Beauty on a budget

In need of some beauty help but short on the dirhams? Step this way…

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Formul’a French Hairdressing Academy

You can search all over Dubai for the cheapest haircut, but you’re not going to find a better rate than what’s offered at Formul’a, primarily because Formul’a’s haircuts are free. Sure, you have to be a guinea pig for students practising to be trained professionals, but all treatments are done under the watchful gaze of a supervisor. If you want to follow up with a colour, dye jobs start at Dhs100 (for the price of products). Appointments are a must.
Knowledge Village, Lot 11, Office G02 (04 438 0122). Appointments available at 9.30am and 1.30pm.

Al Manal Salon

If you’re looking for one of those low-lit salons with private dressing rooms, candlelight and chirping bird music, well, you’re going to have to pay for that. But if you’re content with no frills treatments at a bargain price, Al Manal’s your place. The salon offers a choice of five beauty treatments for Dhs150. For that price, you can get a massage, a facial, a manicure, pedicure and your legs waxed. Or swap some of those out for an arm waxing, blow dry and face bleaching… if that’s your thing.
Satwa, next to bus station (04 332 8391). Open Sat-Thu 10am-8pm.

Emirates Ayurvedic Centre

Ayurvedic massage has always been more medicinal than recreational, and in that respect the Emirates Ayurvedic Centre is more clinical than luxurious. Massages are administered by men in smocks, doctors are on hand to take your blood pressure and administer your diet. Still, even those not in the market for a full Ayurvedic treatment can enjoy an hour-long massage for Dhs125. If there’s cheaper in Dubai, we haven’t found it.
Al Hana Centre, Satwa (04 398 2111). Open Sat-Thu 9am-9pm, Fri 4pm-9pm.

Colosseum Muay Thai Health & Fitness Club

There’s something obscene about what most gyms in Dubai deem acceptable membership fees. We’ve even spotted some that creep up past Dhs10,000 per year. Which is why it’s refreshing to stumble upon this Karama gym, which specialises in martial arts. For Dhs2,400 per year (Dhs3,800 for couples), members have access to the gym, swimming pool, saunas, steam rooms, get a free fitness assessment, martial arts class and can sip unlimited mineral water. In this town, that’s what we call a deal.
Montana Building, Zabeel Road, Karama (04 337 2755, www.colosseumuae.com). Open Sat-Thu 6am-12 midnight, Fri 1pm-10pm.

Nail express

Nail Express has long been one of Time Out’s favourite mani-pedi venues, because the salon gives clients their own TV and DVD player, as well as a selection of chick shows to while away the minutes (choose from Ugly Betty, Desperate Housewives and Sex And The City). During the summer, it has several specials, including a Dhs155 package that includes a Brazilian wax, a scrub, a head, neck and shoulder massage and callous removal.
Garhoud (04 283 3828). Open 11am-8pm daily.

The Lounge

About a year ago, we exalted The Lounge, and its friendly staff, as the crème of Karama’s bargain crop. The decor may not be much to look at (black sofas and a TV blaring Madonna), but The Lounge gives expert cuts at a deliciously discount rate. Alas ladies, this venture is male-only venture. The coifs clock in at Dhs60. Not bad at all if you happen to live in the area.
Karama, opposite BurJuman (04 397 9097). Open 11am-8pm daily.

Shiffa Express Spa

Sephora offers relaxing quick fixes for the stellar price of Dhs100. Clients can choose from four 20-minute treatments, including a facial, a hand massage, a foot massage and a scalp massage. The best part, though, isn’t the price, but the fact that the sum can be deducted from Shiffa skincare products (so really, it’s almost like the treatment was free).
Shiffa Express Spa, Sephora (050 912 0219, 04 339 9828), The Dubai Mall, Level G. Open Mon-Sat 10am-8pm, closed Sunday.

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