Last Updated: Wed Jul 20, 2011 23:10 pm (KSA) 20:10 pm (GMT)

Basra Haider / Arabian Beauty: Hard Labor for Beautician

Sitting at the beauty salon today getting my nails done, the beautician asked me “Madame, why do you only come for nails here?” I looked at her, smiled and answered,” Because, I like the way you do my nails, but, I don’t like the way anyone else does anything else at this salon.”

Having said that, I thought to myself, am I the difficult one or do all discerning women do what I do? That is: I go to one salon for my hair cut, another for color, another for blow drying and yet another for conditioning treatments and that is just the hair! Further, I go to another for my threading and another for my facials! It is not the name of the salon that draws me but the technician that I luck out in finding.

Yet, these very women that are so talented are often overworked and underpaid in this part of the world. Once, they get to know me inevitably their sob stories start as to how unhappy they are. The best new law to come into Dubai is that after a two-year contract the employer cannot put a ban on their employees and they can seek work immediately, with another company and the employer cannot do anything about it. Here is hoping this ends the practice of “threats” to keep employees.

I am really hoping that this power invested in the employees will help many of the shady business owners to clean up their management style. I fail to understand that if it is these employees that ultimately draw me to the owner’s salons and not the ambience or the plush furniture nor the “name” of the owner, who is rarely, if ever present, than why are they treated with the least importance? Just because a human being has learned to endure limitations put upon them through life, just because regardless of the poor working conditions, they still show gratitude and worship you as their boss, the responsibility is still on the owner of the business not to abuse the authority and power vested to them over these girls.

I understand one of the perks of being in the UAE is that we pay less for services, an average 30 percent less as compared to many other parts of the world, but, I cannot imagine this in any way being affected, if employees are treated with a little more due respect and common courtesy.

After all, when a woman makes the time in her busy life to go to a salon she wants to be greeted with genuine smiles and be pampered. I would love to find a salon where the employees think and behave as if they are a family and are proud of their work place. Ironically, it is the cheaper, run down salons, in such areas as in Karama or Satwa that have more of this atmosphere then the posh high end salons.

I tend to be sensitive and pick up on people’s emotional state at a given time, especially if they are touching me, so I have often politely walked out on a massage or a manicure because I could not bear the tension and stress being emitted by the therapist.

Here is hoping for better working conditions, health and happiness, for all the lovely ladies that help keep me beautiful or at least help to keep me “thinking” that I am beautiful!

(Basra Haider covers the beauty industry. She can be reached at:

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