End of Ramadan sparks rush to beauty salons

2010-09-09 07:31

Beauty salons across the Middle East are experiencing a last-minute rush, as women pop in for treatments ahead of the Islamic holidays – traditionally filled with socialising and trips to holiday spots.

For Muslims, Eid ul-Fitr comes after the holy month of fasting, Ramadan, and its start depends on a lunar sighting, though the first day is expected this week.

“It is always busier before Eid, everyone wants to look better,” said Maroun, a Lebanese hairdresser who operates several salons in Cairo.

While Eid is an Islamic event, most of the Middle East will see three days of holiday, regardless of religious affiliation. And nearly all people taking a needed break between the hectic month and a return to the normal workload want to show their best side.

“For Eid, Middle Eastern girls like to cut their hair and get a new colour and add some highlights,” said Fady, a hair specialist at a Dubai salon.

“For example, we are serving many women who want their hair to be short and light brown with blonde highlights, but some also like the reddish colours,” Fady said from the posh outlet in the Gulf.

Another popular trend in the region is hair removal done by a professional.

“Maybe they are going to the beach since it’s still warm, or maybe they want to please their husbands,” Maroun offered.

Waxing remains by far the most popular means of depilation, according to several beauticians. The method is preferred as it rips out the hair from the root and another treatment is not needed for several weeks.

“Waxing can be painful, but you get used to it over time. It lasts longer than other methods, and gives a smoother effect,” said Sherine Mohamed, aged 28, a marketing assistant in Cairo.

While waxing is hardly foreign to the Middle East and has been used by Arab women for hundreds of years, some Western innovations are now making headway.

New methods of skin and hair beautification are catching on, with salons offering the latest treatments from abroad, often employing European supplies and machines.

One new option is Keratin treatment, which straightens curly hair for up to four months.

This option is growing in popularity among Arab women, who often have trouble managing thick, coarse, or extremely curly hair. For them, over-the-counter shampoos would not do the trick.

“With all the high technology available, we can do lots of things for dull hair, frizzy hair, curly hair,” Maroun said.

Women also go in for manicures, pedicures, and eyebrow shaping before the Eid.

“Ramadan is very hectic, between work and fasting and family obligations. I just like to feel fresh and put together before seeing my family and my friends and going out,” said Yasmine, a single, 30-year-old lawyer, living in Cairo.

Others who are travelling for the holidays, whether for a nearby beach or to a foreign country, also go in for the full works before they leave home.

“I’m going to Spain for the holiday, and so I’m making sure to get my eyebrows done and have my legs waxed so I don’t have to worry about it while I’m away,” said Amy Raafat, aged 24, who will be travelling with her family.

Men are also going to barbers for haircuts and shaves before the holidays, barbers say. And the women approve.

“It’s the least they can do,” says Amy, listing the various treatments she was undertaking.

“Ladies put in so much effort to look nice, all a man really has to do is be clean and somewhat presentable,” she said.

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