by Nelly Morrison
You'll find Faz Beauty beneath the Tony Adem hair salon in Ilford, Essex. The salon occupies the whole of the basement area and the first impression on walking downstairs is one of space and air and utter cleanliness. There is lots of light and after leaving the bustle of the street and the heavy pop from the hair salon upstairs, there is an immediate and total feeling of peace and relaxation.
The large reception area has comfortable leather and chrome seating, a discrete reception desk, healthy plants and a table neatly strewn with magazines - not 'Elle' or 'Cosmopolitan', but 'Top Sante' and 'Here's Health". That gives you the first clue that this salon is not just about looking good on the outside. It's about total beauty.
There is a theme of lilac running in the décor - towels, blankets, vases etc. This is Faz's colour scheme and promotes the sense of tranquillity and rejuvenation.
Then I met Faz herself - a small, neat lady, immaculately suited and with the sort of fine, Eastern bone-structure that most of us can only yearn for. She greeted me with a firm, warm handshake, explained that I would be having the basic facial and asked what I thought my skin type was. When I told her that I thought it was dry, she took a good look at it and explained "No, not dry, dehydrated. You should drink more water."
Halima, one of the four therapists who work for Faz, escorted me to a treatment room and I was offered the choice of Dermalogica, Cosmeceuticals or GM Collin products on my skin.
There is, of course, a complete range of treatments available, from the basic facials to rejuvenating treatments, prescriptive facials, algae and collagen treatments, peels and non-surgical facelifts.
There is also a whole body range, from waxing and tanning, to slimming, pedicure and, unusually, threading.
Faz's salon at Tony Adem has been open for 4 years and is the latest up-grade in Faz's blossoming career, having already established and successfully run two other salons.
When Faz first moved in there was only an empty shell. With the foresight born of a true entrepreneur, she called in the architects from GM Collin and asked them to design a salon using the space as efficiently as possible. The result is 3 larger-than-usual treatment rooms, a vertical sunbed, shower and toilets. The staff enjoy their own kitchen and rest area, and there is ample storage and a separate fire exit.
Meanwhile, I was enjoying my facial. Within moments of being in Halima's care I felt relaxed and safe. Her firm fingers and sensitive touch made me feel completely reassured that she has a solid and thorough knowledge of physiognomy. She found every muscle group and pressure point, massaged my lines and pinched my jaw until my skin glowed and I felt years younger. It was so fantastic, I was not surprised to find that she has completed a year's full time training in beauty therapy at a recognised college. This autumn, with Faz's blessing, she is returning to college to learn new skills. Uzma, another therapist, who helped with the treatment, was again comprehensively impressive.
I asked Faz how she chooses her staff. "Firstly by their training," she told me. "They must be properly trained."
That much is obvious. Faz herself trained initially at the London College of Fashion, then in Paris and later at the Sheffield College. She often undertakes courses and is constantly updating and improving her knowledge because she believes it is imperative to keep abreast of the latest techniques and technological advances. As her own client list is full, all her staff must be able to meet Faz's own exacting standards. And she makes sure that they do.
Faz also firmly believes that beauty starts on the inside.
"We are what we put inside us," she stresses. "I am not a dietician, but I will explain to clients that a healthy diet, drinking lots of water, eating vegetables and getting plenty of sleep, is extremely important." (Hence the magazines in reception).
She takes another look at my skin and reiterates.
"Your skin is good, but you are very dehydrated. I can give you creams, but you will really help it by drinking more water."
It's this sort of reassurance that makes you think she is looking at the long-term and has her clients' best interests at heart. She explained that she likes them to come to her for two or even three appointments before selling them anything, although she will happily give samples of what she has used on their skin.
"But selling products is such a large part of your income," I exclaimed. Faz agreed. "It would be easy to sell, but to me it is more important to sell the client the right products."
Faz's busy schedule does not preclude family. Faz herself - although you'd never believe it to look at her - is the mother of two teenagers. Her daily routine is exhausting to listen to, yet she has stuck to it for years. She sees the children off to school in the morning, drives to work, leaves the salon at three so that she is there when they come back, then, after giving them their supper, returns to the salon for an evening shift, locks up, and completes the days accounts before finally going home. Her commitment to motherhood has set a precedent and all the staff work shifts, so that they too are free to have a family life.
All this and she has achieved the sort of turnover that would make your eyes water, has a burgeoning client base and is thinking of opening a salon in the West End!
Do I think she'll do it? I have no doubt.
Mini-facial - £20
Super booster rejuvenating facial - £35 (Course of 4 £126)
Prescription facial - £29.50
Peel off treatment - £19.50
Spa body therapy - £23
Waxing (1/2 leg) - £10.50
Electrolysis with Sterex - £60 for ten minutes
Manicure - from £14
Faz Beauty, 1 Winston Way, Ilford, Essex IG1 2RA
Tel: 020 8478 2878 or 020 8553 4453
And you can see Faz's web site at