Dr. Baumann Das Institut

Never heard of Dr. Baumann skincare? Neither. When I think of beauty products from Deutschland, the only brand that comes to mind isDr.Haushka. (Who are all these cosmetics-obsessive German doctors anyway?) Dr. Baumann Das Institut is a new spa in the leafy suburbs of Bryanston. It’s actually on the same property as a house, but that sort of thing doesn’t bother me being that one of my favourite day spas (Verona Day Spa in Houghton) is in a complex.Dr. Baumann Das Institut is apparently the first of its kind, being that Dr. Baumann products are sold all around the world, but there isn’t a skincare institute which exclusively uses the line. I popped in for a 30-minute Indian head massage and came out not really knowing too much about Dr. Baumann. In fact, the only things the therapist told me (she was chatty, but not in that annoying way) is that the whole ethos behind the Dr. Baumann range is that they’re all-natural and very much against animal products and testing, which is something that always piques my interest. The truth is that I would have liked to try a few samples, find out a bit more – do they have masks? – but since none were offered I focused on the relaxing task at hand, my head massage. Insert an Enya CD, put on one of those awkward wrap around towels, wonder for a minute why there is a printer in the room and let’s begin: The therapist started on my shoulders and slowly worked her way up my neck, finishing off with my scalp. She used a combination of apricot and other essential oils (none of which I could smell). I’m not sure if the oils are from the Dr. Baumann range, but I’m going to presume they were. It was a nice massage. Short and sweet. I do think that R350 is a bit steep for half an hour but that said, the warm atmosphere of the spa, even on the phone the staff were genuinely friendly, made the trip worthwhile. I can definitely see all theBryanston ladies making Dr. Baumann Das Institut their hub for LCN manis, waxes, facials and so on. 

Call Dr. Baumann Das Institut on (011) 706 1956 to make an appointment.

L’Ongle Nail Spa

I’m leaving for Paris tonight! I’m a light packer, so thinking of polish, acetone or chipped nails on a business trip is not a possibility. I decided to try a long-lasting Shellac manicure for the first time, and headed to L’Ongle Nail Spa in Melrose Arch. (It was that or Sorbet, and my last experience at the Hyde Park location left me limping with four ingrown toe nails. Ouch!) L’Ongle looks modern with its mahogany desks, comfy white leather chairs, matching porcelain bowls and two flatscreen TVs. I went in thinking chic, short black nails… but they were out of stock in both Shellac(and Gelish). I picked a deep purple instead called Dark Dahlia that, after three coats, looks black-ish. The process of choosing a polish took ages because unlike regular Essie or OPI, these bottles are opaque and you have to open them to see what colour is inside. It was frustrating, being presented a very big, messy tray of dirty, dripping, sticky bottles and the manicurist not really knowing what was what. It probably took an extra 10 minutes just opening up bottles.

My manicurist wasn’t very friendly, so I loved being able to watch E! Entertainment while getting my nails done as I am a little bit of a workaholic and watching paint dry is as boring as it sounds. It was also nice to have something to do when she decided to take apart and start sterilising the light machine. **And back at Giuliana and Bill’s house…** It was a strange experience, my therapist kept getting up and disappearing without saying anything. I only realised out that she was blowing her nose in the bathroom towards the end of my treatment when she started making gurgling sounds and sniffing noises. The weirdest part of the manicure was when she started talking to another L’Ongle lady after picking up the CND Shellac topcoat. I asked a few times what was going on – they seemed angry – to no response whatsoever. It was another awkward moment… but hey, at least my nails look nice? I’m not sure if I will head back to L’Ongle. I love the design and location, but it’s also nice to feel like you’re being pampered instead of like a robot who just happens to have human hands. (Side note: I did notice L’Ongle Nail Spa stocks some covetable beauty buys likeToy South Africa, Moroccanoil and international OPI collections.)

Shellac manicures at L’Ongle cost R275. You can find the rest of the price list online here.

Enmasse Thai Spa

If you’ve been to Thailand, chances are that you ended up having a massage or two. Not only are they ridiculously cheap, every second place on the main street (especially in the more tourist-friendly locations) is a massage parlour. I have a friend who went to study Thai massage in Bangkok who told me that the massages in those places have been commercialised for the Western visitors. Thai massages don’t use any oil. It’s more about pressure points and the masseuse using all their limbs to give your muscles a good jab.

Enmasse in Illovo stays true to the traditional style of Thai massage. Not only are you massaged fully clothed – they provide you with white cotton pants and shirts – the massagers (is that even aword?) don’t use any oil. I bought myself a 3-for-2 voucher at Enmasse when they were having a special last year. My first Thai massage was awful. The lady had ice-cold hands and feet, it hurt a lot and she kept coughing on me. The truth is I really wanted to get up and leave halfway. I also didn’t like the fact that people could walk past and see you being massaged. The second time I booked reflexology. I didn’t have to change and they used oil and it was a better experience.

I haven’t booked number three yet. I’m not sure whether I want to to risk the Thai massage again with a different masseuse. Enmasse, on the other hand, is beautifully designed and may manage to woo you on its look alone. It’s minimalist, dark blue and a perfectly zen environment. They also have special tea mixes as well which you can treat yourself to after.

Enmasse is open 7 days a week from 8AM to 10PM. Find out more here or call them on 0118803020.