What Living the “Sweet Life” or “Good Life” means to Ala Shamas, owner of Dolce Vita Medical Spa & Salon
“Dolce Vita” is an Italian phrase which means “the sweet life”, and not only is it the name of Ala Shamas’ spa and salon in Mississauga, it sums up Ala’s theory on life.
“Living a good life means different things to different people,” smiles Al, owner and master hairstylist of Dolce Vita Medical Spa and Salon in Port Credit, looking fit, tanned and relaxed after a vacation in Mexico, “but to me it is about having balance in your life and doing everything with passion, from the minute you wake up, to working, to working out and being ﬁt, to enjoying the company of those around me, and then sleeping well. And fitting in time to travel.”
Ala Shamas has traveled and lived in many countries, including Egypt, Algeria, Italy and Spain. Born in Baghdad, Iraq, Al’s father was a physicist whose work took him around the globe.
“We lived in several countries, often for just six months at a time but it gave us a chance to see the world,” says Al. The Shamas family settled in Mississauga, where Al attended Thomas L. Kennedy Secondary School. It was Al’s after school job that started him on his career path, which at ﬁrst, was quite rocky.
“The first day I worked as a shampoo boy, I knew it was my calling,” admits Al. “Right after high school, when I announced that I wanted to become a stylist, my dad was not happy and we had a falling out that lasted five years.” But during that time, Al went from shampoo boy to salon owner. “My mentor was the salon owner Frank DeBartolo; that man carried me for five years, and I am where I am today because of Frank,” says Al. “He taught me my work ethic and told me where to go to learn the best techniques. I studied at George Brown and apprenticed with Frank, who then became my business partner. We’ve been in business since 1989 but in 2005 we decided to go our separate ways and I opened the salon and spa at this location.”
Ala Shamas says his father eventually forgave him, and in fact, after Al became a successful stylist, his older brother Tony also became a stylist and owns a salon in downtown Toronto. Their mom, Bushra, works with Al. “She’s my boss even though I own everything!” laughs Al, ﬂashing his gorgeous smile. Another family member, Al’s dog Derby, wags his tail at customers coming and going.
At age 40, Al reminds you of a young Ralph Lauren, fit, happy, stylish in his designer jeans. His outgoing personality is as obvious as his buff biceps protruding from his fitted t-shirt. “I was a fitness trainer and have competed and placed in the WNSO- the World Natural Sports Organization for bodybuilding,” says Al. “I haven’t competed for a few years but I work out five days a week to maintain. Whatever you put your mind into- gym, health—it will work. As beauty experts we can only do so much. We can give you guidance and offer the latest anti-aging treatments, but it’s a combination of this and living a healthy lifestyle between visits that really works.”
Al believes in paying it forward. “I feel I can make a difference in someone’s life in an hour or so. Sometimes it is the little things we do that count to make others feel good. When you have a great haircut or pamper yourself with a treatment, you project a positive energy and you perform better. Others notice how good you look and want to know what you are doing. Feeling great about yourself is contagious!”
“We can tailor make our services to give you a fresher, younger look,” says Al who keeps up with the latest hair styling and colour trends by attending hair shows. He recently attended a hair show in Paris and a hair competition in Berlin. “I used to compete and placed third in an international hair competition,” comments the Master Stylist.
When asked what he would like to be doing five years from now, Ala Shamas laughs and says, “I see myself where I am now, doing the same thing, plus travelling more. I’ve done a lot for my age; normally people in their 60s have done what I’ve done at age 40.” Al hesitates and then grins sheepishly and says, “You didn’t ask me about 10 years down the road. Right now my hobby is flying remote-control helicopters and airplanes in the park. Ten years from now, I want to be flying a real helicopter!”
Contact Ala Shamas to find out more about our Hair Stylists at our Hair Salon in Mississauga, Ontario
Call (905) 278-5550 today to book your appointment.