Hairdressers!: What annoys you most about your clients.

This goes out to all the hairdressers, you really deserve a reward…

You do your best to always maintain your good mood and a smile with all your clients, but alas, sometimes it’s impossible!
We interviewed some hairdressers, asking them what it is that irritates them the most about their clients. Here are some of their funny confessions:

The ones that are always late: this is by far your worst client. When they finally arrive, half an hour later (IF they arrive),they act as if nothing had happened by saying “Aaaah, finally I can get my hair done. Well … shall we start?!”.

The impossible challenge: “You are such a magician. You can do everything, I’m sure.” And they proceed to ask you to give them a style in one hour, which they say in a magazine which took half a day to do (and so many days of practicing it). Obviously, it’s a fail, and when they see the result, the client is quick to make bring your reputation to the floor.

giphy (9)
The ones with no shame: “Helloo, darling! Wait a moment … Can you can turn off that hair dryer? I can’t hear anything. Some of us are trying to work here! “.


The torture: Eating a pizza or a hamburger while you are doing their hair and you have not eaten since 8 in the morning. Youtry telling them that the ketchup will catch on the flyaways, but they don’t quite get the memo.


Shameless liars: After having massacred their own hair, your client launches a “This fringe, never in my life would I touch it”, “I think it is the formulation of my new shampoo is giving me weird undertones” or even “It was my friend Nancy, who suggested I put in 1 or 2 extensions.

giphy-downsized-large
Creepy crawlers: The dreadful moment when you see little insects running wild on the cute little blondes head. And when you discreetly talk about it to their mother, she asks you what you learnt at school, if didn’t know how to deal with this ‘small’ problem: “Then ehat are all these combs used for? “. Well ma’am, certainly not what you’re suggesting.


The naive ones: The customers who quietly announce that they have a stomach problems and who, instead of staying at home, come to share the consequences.


The witness: The husband of the client, in the process of divorce, asks you to testify before the judge because he’s convinced that his wife confessed some of her secrets on multiple occasions. “Her therapist can not testify because he’s a real professional and he’s under medical secrecy, you know.”


What about you? There’s no doubt you have an anecdote or two to share: feel free to add them as comments. We’d love to hear about them!

And to avoid certain inconveniences, Character Coif’hygiene manufactures products that improve the hygiene of the hairdressing world:
– disposable towel. Grand Hygiene Award at MCB
– the coloring cape
the disposable bathrobe
the disinfectant wipe …

Find our products on coifhygiene.com
Do not hesitate to contact us +44 (0) 20 3608 1542 we will be happy to answer your questions and help you with your choices!

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.

 

l_sabana_bano_esponja

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.

 

Vs

 

5692414729_1baf483a53_o

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.

 

peignoir_nid_abeille

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!

“Oh no! I forgot to bring my bathing suit”…

When you go on vacation, the 2 of the most important things you have on your mind is relaxing and having a good time. For many people this translates into participating in a fun activity such as swimming.

Now, you may be thinking that most guests come with their own bathing suits, but the truth is that they seem to forget them more often than we would assume. Whether it’s because it just slipped their mind or because it’s been misplaced or broken, imagine the gratitude they’ll feel when they find out that the hotel they stay carries bathing suits. It adds to the services of the hotel.
Another very common reason behind the guests needing a bathing suit, is because if they choose to go on vacation during the winter season, they most likely weren’t thinking about going swimming. It’s a real shame when they can’t enjoy the pool (if your hotel has an indoor pool).

l_maillots
At Caractere, we have produced our line of Disposable bathing suits, and no, you’re not supposed to throw them away (you can recycle them) after just one use, they can last months if they’re properly taken care of, but if they are washed too many times it can start to stretch too much.
We have 4 different styles: 2 for women (bikini and one-piece) and 2 for men (boxer-cut shorts and stretchy brief-style shorts). All in black, as we think it’s the most versatile and fashionable color. Lined with a comfortable, protective layer of soft white mesh fabric in the crotch area and inside the supported cups, the bust size generally corresponds to the size of the suit: A-B for Small, C-D for Medium, etc., but the cut is generous enough to allow a wide range of users to feel comfortable.
The padded bra section offers complete discretion even when wet, and the elastic waist area ensures that these swimsuits will flatter your guests with a lovely silhouette.
And the best thing? We have all sizes available from XS (extra small) to XXL (extra extra large).

It might not seem like the most imporant thing, but it’s surely a detail that your guests will really appreciate and rave about, as nowdays only the most expensive and luxurious hotels offer this option.

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.

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

from Caractère Paris

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.

from Caractère Paris

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.

from Caractère Paris

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,

from Caractère Paris

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.
from Caractère Paris

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.

uk colour flip flop

Flip flip to keep foot clean

Vakker og Fredelig, Fjorder i Norge: Hiking Norway’s Fjords in Comfort and Style

from Caractère Paris

A Cruiseship in Molde, Romsdal

The coasts of the Scandinavian countries, and those of Norway in particular, are world renown for their spectacular fjords and incomparable views. More often than not, visitors opt to experience their magnificence from below, either on coastline cruise boats or in small canoes. However, as experienced hiker Bill Russell points out, taking “hikes into the surrounding mountains… really provides the visitor the fullest opportunity to experience the beauty and culture of the area in a special way not available by boats alone… it’s a glorious experience viewing the fjords from above.” In fact, he goes as far as to say, “Fjord hiking is the experience of a lifetime.” With over 15,000 miles of coastline and thousands of fjords, fortunately one could never run out of new sites to explore.

from Caractère Paris

Meloyfjord Sunset from Amnes

Sounds intriguing, no? If unfamiliar, you might be wondering what a fjord is exactly and about the origin of their funny name. The word “fjord” comes from Indo-European origins, with fara meaning travelling or ferrying. The Old Norse adaptation of this verb, fjǫrðr (or fjord) indicates a body of water that resembles a lake, often used for cruise and ferry ship transit. In geological terms, the name defines a lengthy, thin inlet surrounded by cliffs of steep hills or mountains. Fjords were created thanks to thousands of years of glacial melting since the last ice age. In fact, as the glaciers melted, through the abrasive pressure exerted by their weight on the land below the ice, the glaciers carved out deep tunnels. After they melted, these tunnels eventually became submerged by the sea. At the same time, this intense pressure pushed the surrounding land upward, creating the picturesque views that enthuse many a traveller to visit Norway today.

from Caractère Paris

Bergen from the Fløibanen Funicular

Often, hikers begin their voyages in Bergen, considered by many one of the world’s most beautiful cities and the “gateway to the fjord country.” Rich in an elegant mix of classic Norwegian style and the new minimalist Scan school of architecture, with plenty of cultural institutions, Norway’s second largest city has enough to offer on its own to be worth a visit. However, it’s the city’s proximity to the fjords that interests most tourists.

from Caractère Paris

Sognefjord, Norway, just outside of Bergen

Given the mountainous terrain, one can expect to travel an average of five to eight miles (11-18 km) per day. Waterfalls, rolling streams and quaint cabins line the journey. From Bergen, one can reach Sognefjord in a day, the world’s third longest fjord (the longest in Norway) at 203 km (136 mi) and the second deepest (again, the record holder for Norway) at 1,308 m (4,291 ft). The surrounding  mountains rise another 1,000 metres (3,281 miles), providing unrivalled views of the coast from every perspective. However, don’t let what sounds like a steep incline intimidate you — there are hiking paths available for every fitness level, from the professional to the amateur.

from Caractère Paris

Geirangerfjord, Norway

Further north along the coast, the Atlantic road continues along some of the country’s most beautiful and lesser known fjords. The Troll’s Road, Trollstigen, was a feat of modern engineering when constructed. It cuts directly into the Andalsnes mountain with hairpin turns, surrounded by waterfalls that have been described as “simply breathtaking.” Trollstigen leads to Geiranger, where many view the remarkable Geirangfjord from boat. Experienced travellers boast that the best vistas are from the trails north of Hellyslt. While in the area, the neighbouring Strynevatnet Lake contains gorgeous waters of a unique turquoise colour that cannot be found elsewhere. Also, the peaceful rural town of Hjelle serves as a perfect point to stop and rest.

from Caractère Paris

Sørfjord and Lofthus in Hardanger

One cannot go wrong by continuing along the Panorama Road, which wraps around the Gamle Strynefellsvegen fjord a third of a mile above sea level with stunningly picturesque views. Not to miss: the Kjenndal, Loen, Olden and Briksdal Glaciers. The nearby Saebo and Hjorundfjord sport some of the most remarkable views in all of Norway. With an extremely steep incline (nearly vertical), one is left with the feeling of floating on top of the world. The Highway 60 that passes by Geirangerfjord and Sunnylvsfjord sports what has the reputation of “one of the best vista spots in Norway.” Vinnufossen, in the neighbouring region of Sunndalsora, is the sixth tallest waterfall in the world. The gorgeous, protected Amotan Park will help visitors reconnect with nature, in addition to offering more scenic valleys with impressive waterfalls and a highly recommended hiking trail, the Trodalen.

from Caractère Paris

Stigen Farm, Aurlandsfjord

If you have yet to book the next flight to Oslo, listen to a short excerpt of one hiker’s experience of the fjords: “We hike past mountain farms, similar to the one situated 600 meters above Simadalsfjorden and only reachable by foot until the beginning of the 1970’s. We glimpse these old farm houses, where you can see how your ancestors used to live, and where it is still possible to meet people who protect the local song heritage by singing the old tunes, and by playing the Hardangerfiddle.

from Caractère Paris

Mountain pasture on the Geiranger Fjord

“As we hike along the heritage trails in Ulvik, in the hills and mountains that surround the village, you get to know more about life in the area in the days gone by. The trails beckon and the high pastures where flocks of sheep graze, clear streams, blue lakes, and striking mountains provide hikers with plenty of off-the-beaten track adventures.”

Sounds delightful! At Caractère, we offer a variety of items to make your fjord hiking experience easier and more comfortable. Our products include supplies designed for rural guest houses and camp sites, which range from disposable sheets and blankets to towels and baby hygiene products. For those who plan to take advantage of Scandinavia’s world renown saunas and spas, we also provide massage wear, slippers, sandals, bathrobes and towels. Comfortable, recyclable and easy to use, you cannot go wrong with disposable supplies from Caractère. Best of all, we ship anywhere in Europe, including the UK and Norway. If you choose to go, have a wonderful trip and please write to us about your travels.
____________________________________

Finally, some links to help you plan. For hiking route ideas and itineraries, see the hiking and itinerary pages of Norway Fjords, Fjords.com, REI, FjordNorway, Russell Tours and Web Walking. For guided hiking tours, visit The Norwegian Trekking Association’s official website. For more fantastic pictures of fjords, see The Norway Fjords and Fjords.com.

Finally, a short video about hiking in the fjords from Visit Kristiansund:

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

from Caractère Paris

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.

from Caractère Paris

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.

from Caractère Paris

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).

from Caractère Paris

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…

The Fountain of Eternal Youth: A History of Roman Thermal Baths

by the German painter L. Alma Tadema

Baths of Caracalla

Yet again, the origin lies in the name. Thermos, the Greek word for “heat,” situates itself among many concepts recovered and recycled from ancient Greece by the Romans, who popularised the communal bath system during the fifth century BC. Initially, the Romans privatised the baths’ use for the elites, such as Senators and merchants. Ahead of their time in terms of hygiene, as with most things, the Romans discovered the basic health benefits of thermal baths by the first century. However, the use of spas on a mass scale took until the Empire of Augustus, who was advised by Agrippa to make his generals frequently take cold baths. With the trust of the Emperor won, the ‘public bath’ concept was born.

by Lawrence Alma-Tadema

The Baths at Caracalla

The first spas spread rapidly throughout the Empire, transforming into a popular site of congregation and socialisation for members of every profession, social class and milieu. While originally known for its health and hygiene functions, the spa soon became an indispensable component for a healthy society — a sort of community centre and meeting place all-in-one, where all types of relationships and business intermingled. The sense of relaxation and intimacy provided by this place, designed with attention to architectural detail unimaginable today, was elaborated by an entranceway with restrooms, exercise areas, a primitive version of a locker room, saunas and steam rooms, and three deep basin pools filled with water of different temperatures: one hot, one warm to tepid and one cold. Through the various rooms, guests could benefit from Roman thermal baths in nearly identical ways to how visitors to the modern version of the spa do today.

Today a church

Roman Baths of Diocletian

In continuous use until roughly the sixth century, which depended on their location, many of the Roman baths were destroyed or neglected during the disintegration of the empire. Over the Medieval period, given the mounting support for Christian morality, modesty, and the intolerance for promiscuity, the baths were often transformed into monasteries. One such example is the Baths of Diocletian, the largest of any baths built in Rome, which could at one time accommodate up to 3,000 bathers, was transformed into a series of religious buildings during the sixteenth century.

During the twelfth century, the repair of many older spas and the opening of new ones were undertaken, mainly in the Tuscan and Emilia-Romagna regions, which to this day remain the regions of Italy with the highest concentration of spas. The Baths of Casciana and those of di Lucca, originally property of the Countess Matilde, count among the many examples. Their use was once private, with a four week long treatment that consisted of various baths between 30 minutes to two hours, with the time gradually decreased over the period of treatment. The principle behind this very exact regimen remains a mystery, but it is believed to date back to Hippocrates’ Theory of Humours, which attempted to treat symptoms of disease with their exact opposite. For example, sulphur-rich water was used to treat skin infections, and waters rich with minerals were intended to cure infertility. The steam rooms were also a very popular cure for body odour linked to sweat.

at Hotel Helvetica

Contemprary Spa in Porretta

Renaissance thinkers and artisans rediscovered the classical charm and advanced theories (for their time) of Greco-Roman cultures, which put considerable pressure on local leaders, such as princes and lords, to ameliorate the former spas in terms of structural features and artistic design, but their use remained essentially non-medical, for example at the Porretta spa in Emilia. Later, during the age of imperialism, and especially after the remains of Pompeii coincidentally surfaced in 1779, a romantic vision of Roman culture led many elites of the era to want to reinterpret their lifestyle and customs. Numerous paintings on display at the Musée d’Orsay in Paris exhibit this viewpoint, where the term, “a century of the baths,” denotes the formation of a well-defined civil society.

England's most famous bath

Roman Baths in Bath, England

Since the late nineteenth century, due to medical progress and experimentation, along with the gradual gentrification of society, leaders regained a sense of social obligation for hygiene, even if this obligation remained limited to the privileged classes. Not only did the nobles of Europe rediscover the therapeutic sense of a day at the spa, but also a dimension of overall well-being, which included body, mind and spirit. In the modern era, scientific progress proved the advantages of combined therapies, exemplified by the importance and variety of today’s wellness centres and spas. For example, those suffering from chronic illness in Northern Italy have deemed the Baths of Casciana in Pisa an indispensable part of rehabilitation. Other well-preserved spas from the Roman era preserved a fun and relaxing attitude, such as the hot springs of Saturnia or Petriolo, openly accessible by all ages and social classes for recreational as well as therapeutic use. (Baths of Caracalla by the German painter L. Alma Tadema)

An interesting phenomenon over the past few years has been the rise of specialty spas

England's most famous bath

Bath, England at night

flanked by villas and boutique hotels that offer a mix of public baths and private therapeutic services, often catered by a specialized team with experience in medical treatments, physical therapy, massages and other services. While non-clinical in nature, these specialised spas advertise custom treatments and wellness programs in targeted sessions of a few days to weeks, in a naturally pleasant environment to rejuvenate both body and spirit.

Some other locations where original Roman spas can be found in abundance include France, England, Germany, Spain and Turkey. Here is a list of some such locations, many still functioning in their original capacities today and others renovated or redesigned for other uses, as provided by Wikipedia:

  • United Kingdom: Bath – Roman Baths; Exeter, Devon; Leicester – Jewry Wall; Ribchester, in Lancashire; Tripontium, near today’s Rugby, Warwickshire; Welwyn, in Hertfordshire; Chedworth; Fishbourne Roman Palace; and York.
  • France: Arles – Thermes de Constantin; Glanum, near today’s Saint-Rémy-de-Provence; and Paris – Thermes de Cluny.
  • Germany: Baden-Baden, Baden-Württemberg; Trier; and Weißenburg.
  • Italy: Baths of Agrippa, Baths of Caracalla, Baths of Diocletian, Baths of Titus, Baths of Trajan,  Pompeii (ruins), and Herculaneum.
  • Spain: Caldes de Malavella, Gerona; Caldes de Montbui, Barcelona; Clunia, Burgos; and Lucus Augusti, Lugo.

__________________________________
For a list of spas in Italy, please see http://www.termeitalia.info/
For a wide variety of products ideal for spas, such as soft and durable bathrobes, slippers, sandals, bathing suits, Asorbtex and microfibre towels, please visit Caractère’s spa page at http://disposable-linen.co.uk/bed-sheet-towelling-bedding/contents/en-uk/d115_spa-wellness.html
For all other Caractère products, see http://disposable-linen.co.uk/bed-sheet-towelling-bedding/

Announcing Chocolate Kimonos, a Colour so Appetising and Delicious, You’ll Want to Take a Bite

from Caractère Paris

Chocolate Kimono with V-Neck

Caractère’s Coif’Hygiene Division would like to take this opportunity to announce the launch of a new colour of our highly popular kimono-style gown, Chocolate! This new chic and classy colour expands the already wide range of work uniforms, kimonos and gowns we offer. The new baby joins our line of existing colours: white, black, beige, dark blue, gray, red and now, last but not least, chocolate! A change of ambiance without a change of decor!

What are these kimonos, you ask — where, how and for whom are they useful?

They were designed with hair stylists and beauty salons in mind, providing total body coverage for customers receiving treatments. This relaxed and refined colour gives hairdressers a touch of calm and warmth to offer to their customers. The chocolate kimono is also available in two designs: V-neck or crew cut.

Why the option?

The V-neck design was created specially for clients receiving care in salons or beauty institutes that have to wander from one booth or room to another. The opaque material protects the client’s privacy. Created extra wide and long, it will fit virtually any body type. Plus, simply said, the V-neck looks snazzy. A pocket and belt adjusts the kimono to the perfect size for the wearer, providing an elegant silhouette.
The V-neck also responds best to the needs of the hair dresser who performs a simple wash, comb, styling and/or blow dry.

from Caractère Paris

Black Crew Neck Kimono

On the other hand, the crew neck kimono is ideal for clients receiving cuts, bleaching, dying, tinting or otherwise extensive and/or messy treatments. The front side seal allows for a comfortable and snug fit, which can be adjusted to cover the entirety of the customer’s neck and shoulders. Say goodbye to the little hairs that slide in between the folds of an unclosed robe! It is also the crew neck kimono that makes it easier to shave the client’s neck. No more need to remove the neck seal in order to finish a hair cut! This extra detail saves valuable time, makes the stylist seem more professional and ensures the client will leave the session happy and hair-free. For stylists dealing with clients with a low-set hairline, the crew neck kimono provides a maximum area of work space without having to move or reset the neck line.

Why a chocolate coloured kimono?

A warm but calm brown hints at a sense of class and style, without looking flashy or pretentious. Aside from the fashionable side, there is also the functionality of a brown kimono – it will resist stains from most hair colour dyes and tints, meaning you’ll have to change sets less often.  Plus, both male and female customers will appreciate the neutral colour of protection — no one wants to be wrapped in a candy pink suit when an adult. The chocolate colour, while being warm by nature, does not seem feminine. It also changes things from the typical black and white. It will look delightful in your salon with shades of stone, tile, wood or even beige. It will bring a touch of organic “zen,” an earthen tone that reflects respect for nature. It’s also a colour for the gourmand that will flatter their skin tone, no matter what tone!

What’s more, all of our kimonos, no matter the colour or style, come individually wrapped for perfect hygiene, and are recyclable once used. Not just green washing here — Caractère wants you and your clients to know we do our best to contribute to the principle of sustainable development. Now try a salon kimono that communicates this principle through both form and function, and that looks elegant on top of everything.