Personal Beauty Day in Paris


Hammam Pacha

The resting room at Hammam Pacha.

About every six weeks, I need a serious beauty day in Paris. By “need” I mean not that I am worn out from the exhausting lifestyle of a mom, femme and writer, but rather that certain aspects of my body (gray hairs) have begun to grow wild and require taming. When one of my discreet teen girls shouts in public, “Mom, you’ve got a gray hair!” I know it is time for a beauty day in Paris. And I have a routine.
First stop: downstairs to the Hammam Pacha for an Oriental waxing, or épilation, as they call it here in Paris. Salima and I chatter away as she yanks and rips. If it’s a good day, I have time to sweat off the pain in the adjacent hammam, cleansing my Paris-stained pores, then indulging in honey-laden sweets with mint tea in the tearoom. But today, that is not to be. Today, I am busy.
Now, off to the Opéra area for a Chinese pedicure with Mr. Yung at the Institut Yung. I love heading into the pedestrian walkway, scurrying past the Edward VII theatre and tucking into the red-lacquered boutique that Mr. Yung’s father designed in the 1920s. Little has changed since then, with Mr. Yung offering a traditional Chinese pedicure that eliminates the cheese-grater texture of my heels. Feet in order, I need to run—my hair is a mess!

Institut Yung

The facade hasn't changed since the 1920s.

I can’t say I love my hair salon. I have yet to find a stylist in Paris who I love for my hair, so I just go to the nearest Jean-Claude Biguine drop-in salon and get my hair cut by the next available person willing to do it. I don’t know why I like the Biguine brand better than Jean Louis David, Franck Provost or any of the other drop-in chain salons, but that is where I invariably end up.
Finally, it’s time for the color (remember the gray hairs that inspired this day?). I always go to Martine, at Graine de Beauté, in the 6th Arrondissement. I started coming here because they use plant-based dyes that keep my hair healthy and looking great, and I wanted to keep coming back because it is a true haven: the Provençal blue walls, with dried herbs and geometric tiles, make me feel like I’ve headed south for the afternoon. Martine is an experienced pro, while the owner, Babette, is my definition of elegant, incredibly warm and disarmingly genuine. At last, I can relax.
Related Links/Info
Hammam Pacha
Institut Yung
Jean-Claude Biguine
Graine de Beauté
60 rue du Cherche Midi, in the 6th Arrondissement.
01 45 44 25 13.

Editor’s note: We have several wonderful partners in our Travel Club program, including the spectacular L’Echappée Spa and the women-only O’Kari Hammam and Spa, both of which offer our members a discount of 15 percent. Also, H&B@Yours is a new partner that can send VIP hair stylists and makeup artists to your hotel room to give you a makeover.