New Year New Me

FACT’s Muhammad Asad Ullah heads to The Barber Shop at Four Seasons Hotel Doha to get pampered ahead of his birthday.

We’ve been locked up for a long time and it’s my first time for a salon overhaul since Covid hit us in March 2020. So, I head to the best in town, The Barber Shop at Four Seasons Hotel Doha, for a completely luxurious pampering session.

I feel I’ve never deserved it more. Nestled in this extravagant and leisurely structure, this place has the solutions to all your hair, skin, and nail problems. The luxe atelier features a modern take on comfort, uniqueness, boldness and innovation. The mostly leather interior has an unflinchingly masculine feel to it — like an exclusive gentlemen’s club.

First up, it’s all about mani and pedi. No longer just for the girls, these days, the health and tidiness of a man’s nails, on both hands and feet, has become just as important as the crease-free Fendi shoes he wears. And The Barber Shop understands that very well. I am seated at the mani-pedi section and it’s time to give my overworked digits some proper care with express treatments. Both are quick yet effective enough to energise, revive, deeply nurture and restore the skin. And not only my hands and feet but also wrists and ankles are smoothed and soothed.

The nail technician starts with nail filing and shaping before cutting and tidying the cuticles. Using cuticle remover, a sterilised pusher and cuticle nipper to soften and remove the dead skin, my nails are then buffed for a consistent shiny look. I have never had such a nice, smooth surface before. After a gentle soak, we start the pedicure process with extensive scrubbing to remove dead skin before getting to the nails. It’s really hard to cut nails neatly and safely, without risking in-growns.

The nail technician trims back all the excess skin and gives my nails a good clean and cuts back the cuticles carefully. Calluses are ground down and, after all the exfoliation, I get a soothing, tingling lotion application that restores the moisture. The best part of getting a manicure and pedicure? The massage. Now, there’s some debate as to its purpose – some say the massage considerably improves circulation and vascular health in the foot and palm, while others aren’t so sure it’s that effective – but one thing is certain, it worked for me. It’s really nice to stop for a moment and have your hands and feet rubbed. Next, it’s time for the fun part – the express facial.

This lasts for about 30 minutes and ticks all the boxes, especially if you’re on the go. Quite an all rounder, it offers deep cleansing as well as toning and stimulating the skin. The 10-minute tension-release massage part is supremely relaxing while a galvanic mask is left on your face leaving the skin looking plump, smooth and radiant.

The before-and-after is particularly mesmerising: nasolabial folds are lifted, undereye bags are gone, and jowls are smoothed. Call it the era of the au naturel nip-tuck. I’m so ready for my next Instagram selfie. Hair is, of course, The Barber Shop’s forte. We begin, as every good salon visit should, with a careful consultation. The barber listens and identifies that my length needs to be equalised to achieve that enviable volume I require. He has the perfect rescue package for me that includes a hair trim with slightly faded sides and a nice blow-dry.

There are few things more comforting than having someone wash your hair as they massage in shampoo and conditioner to rinse away product build-up and stress. The chair at the washing station reclines horizontally allowing me to lie flat and relax as the barber cleans and caresses my locks. After cleansing, my still slightly damp hair is chopped from left, right and centre — leaving just enough for them to spike it up with an expert blow-dry, hairspray and strong wax.

Along with the immaculately shaped sideburns, it’s a haircut that creates a show-stopping profile and is ultra-directional, making it perfect for those who really want to make a statement with their postlockdown do. The reference is drawn from a ‘90s boy band classic guitar hero, a mussed-up texture or a strategically placed hair tuck or parting.

The back and sides are not shaven, but short enough to softly frame the face. And everything is now sprayed in place, guaranteeing this haute style can withstand any strong winds or humidity that make an unwelcome appearance. Thankfully, the stylist gives me a tutorial on how to achieve this look at home. With really good barbers at the helm, The Barber Shop is the place to be for men looking for a luxurious grooming space for a haircut, blow-dry or styling at an achievable price that doesn’t scrimp on luxury. Booking is advised as space is reduced due to social distancing requirements. ✤