Esthetics Confidant to Many, Apsara Houston Celebrates its 15th Year

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Apsara Houston celebrated its 15th anniversary with an open house at its Hillcroft location. Joining owner Sangeeta Dua (right, in front of cake) were her mother (in white coat) and many well-wishers who dropped by.

By Jawahar Malhotra

HOUSTON: To many of her clientele it looks like she’s always on the go between the two Apsara Houston salon’s she owns and operates. Thankfully, they are located conveniently close by: one in the Galleria area at Sage and Hidalgo and the other just north of Westpark at Hillcroft, though, in traffic, the distance feels greater. Just this past Friday, January 16, Apsara celebrated its 15th year with an open house and lunch for clients at the Hillcroft location.

But that doesn’t deter Sangeeta Dua as she makes the rounds between the two Apsara Houston locations. “The client mix is totally different. The Galleria location is primarily mainstream while the Hillcroft salon handles mostly a desi clientele,” explained Dua of the business she founded in 2001. “But I really enjoy being able to deal with the demands of both types of clientele.”

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Sangeeta Dua

Dua started off in her apartment by simply doing hair for friends and soon news spread about her talents. Two years later she opened her first shop at 5645 Hillcroft next to the Sai Baba Mandir where she stayed till just last year when she opened the new, 2,500 sf salon and training center right across from Channel 39 TV’s studios. Six years ago, in 2009, she opened up the 800 sf Galleria location where five hairdressers handle a steady stream of clients.

As a young woman with a growing family, Dua wanted to make use of her beauticians degree from the Maharani Bagh Polytechnic in New Delhi and additional training she received when she lived in New York from the renowned Christine Valmy International School of Esthetics. She ventured out on her own, raising two children and overcoming huge obstacles, but she was determined to succeed.

Along the way, she also received training as a makeup artist, chemical peels, micro dermabrasion, and air brush makeup. A few years ago, she received certification from the International School of Esthetics as an instructor and now, with all her training and experience, Dua has started to offer classes at the Hillcroft location to young students wanting to get into the business. She has even launched her own brand of products and was one of the first Auryavedic Shiryudhara oil head treatment services in a salon setting in the city. Her specialties are skin treatments, bridal makeup and eyebrows. “I guarantee that I can fix any eyebrows in three months,” she said confidently.

Dua’s sense of aesthetics is quite obvious in her stylish attire and the way she carries herself, not to mention her easy smile and generous attitude, part of which comes from her Punjabi background and desire to strive for better. Her gregarious nature drove her, along with two other friends, in 2011 to launch a television program, Dua TV, on channel 28.2 KUGB TV, where she was both onscreen as well as behind the cameras. Though it folded after ten months, she still loves the tug of the media and hopes, one day, to get back into it too.

Ambitious and hard working as she is, Dua still makes time to support many local causes and especially the Sai Baba Mandir and other Hindu temples as she attributes her success to her anchor in her religious background.

But the other part is pure confidence in her abilities and integrity. “I don’t compromise my ethics; not just to make money,” she said. “Whatever I do, it’s from the heart and I want to build long-term clients who appreciate what my salons can do for them.”