they usually do to have their hair done – while still leaving your hair looking really good.

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Lady choosing hair color

Hair Colour 101: What to Know Before Taking the Plunge

Change your hair colour, change your life!

Colouring your hair can either be really exciting or really scary, depending on how brave you are. Whether you want to go natural or stand out in a crowd, here’s your guide to getting the colour you want – and to keep it.

Getting a Consultation

If you decide to go to a salon, consultation is the key to getting the colour you’re looking for. Give as much information to your colourist as you can about your lifestyle and hair routine so that they can advise you correctly. This is also your time to ask questions. Ask what the cost will be, what kind of maintenance you will require, when to book your next appointment, and so on.

Do Your Research Beforehand

Today, the world is at your fingertips, so be sure to do your homework before your appointment. I love it when a client comes in with reference images as it helps me to get an idea of what she wants. Generally, five photos are enough. Photos of models can be great, too, but it can also lead to high expectations that may not be achievable in one visit. Ideally, your colourist should give you a realistic option on how to achieve your hair goal.

Hair Colour 101

Prepare Your Hair

One common myth I’ve heard is that dirty hair grabs hair colour better. This is simply not true! It’s best to wash your hair one to two days before your appointment. Light, natural oils will help prevent your scalp from feeling itchy or too tingly when colour touches it. You should also prepare your hair by doing a treatment – like the mariadowling Hair & Scalp Detox treatment – as this will gently cleanse your hair of overloaded products or just everyday dust and dirt, thereby creating a better colour result.

To DIY or Not

As a colourist, I wouldn’t recommend tinting your own hair at home, but if you do decide to take the plunge, here are a few tips to remember.

  • When choosing your colour, pick a shade lighter than what you’re looking for. Be very careful as overlapping colour can lead to your hair becoming darker than the chosen colour.
  • Wear disposable gloves to protect your hands.
  • Before you get started, apply Vaseline on the skin around your forehead, ears, and the back of your neck to protect it from getting stained by the hair dye. Do not get the Vaseline on your hair as it can act as a barrier to the tint.
  • If your scalp is sensitive, you can add in some Sweet’n Low to the tint before applying.
  • Don’t wear your favourite clothes as it can get messy when dying your hair at home.
  • If you’re doing fashion colours like blues, green, or reds, be careful with the first few washes as the colour can continue to come out. So, use dark-coloured towels and pillowcases.
  • Finally, I don’t recommend using hair bleach at home as this can easily go wrong with very bad consequences. 

Getting the Right Products 

If you’re investing in your colour, invest in keeping your colour looking as gorgeous as it can be! Use a shampoo and conditioner that’s meant for coloured hair. This combo will ensure hydration and longevity of your colour. As a hair colourist, I also recommend the Olaplex range for making the hair stronger. This makes your hairdresser’s life easier when colouring as the hair’s condition will be better, and the colour will last longer.

Colouring your hair

The Pulling-Out-Grey-Hair Myth

I believe this is an important myth to bust when talking about hair colour. Plucking a grey hair will only get you a new grey hair in its place because only one hair can grow per follicle. Your surrounding hairs will also not turn grey until their own follicles’ pigment cells die.

Permanent or Semi-Permanent Colour?  

The main difference between semi-permanent and permanent hair colour is how long it lasts. Another major factor that differentiates them is that semi-permanent hair tint does not include any ammonia or peroxide, unlike permanent hair dye. In general, tints are now a lot kinder to the hair than they were before. 

Does Colouring Your Hair Damage It?

The answer is both yes and no. Colours can be quite drastic these days (like dark hair going light platinum). This can be damaging as you are pulling out colour from the hair with bleach whilst lifting – and you simply can’t avoid bleach to achieve the end result you need either. But as I said, by using Olaplex, we can achieve more than we ever could before whilst keeping the hair in good condition. At the end of the day, the extent of damage just depends on how natural or dramatic you want the result to be.

Hair Colour and the Sun 

Like your skin needing protective sun products, your hair needs to be protected, too. If you live in a place with a hot climate, like Dubai, you will need to keep your hair covered or use the Kerastase sun range – even while walking around as the sun is so intense that it will lift out your colour very quickly. If you have long hair, I recommend wearing it in a top knot with all the ends tucked in.

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Woman relaxing her hairs by the sea

Damage Control: The ‘Queen of Colour’ on Maintaining Healthy Hair

Spare your hair from further wear and tear!

Our hair goes through so much each day – from heat damage and the wrong products to a poor diet that does little to nourish it. But help is here. Here are 10 everyday tips to maintain healthy hair all the time. Yes, it may mean changing your routine a little, but the difference in your hair will speak volumes.

1. Detangle Your Hair When Wet with Conditioner 

When you’re in the shower, apply your conditioner and comb your hair while the conditioner is on to remove any tangles. It’s much easier to detangle at this point than when your hair is dry. 

2. Use a Cotton Towel to Dry Hair

Use a cotton towel or T-shirt instead of a normal towel to dry your hair as it won’t rough up the hair cuticles as much. Avoid harsh rubbing – just pat dry the hair so that you don’t have to work as hard to smooth the hair and make it look healthy.

3. Slow Down When Detangling 

Always start by detangling any clumps or big knots with your fingertips. Next, gently use a wide tooth comb or a Tangle Teezer brush on the lower portion of your hair to detangle all the knots towards the ends of your locks. Once this is done, gently brush downwards from the roots.

4. Massage Your Scalp Every Day

I believe in head massages. Massages are known to improve the blood flow and health of the scalp, so try and massage your scalp every day for a few minutes, even if it’s just while you’re watching TV. Use the tips of your fingers, not your fingernails, and make circular motions across your scalp. Massaging the scalp – which can be done in conjunction with hair oils and masks – stimulates the scalp and can help improve hair thickness.

5. Take in Nutrients That Benefit Your Hair

Nutrients That Benefit Your Hair

Food is the best source of the vitamins you need for hair growth. Here are some ways of getting the nutrients you need through food.

  • Protein: Eggs, almonds, milk, Greek yoghurt, beef, and broccoli
  • Vitamin B12: Whole grains, almonds, meat, seafood, dark leafy greens
  • Iron: Clams, oysters, eggs, red meat, spinach, and lentils
  • Vitamin E: Sunflower oil, wheat germ oil, peanuts, peanut butter, spinach, and pumpkin
  • Omega 3 fatty acids: Nuts, seeds, oily fish, and leafy green vegetables

However, if you fail to get enough of these nutrients in your diet, supplements may be helpful. According to research, supplements work best in individuals who are already deficient. One supplement that’s especially good at getting good results for your hair is Viviscal

6. What You Take in Is Reflected in Your Hair 

What we eat as food comes out through our skin, while tablets come out through our scalp. If you take tablets – even an aspirin – it will affect your hair and scalp. Notice that when you’re unwell, your hair suddenly won’t feel good, possibly even lifeless and flat. To counteract this, use a detox clay like the mariadowling Detox Clay to get your hair feeling full of life again.

7. Use Products for Colour-Treated Hair

Olaplex

If you colour your hair, you should be using products that are made to protect it. The Olaplex line features products that repair and strengthen every strand of hair from the inside out. The vegan, cruelty-free formula actually strengthens the bonds in your hair, and I’ve seen amazing results with clients who use it. Olaplex No1 and No2 is applied in the salon as a salon treatment, and you can continue it at home with number No0 and No3. 

8. Find a Supportive Colourist

It’s good to find a colourist who is concerned about the condition of your hair when colouring, as they will know where to apply colour and avoid overlapping and other mistakes. If you change your colourist every time, this can lead to many different hair colour changes and possible mistakes that’ll need to be corrected.

9. Use a Leave-In Conditioner Before Styling

I always recommend using a leave-in conditioner before heat styling. Even though you’ll be using a leave-in conditioner, you must still use a conditioner after you’ve rinsed off your shampoo, then towel-dry and apply the leave-in conditioner. It’s always good to start with less until you know how much to apply. I recommend the Kerastase range, which includes leave-in thermique products that activate when in contact with heat styling tools.

10. Use a Silk Pillowcase

Treat yourself to a silk pillowcase as its smooth texture lets hair glide over it without any friction, which means you’re less likely to have frizzy hair when you wake up.

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A beautiful woman with long & shinny hair growth

Best Tressed: 10 Hair Tips Every Woman Should Follow

Because no day should be a bad hair day!

As a hairdresser, I always say, “Our hair is like a piece of silk, and we need to look after it.“ Here are some of my easy tips to make sure that you’re giving your hair the love that it deserves, leaving it looking fabulous in between every salon visit.

1. Choose the Right Shampoo

When choosing a shampoo, pick one that suits your scalp. For example, if you have an oily scalp, choose a shampoo for oily hair. And if you have dry hair, pick a shampoo for dry hair. I prefer the Kerastase range, which includes a shampoo for oily scalp and dry ends that I absolutely love as a lot of people have that combination.

2. Concentrate Your Shampoo on the Right Area

When shampooing, the shampoo should be concentrated on your scalp. When you rinse off the shampoo, that’s enough to clean the rest of your hair. Washing the length of your hair and the ends can strip moisture and cause your hair to become dull and dry, so focus on your scalp – you’ll also end up using less product by doing that.

3. Use Conditioner Correctly

I’m sure everyone knows that we should use conditioner, but where should it go? Conditioner should be applied to the mid-length and ends of your hair – unless your scalp is very dry. In general, most people have a normal or oily scalp, so if you apply the conditioner on the scalp, it will make it heavy and it will become oilier. I always start by applying most of the conditioner near the ends of my hair, then work my way up to the mid-length. And when there is very little left on my hands, I go around to the front. 

4. Detox Your Scalp

Detox Your Scalp

Just like your skin, your scalp also needs regular detoxing and exfoliating as you can have a build-up of products and dandruff. It also works as a general feel-good maintenance programme. I recommend the mariadowling Hair & Scalp Clay as it detoxifies the hair and conditions it at the same time, leaving your hair looking fabulous, clean, and shiny.

5. Treat Yourself

I get asked all the time about deep-conditioning treatments and if everyone needs to do it, and the answer is always a ‘yes’. We all need hair treatments as most of us have colour-treated hair, use styling tools like styling wands and irons, or simply have weak hair. Everyone has a hair concern. 

It’s recommended to have an in-salon treatment as professional treatments can be more intense and specifically tailored to meet your hair’s requirements. It’s important to continue with follow-up treatments at home, depending on how often you shampoo. I generally recommend once a week to maintain the results. 

6. Take a Cool Rinse 

Hair Care

We all love a hot shower, especially in wintertime, but this can strip your hair of essential oils and leave it looking dry. I recommend having your last rinse with cool or cold water as it will close the hair cuticles and give your hair extra shine. 

7. Towel-Dry Differently

After you’ve washed your hair, it seems obvious to get a towel and harshly rub your hair to remove excess water before styling – but that’s where you’re wrong. After you finish washing your hair, squeeze a lot of the excess water out with your hands, then get a towel or an old cotton T-shirt (it can even be a softer fabric) and gently pat the hair until it’s dry enough to style.

8. Reverse Comb Your Hair

Wet hair breaks more easily, so it’s better to use a wide-tooth comb rather than a brush after your shower. Be sure to comb your hair starting from the ends, then gradually work your way back up to your roots. Wet hair can be quite fragile, so be gentle. 

9. Protect Your Hair When Styling

Today, we can achieve salon-looking hair at home by ourselves with the help of heated tools like irons and styling wands. But again, if you don’t protect your hair, you’ll quickly have problems like split ends. Hot tip: all styling tools must be used on dry hair (except the new Dyson curling tool, which can be used on damp hair). Be sure to apply a heat protector before blow-drying or heat-styling – this is one of the most important things to do before styling your hair.

10. Use Styling Tools Correctly 

When styling, keep your tools on a low temperature setting. If you want to practise a new styling technique, try it first with the iron turned off as it always takes a few tries to figure it out – it’s not always as easy as it seems on YouTube!  

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A woman grabbing her hairs

Meet the Hair Helper You Never Knew You Needed

Do you own a scalp scrub yet?

By now, it’s likely that you’ve experimented with body scrubs made with everything from sea salt and brown sugar to coffee grinds and ground almond shells in the name of unclogging pores, promoting circulation, and removing dead skin cells. And yet, few of us bother tending to the oil, city grime, and product build-up that collects on our scalps in between washes – sacrilege! 

After all, doesn’t your hair deserve some of the TLC that your skin receives on a daily basis? Turns out, using a scalp scrub once or twice a week goes a long way, resulting in a healthy scalp and happy hair. Not all options are created equal, though, contrary to popular belief. In fact, we’d argue that there’s one just for you, depending on factors like budget, scalp concerns, time constraints, and more. Ready to meet your match? Read on. 

If you’re time-pressed and on the lookout for a scrub that doubles as a shampoo:

Cleansing Purifying Scrub, Christophe Robin

If you’re sick of dealing with a flaky, itchy scalp:

Scalp Revival, Briogeo

If you’re on a budget, but ready to join the scalp scrub bandwagon:

Glycolic Acid Exfoliating Scalp Scrub, The INKEY List 

If you’re one to shop brands rooted in sustainability:

SOLU Sea Salt Scrub Cleanser, Davines

If you’re concerned about your hair colour fading:

Apple Cider Vinegar Scalp Scrub, dpHUE

If you’re steering clear of chemicals in your beauty products:

T.L.C. Happi Scalp™ Scrub, Drunk Elephant

If you’re not a fan of bathroom clutter and looking for a multitasker:

Scalp & Body Scrub, OUAI

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flowers for spa

Because It’s Scorching Hot Outside…

3 all-natural cooling treatments to try.


There’s no shortage of swanky spas, high-end spa brands, and OTT beauty extras (caviar facial, anyone?) in Dubai, but when temperatures hover around 43°C – which they do every August – it’s time to go back to the basics: cooling ingredients derived from nature. Incidentally, offerings like hot-stone massages and steamy hammams are widely available, but spa and salon treatments designed to beat the heat are surprisingly hard to find. Looking to get you covered from top to toe, here’s what I discovered. And loved.

HAIR

Aloe Vera Hair Treatment at That Hair Tho

Summer is the season of vacations, ice cream, and blockbuster films. It’s also the season of sweat and scalp build-up. Enter: the Aloe Vera Treatment at That Hair Tho, where green walls, bright colours, and all manner of 90s kitsch will lift your spirits, regardless of the day’s events. My pre-treatment consultation starts with a welcome note in fluorescent hues, and unexpectedly seeing my name on the mirror has me smiling before we even begin.

The Aloe Vera Treatment is tailored to each client based on hair type and recurring issues. As for my concerns? A generally dry scalp and excessive hair fall, a development brought upon by the onset of the pandemic – because stress. As a result, the formula that’s custom-created for me contains aloe vera (which features gel from a live aloe vera plant that resides onsite) and neem powder (known for its antifungal properties), both complemented by castor oil and coconut oil. Castor oil, as I learn, contains ricinoleic acid that increases blood flow to the follicles, thereby promoting healthier hair. It’s extremely heavy, however, and typically diluted with the likes of coconut or jojoba oil.

A cooling sensation takes over as soon as the aloe vera mixture makes contact with my scalp. And just as aloe vera gel can soothe a sunburn or dehydrated skin, the treatment works wonders to calm an itchy or irritated scalp. The formula is massaged in and left on for 20 minutes, and I’m pretty sure I drifted off somewhere between the two. Two rounds of cleansing later – first with a shampoo that contains scrub particles to remove build-up, then with a moisturising shampoo to tend to dry strands – my hair looks nourished and super hydrated. Luminous, even. The Aloe Vera Treatment ends with a few spritzes of anti-humidity spray and your choice of a blow-dry or blast-dry, but does it even matter? You’ll feel lighter, fresher, and cleaner than you have in years.

FACE

Cucumber Facial at The Organic Glow Beauty Lounge

At this entirely ‘green’ spot in JVC, all are welcome and well taken care of: pregnant women, cancer survivors, those with sensitive skin, and just about anyone looking to steer clear of indecipherable chemicals. Personally, I’m a member of Team Sensitive Skin and, as someone who often wakes up with a rash or adverse reaction the day after a traditional facial, am delighted to discover the all-vegan Cucumber Facial. Not only are cucumbers both cooling and hydrating, but they’re also a rich source of silica – a mineral that supports optimal connective tissue for healthier skin. The treatment starts with a multi-step face cleansing process that turns to two further cooling ingredients derived from nature: rose water and aloe vera. I already know I’m in the right place.

Next up is the exfoliation stage, which comes with an unexpected element: date syrup. Organic brown sugar is mixed with date syrup to create an exfoliant that’s surprisingly beneficial – dates contain pantothenic acid, which helps the skin retain moisture. As the steamer gets going, I expect to be left alone. Instead, I’m treated to a hand and forearm massage that offers much-needed relief to my stiff and swollen wrists. I’m enjoying an exceptionally clear skin day, but in the case of pimples and other blemishes, extractions aren’t the norm at Organic Glow. By now, I’ve lost count of how many times a forcible extraction in the midst of a facial has left me with scarring – it’s nice to finally discover a salon where this practice is a no-no.

Organic cucumber slices are placed all over my face, and I feel their cooling juices start to trickle down my face and neck, my body temperature dropping instantly. As a blissful 15 minutes allow the chilled slices to take effect, waking up me and my tired skin, I silently vow to return and do it all over again. The Cucumber Facial ends with a rich, super-softening vitamin E cream infused with aloe vera that I end up leaving on my skin overnight, as recommended. Cucumber is a natural astringent and tightens pores, making this refreshing facial ideal for those with oily skin, too.

FEET

Foot Reflexology and Peppermint Foot Treatment at Sea Salt Spa

Regular pedicures felt like a weekly essential pre-pandemic, but in this new era of prioritising health and wellness over all else, foot reflexology is where it’s at. Practised for centuries, this feel-good massage entails applying pressure to different points on the bottom of the foot as they correspond to different organs and areas of the body, thereby inducing both healing and relaxation. The Foot Reflexology and Peppermint Foot Treatment at Sea Salt Spa is 60 minutes of sheer bliss, cooling and soothing the feet until they feel as good as new. It really is ideal for sore, achy, tired feet that are trapped inside closed-toe shoes in this heat (farewell, WFH days). For the uninitiated, menthol is the main chemical component of peppermint, which explains its cooling properties.

I start with a refreshing lemongrass-cucumber welcome drink that perfectly sets the tone as I sink into a cloud-like recliner. A foot soak in warm water infused with lavender bath salts is swiftly followed by a zingy peppermint foot scrub before the star attraction: an extensive massage accented with peppermint cream. Admittedly, I’m ticklish under the feet and expect to squirm my way straight through the massage, but proven wrong in no time. If anything, the pressure hits that sweet spot between too gentle and too firm, and I find myself more relaxed than I’ve been in ages.

Sleepily, I relish the fact that the massage also tends to my calf muscles, which have suffered the agonising pain of ‘charley horse’ cramps for several weeks now – they’re far more common in the summer months due to electrolyte imbalances. The treatment wraps up with a swipe of hot towels – peppermint-scented, too! – to remove any greasy residue before a brief shoulder massage comes about as an entirely unexpected treat. Pressed for time? Opt for the shorter version of the Foot Reflexology and Peppermint Foot Treatment, which skips the shoulder massage and lasts for 30 minutes.

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Celebrating the Story of MissPalettable

Because we can’t get enough clean beauty.

Pop culture may have you believe that the so-called ‘pregnancy glow’ is practically a given, but the opposite was true for Mukta Purain. Here, the co-founder of clean beauty platform MissPalettable reveals its unexpected backstory, how she feels about elitism in wellness culture, what’s next in the industry, and more. Listen in.

Q

Let’s start with the basics. What is MissPalettable? And who is the MissPalettable woman? 

A

She enjoys using products that are palatable to the skin. She’s bright, fun, and individual but also conscious, independent, and open-minded – that’s who I think of. The online platform, meanwhile, curates independent clean brands sourced from all over the world. But we steer clear of ‘green’ branding because we think beauty shouldn’t be so serious. Most of our brands are female-founded, too, and usually not available anywhere else except on MissPalettable. That’s also why our customers return – there’s always something interesting, something new. 

Q

Can you talk us through your journey from banker to beauty entrepreneur?

A

I was actually in finance, working as a foreign exchange trader. That was in a prior life in Singapore, before I moved to Dubai because of my husband’s job. Only one year later, I was pregnant and never ended up returning to finance. I like to say I gave birth to two children simultaneously: my son and MissPalettable. My skin changed a lot during the pregnancy, as is the case for many women. But for me, those changes were drastic. I saw a lot of sensitivity develop, and almost everything I used led to redness and allergies. And of course, I saw an increase in hyperpigmentation, too. 

Only your usual, mainstream brands were available in Dubai at the time, and they were just not working for me. I had to research others, which is what led me to K-Beauty. I started having Korean skincare products shipped over, and my skin improved. The redness disappeared, and I realised they are all about hydration and correcting inflammation. The formulations incorporate a lot more natural skincare ingredients and are lighter than Western beauty brands, too. But it was a whole process getting these products to Dubai because the awareness around Korean brands was nearly non-existent back in 2016 – even Sephora didn’t carry any. The birth of MissPalettable practically happened on my couch, with me watching TV and complaining about the shipping time and costs.

Q

Can you talk us through the process of how you curate the brands carried by MissPalettable? How extensively are they tested?

A

There are a few different approaches when it comes to testing. One is with brands that I have used and loved, and therefore want them on the platform. I then reach out and bring them onboard. And on the other side are brands getting in touch to possibly be listed on MissPalettable – that’s where the curation process truly happens. My first step is always research. I like working with brands that have a strong philosophy, a strong story, a strong founder’s story. And I prefer working with founders directly. I try every single product if the brand passes the research phase, testing each for at least two weeks. If I don’t like the products or love the brand, how can I expect my clients to? Matters like importing the products and looking into registration certificates follow – we’re quite regimented that way. That’s why we’re transparent with our customers, and that’s why they trust the fact that we only carry trustworthy products.

Q

And how do you tackle testing a product that isn’t suited to your skin type? 

A

I have extremely dry and sensitive skin, but I have a Marketing Manager in my team who has oily skin, so it works perfectly for us. There’s a Korean skincare brand that we’ve been testing recently, and I felt it wasn’t hydrating enough for my parched skin. That’s when I knew it may be suited to someone with oily or combination skin. She tested it, she loved it, and we then had a detailed discussion about it. What type of customer or skin type would benefit most from it? Do we already have something similar on the site? It’s a thorough process because we don’t want any brand to cannibalise another. You also don’t want too many brands of the same type or style. Otherwise, customers get confused – you want to give them options without overwhelming them.

Q

Sensitive skin is a source of misery for so many women, whether it’s due to allergies or climate conditions or – in your case – pregnancy. Any DIY tips you can share? 

A

I recommend looking for ingredients such as aloe vera, calendula, and chamomile, and avoiding the likes of fragrance and harsh exfoliants. Personally, I struggle with dark circles because of my Asian skin – it’s genetic. I wish there was a foolproof way to get rid of them, but there isn’t. However, the one thing I like doing, especially as a green tea lover, is refrigerating the teabags in a Ziploc bag after I’m done with them. I use them as an eye mask whenever I feel I need a quick pick-me-up because green tea contains caffeine and is an antioxidant. It does help, especially if you haven’t slept properly and wake up with puffy eyes.

Q

Wellness culture – clean beauty included – can often feel elitist, but the products listed on MissPalettable feel accessible and are surprisingly affordable. Was that a conscious decision? 

A

I feel like there’s a spectrum within the clean beauty space, and certain brands sit on one extreme. But we’re in a more balanced place in the sense that we’re not here to clean-shame you. For example, there have been a lot of conversations around what products qualify as clean. Does that mean everything else is dirty? No. People don’t realise that the term is derived from clean eating, which is simply eating real and wholesome foods. Of course, there’s no real definition of clean beauty because there’s no regulatory authority in place, so customers should do their own research – even if a brand claims to be clean. One thing we stand by is that nature and science can coexist, the two don’t have to be at odds with each other.

Q

If you were writing the Clean Beauty for Dummies guide, how would you explain the term? 

A

Clean beauty doesn’t mean cruelty-free, and cruelty-free doesn’t mean clean beauty. Similarly, clean beauty doesn’t mean vegan, and vegan doesn’t mean clean beauty. People get confused, which is understandable. Cruelty-free basically means a brand doesn’t test on animals, vegan means the ingredients used are not derived from animals. That’s the difference. The reason cruelty-free is significant is because there’s only one country in the world where animal testing is mandatory, but that one country happens to be a huge commercial market for many brands. Nars and Bobbi Brown, for example, started off as cruelty-free brands, but are not anymore. That’s why thorough research into a brand is so important for us. As for my take on clean beauty? Every single ingredient within a formulation serves a positive purpose.

Q

MissPalettable launched in 2017, a time when clean beauty wasn’t particularly known in this part of the world. What challenges did you face?

A

We didn’t have too many options when I started. There were two extremes – you had Sephora and department stores like Harvey Nichols, which carried high-end products, and then you had drugstores. Oh, and a few natural brands through Organic Foods and Café. That was it. You didn’t see a lot of e-commerce in the region either because people were sceptical about using credit cards online. There was also a bit of a herd mentality at the time; women were using whatever Kim Kardashian was using. These were just some of the hurdles I encountered. 

Nothing happened at first because nobody knew about us, so a lot of time was spent in building brand awareness. And once that happened, there were so many stereotypes to break. Not many people knew what clean beauty was, so I used terms like ‘natural’ and ‘organic’. But the association there was someone who is vegan, into yoga and journaling, and living this minimalist lifestyle. What if you were someone who went partying in DIFC after a long day at work? They wouldn’t see the appeal of clean beauty. I felt the need to educate customers on the fact that beauty shouldn’t depend on one’s lifestyle. It’s about options – Korean skincare products in particular, which are lightweight and so easy on the skin.

Q

Is Korean skincare still the focal point?

A

We’ve shifted focus, bringing more cosmetic brands and ayurvedic brands on board. Like I said, the idea wasn’t to go from five to fifteen skincare brands that were all similar in formulation. And I’m the reason behind the shift – my interest and forte has always been on the makeup side. It’s selfish in a way, but it’s because I want more clean makeup options here and we now have a lot of fun brands in the pipeline. That’s our joy – finding lesser-known brands with unique backstories. I also find that most recently launched clean beauty platforms primarily focus on skincare, not makeup.

Q

What one product on MissPalettable do you wish more people would try, and why?

A

I’d say the makeup in general. Yes, it’s not going to have the pigmentation of, say, a Huda Beauty product, but give it a shot. The lipsticks by Lily Lolo and Hynt Beauty are amazing. The BB cream by Lily Lolo? It really smooths out the skin and preps it for foundation. Hynt Beauty’s concealer offers full coverage – it even covers up my dark circles! Again, the stigma is that clean makeup brands aren’t as high in quality, but ours have been very popular with customers who have sensitive skin. What I also like is that they’re all working to be more inclusive, to increase their colour range.

Q

What, according to you, is the next big trend in beauty?

A

Circular beauty, or upcycled beauty, is going to be huge. There are several brands in the start-up phase that are formulating products using waste. We’ve already seen it happen in fashion, and that’s now starting to happen in beauty. Of course, it’s still early days, but it’s something to look forward to. Inclusivity is also a big one. Right now, especially in the United States, you see emerging beauty brands founded by African-Americans, Asian-Americans, and even South Asians – all promoting their side of the story. That’s where it’s getting a lot more interesting.

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Get Silky Smooth Hair For Summer With KS Ultimate

Swap unruly hair for smooth manageable locks with the KeraStraight Hair Treatment.

The weather is starting to heat up, and for many a Gaggler Girl, having to cope with dry, frizzy, uncontrollable hair is just another drama they could do without. 

Fighting frizz is an ongoing battle when you live in a humid climate, and while there are plenty of treatments that promise to smooth, straighten and care for your less-than-compliant-locks, many still contain harsh chemicals that can damage the hair.

So what’s the alternative? Say hello to KeraStraight Ultimate, which offers Formaldehyde free, protein technology that is humidity-resistant, strengthens and de-frizzes hair, makes lengths smoother and more manageable, and can last for up to four months.

But does it really work? We sent our perpetually frizzed-out Video Creator Emma Brain to Pastels Salon on Al Wasl road to test the latest lock – taming treatment, and see if Kerastraight Ultimate could be the solution to her haircare headache… 

WATCH THE VIDEO: KeraStraight Ultimate Hair Treatment At Pastels Salon

Gaggler readers can take advantage of a Gaggler EXCLUSIVE 10% discount on the KS Ultimate four-month treatment at Pastels Salon from now until April 11.

Simply head to The Gaggler Middle East Group on Facebook to get the Gaggler’s EXCLUSIVE Pastels discount code, and prepare to say farewell to your frizz!

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bob cut short hair

How Behind Her Eyes and I Care A Lot Have Made Us All Want A New Hairstyle

Why 2021’s must-see Netflix shows have made the blunt bob the haircut everyone wants

If you’ve been spellbound by two of the latest Netflix releases – namely psychological/supernatural thriller Behind Her Eyes and the compelling black comedy I Care A Lot – you’re joined by millions of similarly obsessed others – team Gaggler included. But aside from the brilliance of the story that unfolds in both these must-watch TV masterpieces, there’s another star element that unifies the two productions in their eyeball-glueing abilities – a magnificent, glossy bob in the leading role.

With Behind Her Eyes’ pivotal character, Adele (Eve Hewson) rocking a raven black, side-parted bob as perfect and shiny as a freshly-split conker, and I Care A Lot anti-heroine Marla (Rosamund Pike) showing off a blunt, blonde bob as faultlessly executed as her dastardly business dealings, it’s impossible not to be transfixed by the simple beauty of this classic, chin-skimming do – as well as the fascinating insight it gives into the personality of the characters who wear them.

So if you, like us, have been bewitched by the magic of the classic blunt bob – courtesy of Misses Hewson and Pike – whilst sneakily eyeing-up the army of bobs on Chanel’s SS21 catwalk and eternal hair icon Alexa’s Chung’s recent return to her bobbed best should you consider trialling the undisputed haircut of the season?

We quizzed Tanya Van Reenen, Senior Stylist at Pastels Salon Jumeirah, on everything you need to know before going for the chop with a banging blunt bob:

THE GAGGLER: What exactly should I ask my hairdresser for?

TANIA VAN REENEN: Ask for a blunt bob. It’s a good idea to take some images of the style you wish to achieve to the hairdressers with you to show your stylist. This allows your stylist the chance to see if this exact style is possible for your hair, or if it needs to be adapted slightly to take into account your hair type, face shape and lifestyle. This is really important, because how much time you are willing to spend styling your hair everyday will determine the kind of cut you can realistically manage, as well as one that suits you the most.

THE GAGGLER: What kind of hair does a bob work best for?

TANIA VAN REENEN: Generally, bobs make hair look thicker, so this style is ideal for someone with fine to medium hair. Avoid completely if your hair is thick, curly or unruly. 

THE GAGGLER: Which face shape suits a bob?

TANIA VAN REENEN: Sleek bobs best suit oval or round faces as they contour the face beautifully.

THE GAGGLER:  How easy is it to maintain a blunt bob?

TANIA VAN REENEN: It really depends on your hair type. If you have fine hair, you’ll need a mousse like Redken High Rise Volume to add some body to the hair without making it sticky.

For hair that’s slightly frizzy and dry, Kerastase Elixir Ultime is your best friend. This iconic shine-enhancing hair oil offers heat protection from appliances, gives long-lasting radiance and durable frizz protection.

THE GAGGLER: How often do I need to get it cut to keep it looking tip top?

TANIA VAN REENEN: Ideally every 6-8 weeks. NEVER attempt to trim it at home yourself!

THE GAGGLER: What products doI need to make it look my bob look gorgeous and glossy?

TANIA VAN REENEN: Redken Shine Flash is brilliant, but you could also try an in-salon gloss treatment to add long-lasting shine. 

THE GAGGLER: What tools do I need to style it?

TANIA VAN REENEN: A paddle brush and a medium-sized round hairbrush. You will also need a hairdryer – I really like the Dyson Supersonic as it will not overheat the hair, which makes it go frizzy. 

THE GAGGLER: How should I dry it?

TANIA VAN REENEN: Blast dry it and brush it out with the paddle brush. When it’s  almost (90-95%) dry, use the round brush to smooth it and turn it under. Et voila! Netflix-perfect glossy blunt bob!

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