Products for spas, massage centers, spas. Disposable vs reusable.

Caractére Paris produces and distributes a wide range of products dedicated to the needs of health centers, spas, hairdressers…
Mainly, there are two kinds of products, disposable / semi-resistant and reusable. Disposable products are made of non-woven fabric, and those that are durable are made from microfiber, both made with the best technology available on the market.

 

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Disposable linen for massages: Ideal for massages that use oil or mud, and situations where it is often necessary to use disposable products, since these types of products are very difficult to eliminate. For this reason, Caractere proposes an economic fabric, ultra soft and absorbent, with a mixed composition. Particularly adapted for Ayurvedic massages, in which large quantities of oils are used.

 

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Microfiber Towels: The microfiber absorbs up to 4 times more than cotton, is softer than it, and it takes up less space. It requires a simple washing (without bleach or softeners), it dries faster than cotton. Available in different sizes.

 

 

Disposable Towel vs. Durable Microfiber Towel Caractere Paris
The first and most important difference between these two products is that one does not need to be washed and ironed and the other requires thorough washing. While in some cases the disposable towel is necessary, in others it is possible to choose between the two types of product. The main advantage of the disposable towel is that you’ll be able to ensure that the product will only be used by an individual, while for the latter the advantage is in the immediate savings, since you do not have to repurchase. Another advantage that the durable microfiber towel is the feeling of softness.
We offer both possibilities, but also a mid-point: absorbtex bathrobe, semi-durable, honeycomb fabric, elegant and highly absorbent.

 

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Absortex- A unique and original fabric found only in Caractere: Absortex fabric is completely natural, 100% degradable. Caractere produces this fabric with a honeycomb texture, also known as “waffle”. Our bathrobes are durable and elegant. They stay well for the period of one week.

 

 

 

We offer samples and free quotations, so if you’re interested don’t hesitate to call (+44 (0) 20 3608 1542) and/or e-mail us (info@caractere-paris.com) and we’ll get back to you asap!

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2 important reasons why…

There are many, many reasons why hotels, spas and other establishments should decide to use disposable linen over resuable ones. In the following blog post, we’ll see 2 very important reasons:

Safety Reason:

bc21I recently came across an article online, in which they explained how the fire service was giving a warning amid a spate of fires caused by putting several items such as towels and robes inside a tumble dryer. These items had traces of oils on them, from using the them on clients or employees, which combined with the heat, set them on fire.

This is happening in dry cleaning businesses, spas, hotels,etc.

One of the most recent cases was in a restaurant where employees were washing their aprons and other linens that had traces of cooking oil on them. Once they were placed in the dryer, the fire erupted.

There´s almost no safe way around this problem, seeing as how if you choose to wash them with low heat the oil stays on the linen, and if you dry them in high temperatures, they catch on fire.

This is a great example of why it’s safer, easier and not to mention more hygienic to use disposable linen; with them, once used you can just throw them out and avoid any problems with the cleaning.

Hygienic Reason:

“What DOESN’T get cleaned often, and are usually recycled from guest to guest, are bedsheets; pillows; blankets; and, of course, window curtains. Also, most housekeepers won’tclean change out a linen that wasn’t used. So that bathroom towel could have been there for weeks.”

This is a direct quote found online by an ex-housekeeper that wishses to remain anonymous.

Yes, you read correctly. The linen in certain hotel rooms don´t necessarily get cleaned and/or changed as often as one would think. Granted, the hotel where this housekeeper worked was relatively small, but, there’s really no valid excuse.

Imagine one day a health inspector decides to pop-up in a hotel and checks on a random room, where unfortunately the bedsheets haven´t been washed or changed. This would be terrible for the hotel and it’s something that can be easily avoided. The solution to this being disposable bed linen; once it´s been used you can easily recycle it.

In caractere, we have a product called Disposable mattress protectors, which if you put a bed sheet on top, doesn´t have to be changed in a few months. This is thanks to the material it’s made out of, making it waterproof and doesn´t allow any hairs or stains to get stuck on it.

Disposable Underwear Usage in Spas

g-stringPrimarily, any spa or salon treatment a client undergoes should be relaxing. Every aspect of a spa environment has been expertly designed to promote this feeling; from the music to the aromas, from the soft lighting to the quality products available. Staff are presented in a sleek and uncomplicated manner and refreshments are offered regularly.

All these things contribute to an all-round feeling of calm. Many spa treatments will require the client to be undressed for optimum results. Whether during a massage or spray tan clothing can pose a problem. Of course you offer your clients high quality, natural fibre robes and slippers but what lies beneath?

As well as inhibiting the efficacy of the treatment, any clothing which remains is at risk of being stained or damaged by the products in use. Tanning solutions and massage oils are notoriously difficult to remove from fabrics, especially those delicate ones used in underwear.

Aside from this we understand that it is both daunting and uncomfortable for a client to have their intimate areas exposed, this can make them feel extremely vulnerable. Of course there is also the question of hygiene to consider, these areas will come into contact with many surfaces throughout your salon or spa which can be troublesome to sterilise.

We therefore recommend the use of disposable underwear for both men and women.

disposable Men's G-string

disposable Men’s G-string

The most modern versions of which are perfect for use in the spa area and can of course be disposed of following treatment. Men’s g-strings and women’s disposable panties or g-strings can be offered discreetly to clients before they enter the changing area.

Many high-end establishments chose to avoid disposable underwear but still provide options for clients to prevent their own clothing from being damaged and again, to protect modesty. Top quality spandex bikini sets or massage briefs may be handed to guests for use in the circumstances, an added extra to their exclusive services.Spare 2-Piece Bikini for massage

Legionellosis or Legionnaire’s Disease in Spa and wellness centre

Are you the owner or manager of a spa, hot tub or pool, or do you provide showers and air conditioning for your clients? Make sure you are fully aware of the dangers of legionnaire’s disease and the risks to your clients, and understand what your legal obligations are.

What exactly is Legionnaire’s Disease?

legionella

Legionnaire’s disease is a serious disease caused by a tiny aquatic organism which thrives in warm, damp environments. It can be inhaled in fine droplets, leading to pneumonia and a high fever. As the disease takes up to 10 days to develop many other people may be infected before it is realised that anything is amiss. Air conditioning systems, humidifiers, nebulisers, ornamental fountains and many other types of equipment containing water may also be sources of legionnaire’s disease.

How can it be prevented?

 

A spare swimsuit for pool to keep the pool clean.

Because of its long incubation period an outbreak is easier to prevent than to control and there are strict regulations in place to safeguard public health. The essential feature is a controlled system of regular testing and keeping water systems clean. Although legionella bacteria can be found in many sources, including fresh water, it becomes dangerous when slime is allowed to develop and when the temperature reaches 35-45 degrees centigrade.

What are my legal obligations?

According to www.hse.gov.uk, under general Health and Safety law you are obliged to maintain your water systems in good condition and assess the risk of a problem developing. This means drawing up a risk assessment, identifying potential sources of legionnaire’s disease and preparing a course of action to monitor that risk. You must keep accurate records and be able to prove you are taking your responsibilities seriously.

The Notification of Cooling Towers and Evaporative Condensers Regulations state that if you have a cooling tower or evaporative condenser on site you must notify the local authority in writing. Contact your local Environmental Health department.

 

What should I do on a daily basis?

disposable flip flop for pool and spa

If you employ five people or more, you must have a written risk assessment and keep careful records of your monitoring of the water system. Make sure you have a responsible person do this and that all your staff know the correct way to use equipment.

Keep the system and the water clean, and avoid a situation where an outbreak could develop. Keep the water too hot for the bacteria to survive or add an antibacterial solution to prevent growth.

Consider employing a firm of consultants to check your supply.

How to Avoid Plantar Warts and Athlete’s Foot with Easy, Elegant Salon and Spa Hygienic Slipper Prevention Solutions

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A Severe Plantar Wart

Plantar Warts (Verruca Plantaris) and Athlete’s Foot (Trichophyton foot fungus) are two nasty buggers that arise from time to time on the floors of even the most luxurious salons, fitness centres and spas. Both can cause pain, itching, discomfort and embarrassment for their unwilling hosts, and can last quite a wide range of time, from a few days to months or even years when left untreated or improperly treated. Once clients become infected with these diseases, they can ruin the reputation of a business, especially in this day and age of word of mouth testimonials and online customer reviews. Even if your salon adheres to the highest standards of cleanliness and hygiene, disinfecting your floors on a daily basis can be impossible and/or prove ineffective in preventing the spread of these two insidious bugs. Why jeopardise your business and risk law suits when a few easy steps can mean total protection, both for your clients and you, not to mention the ease of mind that will come in knowing that a relaxing day at the spa doesn’t have to turn into a nightmare for your guests.

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A more mild case of a Plantar Wart

First, if you’ve never heard of or had a case of Plantar Warts, consider yourself lucky! The warts, which are also considered benign epithelial tumours, are caused by a highly infectious form of the human papillomavirus that spreads easily on wet surfaces, such as the floors of lockerrooms, baths, showers, pool decks, spas, salons, hot tubs and other spaces with frequent water exposure and/or high foot traffic. It is estimated that up to ten percent of the general population is infected with the warts at any given time. Thanks to HPV’s high resilience and contagiousness, it can survive many months on a surface without the need for a host, making it a pesky challenge to conquer, especially in large salons or ones with intricate tilework that can prove hard (if not impossible) to clean.

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A Cluster of Plantar Warts

These painful warts transfer under the skin surface through direct contact with microscopic cuts and abrasions, often invisible to the naked eye. They often take weeks or months to appear visibly, usually located on the bottom surface of feet, such on as the underside of the toe or sole. They can cause pain, itchiness and irritation, which is driven deeper and deeper into the foot due to the pressure exerted on the surface of the foot from walking. To cure the warts, one may apply adhesive such as duct tape to “suffocate” them, use various acids to remove the top layer of skin, or seek expensive laser treatments.

In severe cases, if left untreated, the warts can spread into groups called mosaic warts and become extremely painful, requiring surgical removal through liquid nitrogen application or cauterisation, and for the victim to be hospitalised! The side effects of this sort of treatment usually include scaring and sometimes trouble walking. Studies have shown that even in mild cases, the form of treatment does not make much of a difference in healing time. Therefore, the best cure is prevention, which according to Wikipedia,

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Surgically removed Plantar Wart

Because plantar warts are spread by contact with moist walking surfaces, they can be prevented by not walking barefoot in public areas such as showers or communal changing rooms (wearing flip flops or sandals helps), not sharing shoes and socks, and avoiding direct contact with warts on other parts of the body or on other people. Humans build immunity with age, so infection is less common among adults than children.

The British National Health Service even recommends taking the following precautions:

  • cover them with an adhesive bandage while swimming,
  • wear flip-flops when using communal showers,
  • and should not share towels.
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Athlete’s Foot

Second, Athlete’s Foot constitutes another, often more common, but fortunately less severe problem for clients who frequent establishments with wet surfaces. Known as Ringworm of the foot, Athlete’s Foot is in fact a fungus that can cause scaling, flaking, dryness and itchiness in the infected area, again often the result of walking barefoot in moist or damp areas. It can also be transferred through the sharing of towels, shoes, socks or other footwear, especially if it has not been properly washed or disinfected between users. Though it generally affects the underside of feet, it can also spread all over the body, including to the person’s genitals. It is an opportunistic disease, meaning it can privilege the cross infection of other diseases, which then require oral antibiotics to resolve. Those with delicate immune systems may also experience the so-called “id reaction,” which manifests itself with blisters that cover the entire body. Pain, swelling, inflammation and scaring as a result of itching can also be counted among the possible symptoms.

from Caractère Paris

Athlete’s Foot Side View

Careful visual inspection of the skin will determine whether such an infection is Athlete’s Foot or a similar skin disease, such as eczema or psoriasis, and the appropriate course of treatment. Unlike with the infamous warts, Athlete’s Foot has several possible cures. First, because the fungi thrive in moist, warm areas, it is important to ensure the feet remain as dry and cool as possible. About a third of cases will solve themselves with the appropriate hygiene measures.

playa slippers

Topical treatments such as talcum powder and diaper rash ointments may also be applied to speed the recovery of mild cases. Pharmacies also offer a variety of medicated anti-fungal creams and oral medications for extreme cases, but again, physicians caution that most incidents will solve themselves with the appropriate hygiene measures taken. Natural treatments, such as Tea Tree Oil and Ajoene may also prove useful, but little research has been done in this area.

from Caractère Paris

Black Slippers

Regardless of the severity of Plantar Warts and Athlete’s Foot, the best treatment method is of course prevention. That’s why at Caractère, we make a variety of disposable slipper and sandal solutions to prevent the spread of infections on the floors of salons, saunas, showers, locker rooms, changing areas, baths, pools, hot tubs, spas, etc.

For perfect hygiene and the ultimate protection of your clientele (not to mention your business investment), try our disposable, recyclable solutions, and discover the reason why we’re the buzz of the most luxurious hotels of Paris, the world capital of luxury, fashion and design.

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Flip flip to keep foot clean

Recycling and Respect for the Environment Surge in the Hotel Industry: Three Simple Ways to Save Money and Earn the Respect of Guests

In the cutthroat hotel industry, price and the bottom line often trump other concerns, especially those for the environment. However, must it be this way? With three innovative and brilliant ideas, industry leaders such as Travelodge, the Crown Spa Hotel and the Accor Group are showing how changes from the smallest detail (light bulbs) to more major ones (construction materials) can both make a world of difference and save unbelievable amounts of money. Now, both Mother Nature and your bank account can smile at the same time!

Starting from Scratch with Recycled Building Materials

 

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Uxbridge Container Hotel

First, the hotel’s construction can be rethought of as a method of recycling. Sushil Cheema of The Wall Street Journal reported at the end of 2008 about a new innovation in hotel building design: the first hotel ever built in the UK entirely out of former shipping containers. While most people cannot imagine spending a night inside of an empty tin box, Travelodge found a method to renovate the containers in Shenzen, China (their place of origin), ship them halfway around the world and assemble them together in a solid structure in Uxbridge, a suburb of London. Instead of the roughly fifteen month to two year construction period that a traditional hotel of this size would take, the company managed to finish the project in a matter of four months, including the time it took to pour the foundation. Once the site was ready, it only took 20 days to piece together the 86 containers into a coherent design. A spokesman for Travelodge, Greg Dawson, commented that this new method eases concerns about disturbing the surrounding area during construction. With pre-fabricated units, the contractor, Verbus Systems, just snapped them together “like giant Lego blocks,” without interrupting shoppers at the nearby high street.

 

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Interior of the Container Hotel

Despite the fact that the company accomplished major savings by choosing this unconventional building method, they can charge the same prices for rooms as at any other location, and eco-friendly or design engaged tourists may flock to the site just to learn more about how it was built. For Travelodge, which plans to open a new hotel in the UK once a week for the next ten years, the shipping container idea will help the chain achieve its growth targets without worry. Uxbridge’s location was nothing more than a test site: the company completed a similar project at Heathrow Airport later that year.

Read more about the “Hotel Made of Shipping Containers Opens in England,” at http://blogs.wsj.com/developments/2008/08/27/hotel-made-of-shipping-containers-opens-in-england/
For an interesting collection of pictures of container re-use, see http://xhadong.wordpress.com/

Together, Several Small Changes Can Go Quite a Long Way

Second, if your establishlment is already built, don’t fret, because it’s not too late! Adapting exisiting buildings and their infrastructure to new developments in the energy and appliance industries can lead to profound changes in the site’s energy use – and deep savings for your pocketbook! Managers have found that many guests tend to leave the lights or a TV on when they leave the room in order to feel more welcomed when they return. Even more guests forget to turn off the heat or air conditioning when they check out, augmenting energy bills to acclimate an empty room. EnjoyEngland.com, in partnership with The Telegraph, points out that Scarborough’s Crown Spa Hotel has retrofitted its 116 rooms and suites with an automatic switch that turns off non-essential lights and appliances the moment one leaves the room. Of course this change took some initial investment, but even simple changes at the four star establishment — like replacing conventional light bulbs with LED lights in parts of the building — have provided incredible energy savings. In fact, starting in 2011, the hotel will see a quarter of a million pound (£250,000) reduction per year on its annual energy bill.

 

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Crown Spa Hotel

Aside from energy savings, the hotel also started collecting rain water from the roof to wash its linens and flush toilets, began composting kitchen waste and switched to a wood-burning stove to heat the lobby. The staff has been told to turn off computers and lights while on break or lunch, and the caretakers added a special, non-toxic, heat-insulating chemical to the pool to reduce overnight cooling. After this series of little changes, the hotel has already seen dramatic cuts in CO2 emissions, and aims to halve its emissions by 2015. The hotel’s administrative director, David Frank, commented he’s an “evangelical ‘greenie’ and [that he’s] proud to be one… We don’t ram our message down people’s throats but sustainability is efficiency and it makes good economic and business sense to think about sustainability.”

Read more about “The Crown Spa Hotel’s green credentials impressed the Enjoy England judges enough to pick up the Sustainable Tourism Award,” at http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sponsored/travel/enjoy_england_trips/7658371/Enjoy-England-The-Crown-Spa-Hotel.html

Special Events to Transform Consumer Consciousness, Brand Perception and the World’s Quality of Life

Starting this Friday, the Accor Group of hotels will innaugurate the fifth edition of its annual Earth Guest Day. David Woods of HR Magazine writes that the holiday was created in 2006 with eight guiding principles:

  • Contributing to local development
  • Fighting against epidemics
  • Promoting balanced food
  • Managing energy consumption
  • Conserving water
  • Producing less waste
  • Protecting biodiversity

Locations and staff across the 90 countries with Accor locations, including the 160 hotels in the UK, will celebrate the occassion with a series of events, such as tree plantings in parks, gardens, schools and other public areas across the country to bring attention to its Fruits for the Children campaign, a partnership between the charity Plan UK and Accor’s Plant for the Planet foundation. The goals of this particular campaign include the following:

Fruits for Children is a project to improve the nutrition of 4,000 school children from 8 schools in the Machakos district of Kenya through planting fruit trees to provide a steady year-round supply of nutritious fruits to improve their diet. The project also aims to develop children’s knowledge of their environment, and their skills and techniques in fruit production, improving their standards of living as the acquired skills are transferred to their families and communities. The trees also help to reduce the problem of soil erosion and the fruits produced provide a source of income for the participating schools.

 

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An Accor Ibis Hotel

Through the previous years’ efforts, Accor already raised more than £100,000 in the UK for Fruits for the Children. Plant for the Planet dates from 2009, a program instituted by the chain’s headquarters to finance the replanting of depleted forests worldwide. Thus far, over 1.7 million trees have been planted, with the UK Accor locations financing the planting of 30,000 trees in 2010 alone. The system is rather simple, but will leave a lasting impression on the plant, animal species and families who call these forests home, in addition to removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Every five times guests reuse a bath towel without requiring its wash, the company vows to plant a tree. The goal for 2011 in the UK is an astounding 50,000 trees, nearly twice as many as last year.

Read more about “Accor Hotel Group employees gear up for global environmental initiative,” at http://www.hrmagazine.co.uk/hro/news/1019312/accor-hotel-group-employees-gear-global-environmental-initiative

Lessons Learned

As you can see, everything from minute changes in supplies or practices to ways to rethink construction methods can reduce a hotel’s environmental impact, in addition to the charges it must pay. At Caractère, we celebrate the efforts of the hotel industry to reduce its environmental impact by guaranteeing that all of our products, such as the famous bed mattress covers, sanitary headphone covers, and salon products like sandals; are reusable, recyclable or biodegradable. We design our products with ecological pricipals in mind so they are manufactured out of mostly plant-based materials with a minimal amount of chemical treatments and dyes.

In addition, over the coming months, we aim to reduce our carbon footprint by relocating our offices to a location much closer to our shipping providers, and also easier for our staff to make the commute via mass transit. The world is constantly evolving, and just like you, we care about the envionment too!

From the Involucrum to the Kimono Gown and Cape: A History of the Barber Shop and Hair Styling Professions

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Ancient Roman Ornatrix

In ancient Rome, just as in the ancient civilisation of Mesopotamia, baths and bodycare were an essential component of daily life. Sanitation was important enough for rulers to install public toilets and sewers, in order to avoid dirtiness in the streets and the spread of disease. Both the number and variety of beauty and hygiene-related professions flourished, predecessors to today’s hair stylists and make up artists in salons and spas. Rich, noble families and Senators had the means to hire personal barbers who lived with them in the decadent private villas of Rome and worked directly with their clients on a daily basis, or as often as required. Female stylists were kept busy, with the sole purpose of caring for the lady of the household, without any break or time to care for themselves. These domestic beauticians, called Ornatrix in Latin, also took care of the household and bathrooms, and created hair arrangements with the help of copper-based mirrors, primitive combs and fibulae brooches.

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Ornatrix statue in the Carthage Museum, Tunisia

Far from being a privilege reserved for the few wealthy classes, many more Romans sought their grooming in public barbershops, either inside a dedicated building or out on the street corner. These workers distinguished themselves with specially designed haircut gowns. They were mostly preoccupied by the care of men, whose beards required weekly attention. Aside from the basic format of the service, the functional aspects of aesthetic care were important. Often, only a single seat was available in the neighbourhood Botteca Tonsor, or barber shop. This gave the client the hair dresser’s full, undivided attention during sessions. Early versions of mirrors, different sizes of scissors, statues and paintings on the walls provided the client with ideas of styles from which to choose. For the customer’s comfort, more luxurious shops provided towels or protective cape-like covers, called Involucrum, but this was a relatively uncommon practice.

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Ornatrix from Pompei

In addition to the simple purpose of hair salon, the Tonsor also operated as it still does today in many countries of the Middle East and Asia, as a sort of general physician/practician, herbalist, nutritionist, psychologist and private consultant. Even today, as in ancient Rome, the barber was responsible for taking care of a variety of important rituals that marked the milestones of a person’s life. These ranged from “shaving the first offering to the gods” (circumcision), to the application of disinfecting creams and lotions to kill fleas and ticks, to treating the client with leeches for bloodletting, considered for centuries the best remedy to every illness. Above all, the barber shop was (and remains in some capacity today) a social place where the latest news and gossip were shared, where people shared their personal problems and where important decisions were made. What’s more, they served as a host for vibrant political discussions and helped people come to agreements.

Culturally, there is an abundance of well-known examples (that is, of course aside from the Barber of Seville), such as the classic novel ‘Moustache‘ by Tahsin Yucel, considered one of the greatest Turkish writers of the Twentieth Century. It describes the changes in society from the perspective of a barber shop in a small village of Anatolia. On the other hand, the hair stylist’s role in literature has remained a central part of Italian culture. Toward the end of the Roman empire, the satirical story Martial and Juvenal (Marziale e Giovenale in the original language), focused on those obsessed with hair styles, those lazy ones stuck “between the mirror and comb” (Martial).

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Frontispiece Depicting Juvenal and Persius

The stories are numerous enough to give specific information on the trends and styles instituted under the emperor. Dyed hair wigs imported from the Indian provinces became a popular style. Although hair styling tools from the Roman period have been impossible to preserve until today because they were usually made of iron and subsequently destroyed by rust, there are many directions for the beard cutting process and style left by Etruscan, still well preserved to this day in bronze reliefs. During the Middle Ages, the barber’s shop became a learning place for surgery, according to the teachings of Hippocrates, Galen (Galeno) and Avicenna.

Today, the single sex, community barber has virtually disappeared, replaced over the last century by commercial, unisex hair salons and spas. At the same time, in recent years there seems to be a recovery of some neighbourhood community barber shops. While the size, health standards and hygiene have evolved rapidly, and new services are offered such as massage sessions, facials, manicures and pedicures; today’s beauty salons have reincorporated many of the same wellness and health services that were common two thousand years ago.

Caractère offers a variety of products, some even inspired by the early concept of the Involucrum, including protective gowns, kimonos, capes, supplies for hairdressers, massage wear, sauna products and much more…