Beauty and altruism

Posted: February 24th, 2017 | Communities, Feature, Hillcrest, Top Story | No Comments

By Ken Williams | Editor

Beauty by Dolly celebrated its first decade in Hillcrest in 2015, and over the course of that time, the family-owned business founded by two Iranian-American sisters has gratefully given back to the local community.

For example, Beauty by Dolly on Feb. 15 teamed up with Big Sister League of San Diego and Blo Blow Dry Bar Gaslamp to participate in a Random Acts of Kindness Week event.

(l to r) Dolly Bakshai, Beauty by Dolly founder and CEO, and Merri Knight, a resident of Big Sister League of San Diego’s housing program, after Knight received a makeover (Photo by Jamie Reyes of Luxuria Public Relations)

Dolly Bakshai and Kashmira Torki, the founders, work with their daughters and nieces and a staff mostly comprised of immigrants to offer many beauty services at their salons in Hillcrest and Mira Mesa.

Here are five questions with Natashah Torki, chief operating officer and managing director:

  1. What is the story behind Beauty by Dolly?

“Beauty by Dolly was founded in 2005 by sisters Dolly and Kashmira. We are estheticians trained extensively in skincare and hair removal in the United States, India and Iran for over 30 years. Our areas of expertise are threading and sugar waxing.

“The naked truth about Beauty by Dolly is all about natural beautification. Our highly skilled professionals bring out the natural beauty in everyone using time-honored techniques, sugaring and threading, and completely organic products made by Dolly.

“Beauty by Dolly is San Diego’s first studio to market the threading and sugar wax concept and provides the most exclusive experience in natural hair removal treatments. Our office is located at 3650 Fifth Ave. No. 101 in Hillcrest.”

  1. Why get involved in Random Acts of Kindness Week?

“Beauty by Dolly partnered with Big Sister League of San Diego — a nonprofit dedicated to providing transitional housing and support services for women affected by mental illness, homelessness and abuse — to provide free beauty makeovers during Random Acts of Kindness Week on Feb. 15.

“Blo Blow Dry Bar Gaslamp, a blow dry and beauty bar, provided hair and makeup services to give the makeover recipients the latest looks and hairstyles. The makeover recipients are women in the Big Sister League of San Diego’s transitional housing programs that are currently receiving housing assistance and support for mental illness, homelessness and abuse.

“In celebration of Random Acts of Kindness Week, we were humbled to team up with Blo Gaslamp to pay it forward and provide a day of pampering for women who have endured tremendous hardship. We hope our efforts will help them feel beautiful and regain their self-confidence.”

  1. As a daughter of refugees, and with your company’s history of helping immigrants with training and employment, how does the current political climate impact your business?

“As a daughter of a refugee, the current political climate has brought our team closer than ever. The current state of affairs has affected everyone in different ways, but we feel it’s important to remain united. At Beauty by Dolly, we’ve been welcoming refugees with enthusiasm for over 10 years, and pride ourselves in making our workplace a second home.”

Natashah Torki


  1. What are the latest trends in beauty, and how does your business and employees keep up with the times?

“The latest trend in brows is microblading, a newly emerging, free-hand semi-permanent makeup application, also popularly known as 3D brows or eyebrow embroidery that creates a hair-like brow shape. Microblading is our latest service offering and our first ‘hair adding’ service.

“Although we’d like to think sugaring is an age-old technique we’ve been performing for years, sugaring has recently become very popular! Unlike chemical-laden hard waxes that can pull at the skin causing irritation, breakouts and excruciating pain, sugaring is 100 percent all-natural and gentle on the skin. Sugar wax is made out of only sugar, water, lemon juice and glycerin.

“We keep up with the times with constant training and education. We are firm believers in ‘you can never learn enough.’ Things are changing so quickly these days with social media, and it is our duty to keep our eyes and ears open for the safest, lasting trends to provide to our clientele! We also offer ThreadingU(niversity), an elite threading academy for all eyebrow enthusiasts, exclusively focused on providing professional education and teaching you the technique of threading. With just one weekend seminar, you will acquire the skills you need to perfect the art of threading by learning from the creme de la creme of our browtists. For more information, visit”

  1. You located your business in Hillcrest, so why do you love this neighborhood so much?

“At the Beauty by Dolly and Big Sister League of San Diego event, we were taking group photos with all the ladies, and a man was walking by and saw us. He stepped in and told the woman taking the photo, ‘Get in there! Let me take the picture for you all!’ He took the photo and said, ‘This is what Hillcrest is all about; taking care of each other, loving your neighbors and spreading happiness wherever you go!’ We couldn’t agree MORE, and the sense of community in Hillcrest is unbeatable. We are so grateful to be part of this community!”

—Ken Williams is editor of Uptown News and can be reached at or at 619-961-1952. Follow him on Twitter at @KenSanDiego, Instagram at @KenSD or Facebook at KenWilliamsSanDiego.

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