It takes a healthy amount of ambition to open any new salon, but Sharis Shiribabadi, owner of Abu Dhabi’s new StudioXY, has set her sights higher than most. Her goal is nothing less than to revolutionize beauty and grooming in the United Arab Emirates and the entire Middle East. StudioXY — the first of a planned chain — offers innovative services and products not seen before in the region. It’s actually comprised of two separate salons: StudioX is dedicated to women, while StudioY is exclusively for men. Both salons feature neutral tones with a splash of copper, creating an atmosphere of understated elegance.

Sharis Shiribabadi

Sharis Shiribabadi

Located on the NYU Abu Dhabi campus in a trendy, vibrant part of the city, the salon caters to students as well as residents and tourists. The full-service salon offers a broad range of services including hair, skin care, and massage. The nail care menu is extensive as well. “We offer gel-polish, as well as acrylic and gel enhancements,” says Shiribabadi, who grew up in the U.S. and moved to the UAE a decade ago. “All of our technicians follow the latest nail trends from around the world, so they are able to suggest unique styles to our clients or reproduce styles they have seen in magazines or on TV. We are the first salon in the Middle East to use LVX gel-polish, which is vegan and five-free, in keeping with our commitment to use natural, cruelty-free products.”

The salon also makes it a point to steer clear of gender stereotyping. “Whether you are a woman who likes to have a spikey colorful pixie haircut or a guy who enjoys receiving weekly lavender spa mani/pedis, StudioXY is focused on assisting you,” she says. Customer service is a priority, but affordability is also important. A mani/pedi runs $40 with traditional polish and $80 with gel-polish. A set of acrylics runs $87.

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