BEAUTY Get to see your scalp up close and personal at the Oryza Spa

It was like something out of the X Files. The monitor on the spanking white counter to my right showed a vast expanse of pink, with serrated seaweeds sticking out in a woefully sparse fashion. I turned a terrified look on the consultant Sanjana, who hastened to reassure me that all was not as dire as it looked. My scalp was dry, some damage had occurred after years of glopping colour on my hapless strands but all was not lost. Kerastase was going to come to the rescue.

The Oryza Day Spa on Lavelle Road is a plushly done up place, all soothing ambience, pristine white-on-tan colour scheme and smiling staff. It is backed by two veterans in the beauty business; first, owner Lata Mohan of Bounce and Kanya, who has proved the worth of her spas and salons in Chennai as well as Bangalore many times over, and second, the Kerastase brand of products for hair.

The spa is named Oryza after a variety of wild rice, which is used in many of the body and face treatments in-house.

This the only place in this city to retail Kerastase products. For those with perpetual good hair days, Kerastase is to misbehaving hair what magic elixir is to youth. This French brand offers an array of heavy duty products, gels, creams, shampoos, serums, to tame the most recalcitrant strand, make it gleam like it has just caught sight of Imran Khan and behave like a decently brought up Indian belle.

After my head is examined minutely, the consultant draws up a detailed nourishment programme for me. This involves Rebalancing of the hair (better experience than explained, I assure you), Bathe, which is about finding the right shampoo for the elaborate rinsing procedure, the nourishing “Treat” which is basically the appropriate mask, Revitalisation for hair drastically damaged (and no, I’m thankful to report I hadn’t reached that stage yet) and finally, Texturisation, which is conditioning your thoroughly pampered hair to such an extent, it thinks it has died and gone to hair heaven.

My therapist is quiet and efficient, using firm strokes to coax my hair into a submissive state before giving it alternate heat and cold treatments, both with iced and heated hand-held contraptions before putting my head under a machine which kind of takes one back to the days of the 80s Hollywood hit film “Shampoo”. The side treats are a shoulder massage and another one, reflexology this time, for the feet.

Being the curious kind, I ask questions and am told that Oryza is a unisex salon and frequented by regulars of the male species, too. I’m also told that sometimes our Bangalore hunks ask for female therapists for their body massages, which of course, is strictly a no-no at Oryza. Would I like a blow dry for the full effect to be on show? I think for a bit, then demur. I want my Kersatase-d hair to dry naturally, retain its new improved look the au naturel way. What can I say…the French always deliver on their beauty promises. This time was no different.

Oryza offers a wide range of Balinese and Thai therapies, hot stone treatments, Turkish Bath, body treatments (their Strawberry Back Facials are a big hit), wraps, facials, hot and cold infusions to stimulate the skin, but my money is on the different Kerastase-backed hair treatments...you know, crowning glory and all that. The treatments don’t come cheap (Rs. 2,300 for the Nourishing one I took) but as an occasional treat, it’s hard to beat.

SHEILA KUMAR

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