When I was young, my ‘beauty regime’ consisted of a Sunday bath and hairwash, (the mid-week grime kept at bay by ‘a flap with a flannel’) and a much-loathed bi-monthly trip to the hairdresser to trim that ubiquitous 1970s wonky-fringed pageboy crop. How times have changed. For today’s youngsters it’s – gasp – daily baths and trips to the salon where, entertained by racing car chairs and DVDs, their tresses are tousled into princess-style locks or the latest must-have Mohican. Add on mini mani-pedis, massages and good-enough-to-eat facials and it’s a miracle we even recognise our buff brood. But, in the best ‘can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em’ spirit, here’s our pick of the pampering bunch:
Birthday girls have long headed here for spa parties where mani-pedis, nail crystals, braiding, glitter tattoos and makeup await, with their favourite flicks and karaoke on the side. But it’s not just for special occasions. After all, this is a grown-up salon, and if mum fancies her nails done, why not let the little ‘uns partake in a bit of pampering of their own? If it keeps them quiet then it gets our thumbs up.
Times Square Centre (04 341 8848) From Dhs120 for a grown-up mani-pedi, kids’ treatments Dhs30 each
Thai Privilege Spa
The epitome of ‘ulterior motive’ cheek, sometimes we mums want – nay, need – treats too. And for those of us who rarely indulge (because the guilt at beautifying ourselves when we should be bonding with our oh-so-neglected kids is simply too much to bear) then TPS, with its wonderful menu of grown-up treatments and mum-and-daughter packages, has the answer. The experience kicks off with a refreshing tea and indulgent foot bath. While mum is whisked off for her treatment (we plumped for a glorious 60-minute Siam Aroma Massage) little princess is left in the capable hands of Thai staff to choose from a range of age-specific treats, from haircuts, to mini-mani pedis, nail art, glittery tattoos and hand and feet massages. Afterwards, over more tea, you can relax and admire each other’s painted and pummeled bits. Until the end of July, Dhs200 will get a one-hour massage or foot reflexology session for mum and one junior treatment, while Dhs280 buys mum a 90-minute massage with two junior treats.
Al Wasl Road (04 348 9679; www.thaiprivilegespadubai.com)
Tickles & Giggles
A menu of 17 – yes, 17 – scrummy shampoos, including banana split and root beer varieties, await in this ‘kids only’ salon. Followed by a cut and style into the latest trends and topped off with hair glitter and coloured tips, this is also a spa where little princesses can be pampered with chocolate, honey, oatmeal and yogurt facials, hand and foot massages, nail art, makeup and more.
Jumeirah Beach Residence. (800 82634; www.ticklesandgiggles.com). See website for prices.
A full ladies salon with a few kiddie treats on the side, including mani-pedis, hair braiding and – wait for it – World Cup nail art. Is there no escape?!
Oasis Centre (04 515 4400); Arabian Centre (04 284 5673); Deira City Centre (04 295 7271)
Sure, you can splash out and let the professionals do it, but why not dig out every towel you possess, invite a friend or two around (you’ll need help cleaning up) and climb into your dressing gowns for a home-grown beauty session – cheap as chips.
Squeeze some honey into a mashed avocado or some natural yogurt. Mix well and spread on your face. Lie back and pop a couple of cucumber slices over your eyes. See how many seconds you can all keep quiet (with a special prize for anyone who manages more than a minute). If you haven’t eaten it all, wipe it off and rinse.
Get a washing up bowl (you’ll need one for each mother/daughter pair) and squirt in your favourite bubble bath. Take turns at washing each others’ feet, just like the pros, then scrub your tootsies using sugar and any mashable fruit (we tried banana) or a mix of salt and olive oil. Dig out your dodgy pink nail varnish and get painting. Note: Mums, by all means indulge in the footbath, but we recommend you politely decline at the polish stage, unless you’re happy walking round with bright pink splotches all over your hands, arms, ankles...
Give your kid a comb, a brush and all the slides, clips and hairbands you can lay hands on, and let them transform you into Pippi Longstocking or Marge Simpson. To make the salon experience as authentic as possible, flick through a magazine while waiting to extract your revenge (and pray no-one comes to the door).