Marie Claude’s spa & reflexology treatments


Marie Claude has expanded her selection of services and treatments, all available in your home. Now available: Thai reflexogy! A 1h 15mins session is 35,000cfa. All her massages and reflexology treatments can be adapted to the client’s needs. And gift certificates are ready and waiting for you(r friends)!

Screen Shot 2015-12-03 at 9.32.22 PMContact her for more information and be sure to ask about her package deals and fidelity card. Marie Claude speaks French and English and can be reached at 77 528 6401. You can view her list of available services and pricing in English here.

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Aida’s waxing & threading

It all started thanks to Pinterest one night when I read an article on threading your whole face (minus eyebrows) for the clearest complexion. So of course, I had to try it! I’d heard that Aida was a wizard with thread and made house calls, so we decided to give her a call.

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So two weeks after threading my face… I am still a huge fan. The pain (oh the pain!) was worth it. Aida spent about 15 minutes working to get every last bit of ‘peach fuzz’. It felt a little tingly afterwards, but no redness or breakouts like I’d expected.

I was surprised by how smooth my skin felt and looked. Kind of shiny and dewy, but not in a greasy way. I’ve only worn full make-up once since then but found I used quite a bit less than before since my skin was already smooth and my complexion looked clearer.

Is it something that people will notice right away and stop you on the street to ask how you get your glow? Probably not. But will YOU see and feel a difference? Definitely.

I’m hooked. No idea how long it will take to fuzz again, but I’ll keep Aida’s number close by!

Aida’s waxing and threading rates:

eyebrows: 5000cfa
upper lip: 2000cfa
full face: 10,000cfa
bikini: 10,000cfa
full legs: 10,000cfa
legs to the knee: 5000cfa
full arms: 7000cfa
arms to the elbow: 4000
manicure: 4000cfa (my friend raved about her manicure with Aida!)
pedicure: 10,000cfa

Some hair services also available. Styling, highlights, etc…

Tel: 77 257 9418

Dev’s Designs

Dev’s Designs Home Nail Salon in Hann Maristes is now open for business!

D’Evan is a licensed manicurist and pedicurist from Pensacola, Florida. She is a teacher at Dakar Academy who is specialized in nail art and design and has been trained in arm, hand, leg and foot massage, which she includes in her spa manis and pedis. She has gel polishes and equipment (I’ve seen her work and it’s great!), as well as supplies for acrylic French manicures and nail extensions.

D’Evan will be working by appointment only as her hours are limited by her full-time job as a teacher at Dakar Academy.

Available hours are as follows:
Mon – 4:30-6:00 pm
Wed – 3:30-6:00 pm
Thurs – 3:30-5:00 pm
Fri – 5:00-6:00 pm
Sat – 1:00-4:00 pm

Please be aware that as a new technician as well as a perfectionist, appointments will not be quick ‘in and out in 15 minutes’ procedures. 🙂 With spa manicures and especially spa pedicures, she prefers to take her time with the soak, scrub, and massage as to ensure a relaxing experience. Therefore, spa services will most often run about an hour. The exception is a simple polish mani or pedi, which usually take about 15-20 minutes. Most services, especially ones including any sort of nail art, will take half an hour to 45 mins from start to finish. Full acrylic sets are the longest service to complete as they take many steps and also precision to ensure great results. This service typically takes about 1 hour to an hour and half.

Here is a link to her Facebook page, which has plenty of pictures of her work and designs, as well as her hours and prices.

77-227-0165 or You can also send a message on Dev’s Designs Facebook page.
When making your appointment, she will need to know what service you want, what day and time you would like, and if she will need to come escort you from the school gate to her apartment. (Visitors to Dakar Acadamy, the guards will not let you in the gate until she comes get you if you’re not affiliated with the school.)

Things I’m going to wear…

Hot season ends in 17 days. Or at least by my calculations and estimates, it should. Come mid-November, I plan on diving into a whole section of my wardrobe that has been neglected (and possibly molding) these last sweltering months.

These are some of the things I plan to wear once the cooler weather arrives in Senegal…

– Jeans. I miss denim. Especially in dark wash or fun colors. I have a pair of dark red ones I especially love.

– Scarves. You don’t live in France for six years without picking up this accessory habit.

– Hoodies. Yoga pants. Slipper socks to keep me from being TOO sexy. 😉

– Shirts with actual sleeves. Maybe even (gasp!) layered over a cami.

– Shoes that cover my heel and toes.

– Fitted shirts and dresses that won’t make me feel claustrophobic when I put them on.

– Cardigans. Bring on the cardigans.

What about you? What will you wear in 17 days?

Dressing for Tabaski in 2015

Today’s post comes from Fatou Jobe, a long-time Gazelle Skirt reader and the woman behind the IMADI brand of baskets, bags and more.

“So what are you wearing for Tabaski?”

If you do not yet know the answer to this question, less than a week before Tabaski, then you may as well give up and stay in your jeans and a T-shirt. Dakar Fashionistas have been planning the perfect outfit for at least two months.

Most tailoring shops closed their order books way back in the beginning of the month. I know this because, on the 3rd September, I started to think about what to wear, when my mum texted to ask what my colours will be this year. I did not have the courage to say; “… umm, colours?” I had not chosen the fabric, colours or even the style of what to make. So I replied bravely that, it would be a surprise!

Busy stalls at HLM market

Busy stalls at HLM market

I ventured out to H.L.M. market, that same afternoon, to see what I could find, but only got as far as the entry to the market, before fleeing. The stalls were literally back-to-back, and there was no way in, that is, without being squashed and jostling other people!

Instead, I found a beautiful guipure fabric and cut out lace at a shop near my house in Point E, and took it to my traditional-wear tailors, Mandel Couture at Rue Joseph Gomis in Plateau. At 15,000/m ($30/yard), it is best to hand the fabric to tried and tested scissors!

Guipure made with the softest cotton!

Guipure made with the softest cotton!

Mandel Couture had, in fact, called me two weeks earlier, to ask if I would be bringing any fabrics in. I just thought that perhaps times were hard and that they did not have enough clients, why else would they be bothering with me. So when I showed up with my fabrics, I was shown the piles and piles of receipt books piling up since June for Tabaski orders! They had indeed closed their order books. “That’s why we called you. We did not want our long-time customers to be disappointed.” Aarggh.

A mix of seguipure and wax ‘Taille-Basse’ at Queen Fadima in Point E, Rue de Diourbel. Tel: 774388673

A mix of seguipure and wax ‘Taille-Basse’ at Queen Fadima in Point E, Rue de Diourbel. Tel: 774388673

Mandel Couture creations

Mandel Couture creations

Mandel Couture creations

Mandel Couture creations

So I went to my second choice tailors, SARA Prestige. They should really have been my first choice, since they are right on trend with the latest ‘boubou’ styles, but I guess loyalty makes me stick with Mandel (The owner’s father, was my grandfather’s tailor). SARA Prestige owned by Dakar’s most discreetly fashionable lady, Mrs. Kebe, is at the top of the traditional-wear league table.

SARA Prestige Avenue Georges Pompidou (Ponty)

SARA Prestige Avenue Georges Pompidou (Ponty)

With beautifully rich and luxurious damasked cotton fabric (bazin), silk and guipure, they can suggest to you what is on trend and which tailoring cuts are ‘in’. With a ‘Taille-Basse’ starting at 25,000 fcfa ($50), they can offer made-to-order or ready-made styles.


Satis’ fashion Rue A, Point E Tel: 338250628

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The newest addition to this year’s Tabaski market is Satis’ fashion. They started in business in 2007, and for a long time, they were the go-to-brand for Dakar’s jetsetters. Now with a newly opened shop on Rue A, Point E, next to the Spanish Tapas restaurant (Taberna Espagnola). Traditional wear starts at 65,000 ($130) for the softest cotton ‘Taille-basse’, perfect for hot season to a richly embroidered ‘Kaba’ a long tunic dress, which comes with a skirt and head tie at 200,000 fcfa ($400). Eeek.



At the local markets, H.L.M. and at Sandaga, there are also ready made outfits available starting at just 4,000 fcfa ($8). The fabric might not survive another Tabaski, but if it is just an outfit to wear for a lunch invitation, it may do the trick.

Men take their Tabaski fashion seriously. I once spent an hour, trying to choose the right shade of blue cotton for my brother! A three-piece tunic, like the one below (right), costs 65,000 fcfa ($130) to make and a two-piece tunic (left) at 20,000 fcfa ($40).

Mandel Couture creations

Mandel Couture creations

Mandel Couture creations

Mandel Couture creations

A man’s outfit is incomplete without a pair of ‘marrakis’ at just 5,000fcfa ($10)they complete any man’s outfit. Ask for the ones from Ngaye Mekhe, a town near Louga.



Children are not forgotten, I was amused and disturbed to find these heels at H.L.M. market last week.



Children’s outfit at H.L.M, from just 2.000 fcfa

Children’s outfit at H.L.M, from just 2.000 fcfa

Heels for women from Queen Fadima’s shop (where I bought my guipure) start at 35,000 ($70). I will pass on these and wear sandals instead! Tabaski is already stressful enough, visiting relatives and being judged by your choice of outfit, to add to it, tottering dangerously on tower blocks!

Tower blocks

Tower blocks



For the ‘femme fatale’ in you!

For the ‘femme fatale’ in you!

Hairstyle? Wigs and weave-on are the order of the day. If you have no patience to sit at a salon to have your hair braided, you can wear a braided wig or stick on a hat.

Wigs at H.L.M.

Wigs at H.L.M.

The brighter, and shinier the hat, the better, I was told by HLM’s Ndey Marie Nying. She told me she’d hardly slept in three weeks in order to be able to supply enough hats. The customer’s choice for this year is a plethora of jewels and colours on the ‘Mussor’ – head tie – worthy of the Arabian nights.

Ndey Marie Nying Marche H.L.M. 775333691

Ndey Marie Nying Marche H.L.M. 775333691

More hats

More hats

Fake eyelashes and nails? Please do not get me started … It would require a whole blog dedicated to just that!

Now there is no excuse not to get in on the bling feast. You have all the good addresses at your fingertips. What will you be wearing? Please send pictures of your beautiful outfits!

If this is your first Tabaski in Senegal, prepare to dazzle and be dazzled!

Spa & beauty treatments at your home


Good news, Gazelles! Marie Claude has expanded her selection of services and treatments, all available in your home. Contact her for more information and be sure to ask about her package deals and fidelity card. Marie Claude speaks French and English and can be reached at 77 528 6401. And she has the most gorgeous skin and eyebrows you’ve ever seen. 🙂

Arm pits 6000cfa
Bikini (regular) 6000cfa
Bikini (extended) 8000cfa
Bikini (Brazilian) 10,000cfa
Arms 7000cfa
Legs (full) 14,000cfa
Legs (to the knee) 7000cfa
Eyebrows 7000cfa
Eyebrow clean-up 5000cfa
Upper lip 5000cfa
Chin 5000cfa
Around face 5000cfa
Face 10,000cfa


With every 10 mani-pedi services, your 11th mani is free!

Polish 2500cfa
Manicure 8000cfa
Pedicure 8000cfa
Spa pedicure 10,00cfa
Mani-Pedi 13,000cfa
Mani-spa Pedi 15,000cfa

Gel polish is also available. Ask for details.


Slimming 45 mins / 15,000cfa 60 mins / 20,000cfa
Relaxing 45 mins / 15,000cfa 60 mins / 20,000cfa
Hot stone 90 mins / 35,000cfa
Lymphatic drainage 60 mins / 25,000cfa

Full body salt scrub exfoliation for 30 mins + macadamia nut butter massage 60 mins / 35,000cfa

“Marie Claude just came to the guest house where I was staying and gave me one of the best massages I’ve ever had and a gorgeous pedicure. She is very professional and also very good at what she does. She turned my guest house room into a pampered spa. I highly recommend her to you all. Plus, she has a wide range of services and is adding facials. WooHoo!”
– Joanna

Package massage deals

11 slimming massages 45 mins / 150,000cfa 60 mins / 200,000cfa
11 relaxing massages 45 mins / 150,000cfa 60 mins / 200,000cfa

The package deals are for massages twice weekly and payment is due in full at the beginning.


3 times I thought beauty gurus were just lying 

I love a good beauty magazine (or blog, or Facebook group or Pinterest board…), but sometimes I just want to roll my eyes at their stupid suggestions that can’t possibly work. Or can they?

Here are are three things I’ve learned actually DO work for me, despite my original and longstanding certainty to the contrary.

Wash-and-go hairstyle myth

The concept of wash-and-go hairstyles ranked right up there with unicorns and the mermaids in my book. A lovely idea, but come on… Even when I had pixie cuts I was never able to find a wash-and-go style that worked for me. And the longer my baby-fine hair grew, the more time it required each day to fix.

Many women experience thicker, fuller hair during pregnancy but then lose it after delivery. This happened to me with my first pregnancy, but after the second my hair stayed thicker and fuller! For the first time in my life, I have hair that it wash-and-goable because there’s simply more of it to work with.

Wash-and-go waves

Wash-and-go waves

So the good news is that it’s not a myth that cute wash-and-go styles actually exist. The bad news is that, depending on your hair texture, it just may not exist for you.

I’m not about to be the one to encourage two pregnancies in hopes of thickening up your hair, but… If you have fine, straight hair or a pixie cut, I highly recommend Mylen in Fenetre Mermoz. She is incredible with precision cuts that require minimal styling afterwards. For taming and chic-ing curly, thick or long hair, Soraya at Sunugal is a wonder-woman.

Between these two great stylists, Dakar ladies can take one giant leap closer to wash-and-go hair.

Low carb for weight loss

No bread, no pasta, no thank you. I’d heard enough about low-carb recipes and swapping out lasagna noodles for strips of zucchini to last me a lifetime.

Banana + egg pancakes with peanut butter

Banana + egg pancakes with peanut butter

Except that it worked when I actually tried it. And it worked fast.

After years of trying to lose 5-10lbs, I tried 21-Day Fix after seeing my friend Michelle’s results. She had a similar body type to mine and we were both healthy eaters and active, but she lost weight and toned up in just a couple months on this program.

I loathe programs. But I decided to give it a try and found that I loved this one! The daily exercises were challenging but fun and the food guidelines were simple. Considering I already ate pretty healthily, the biggest change was swapping out some carbs for veggies.

Boom. I lost the baby weight (while keeping the hair! 😉) and then some, plus toned up. I’m now a low-carb believer… And a happy 21-Day Fixer.

The importance of caring for your skin

Blah blah blah, sunscreen, exfoliate, moisturize and take your make-up off before bed. We know.


But what kind of moisturizer you use makes a big difference! I started using this baobab oil (2500cfa) about six months ago and my complexion has never looked better. It’s clear and soft, but not oily or shiny.

I dab on a couple drops of the oil every morning and night after washing or rinsing my face and then rub it in gently. It absorbs quickly and makes a great base for a dewy, fresh-looking complexion, with the help of just a little bit of foundation.

What about you? Any beauty tricks that you doubted but in the end actually really work for you?