Abu Dhabi’s new blow-dry bar is a breath of fresh air. There are floor-to-ceiling windows and a by-the-sea setting at Swish by Immaclife, located downstairs in the new Al Hadeel Building at Al Bandar, Al Raha Beach. The products and tools are eco-friendly and cruelty-free, too.
Customers are clearly the top priority here,. There are the practical hours, with blow-outs starting at 8am until 10pm, luscious, not to mention kiss-shaped salted caramel chocolates shipped in from Wales. Wherever possible, owner Kelly Ryan has incorporated products and staff from her home country too, including the talented stylists and makeup artists she recruits and helps house close to their workplace.
Ryan is a true multitasker: a mother-of-two, schoolteacher, hairstylist, makeup artist and founder of the Immaclife brand, she even managed to give birth to her second child and launch her salon all in the same month, while overseeing every classy detail in her new space.
“I just wanted to bring a little bit of luxury to the beauty industry in Abu Dhabi, because it’s a big business here,” says Ryan.
Her hair products are from Davines, a family-owned Italian company that offers a sulfate-free line that aims to be entirely vegan by the end of the year.
Hair is blown out with trendy Dyson Supersonic Hair Dryers, which operate at 150 degrees centigrade, not the standard 200, while drying hair three times faster. The makeup brushes are a cruelty-free vegan line called Spectrum, created by Welsh sisters.
And while the salon runs a brisk business, appointments seem like a mini-holiday, from the time clients sink into a Maletti Italian leather chair, a Diptique candle flickering gently nearby.
Ryan, who has been in the capital for eight years, echoes a common concern when she says she wanted to change the perception that going to the salon “wasn’t an enjoyable experience.”
“You’re always a little bit scared that your hair is going to be green oryour eyebrows are never going to be the same,” she said. “I wanted to provide a great experience where women could be relaxed. You know, good hair products, nice environment, lovely views.”
Swish by Immaclife’s blow dry prices start from Dh200, with packages available. Up-dos, braids and hair treatments are also available. For more information, go to www.immaclife.com or call 055 360 6768.
Featured photo courtesy Swish by Immaclife.
Ann Marie McQueen
Ann Marie McQueen is the founding editor-in-chief of Livehealthy and host of The Livehealthy Podcast. She is a veteran Canadian digital journalist who has worked in North America and the Middle East. Her past roles include features editor for The National, trends writer and columnist for the Canadian newspaper chain Sun Media, and correspondent for CBC Radio.