Shamso Ahmed recently opened a beauty salon in Boston. This salon is geared to Muslim women, particularly those that wear the hijab and would like privacy when getting their hair cut (i.e. no exposure to male strangers). “I really want to make a difference in people’s lives by creating a place where women feel comfortable, safe,” says Ms. Ahmed. “With this space, I can guarantee that there’s not going to be guys that walk in, so women will have the privacy they are looking for.”
Elisabeth Becker, a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Virginia who researches urban Muslim communities, says that these female-only beauty salons are very rare and that she knows of just one other in New York City (Le’jemalik Salon). Muslim women drive two or three hours just to their hair down at this salon. “[It’s a] huge, almost fully unserved population,” states Ms. Becker.
Hadia Mubarak, an assistant professor at Guilford College, says it is a common misconception that hijab-wearing don’t get their hair done because it is usually covered. The professor, who is Muslim, makes the point that hijab-wearing women spend a lot of time at home with their heads uncovered and may even attend family events with their heads uncovered and their hair styled. “Muslim women who cover will at some point in their life need to go to a salon,” says Ms. Mubarak. “The Muslim women I know, some of them go to a salon on a regular basis — some of them every two weeks!”