Last Updated: Wed Jul 27, 2011 10:39 am (KSA) 07:39 am (GMT)

Basra Haider / Arabian Beauty: Huff and puff, and blow the salon down

I was at the beauty salon enjoying my pedicure when suddenly in walked this woman huffing and puffing, shouting that she looked horrible from the eyebrow threading she had done a few days earlier. The woman was screaming at the beautician, who was clearly shaken by the verbal attack about how one eyebrow was now higher and rounder than the other. I was amazed at the amount of never ending energy this woman had to blast at the girl. The woman was relentless, threatening to call the management and get her fired.

I was tempted to speak up; but I am squeamish when it comes to catfights and certainly I was not going to get into one over eyebrow hair. I think all women can relate to having had a bad “salon” experience or most likely many bad experiences. We have all lost our composure a little; sooner or later, especially if our hair turned green. Still, most of us console ourselves knowing that it will not last forever, and we try to be gracious as to not hurt the feelings of the technician but make a mental note to never go back to the same salon.

So, I fail to understand women that go on to vent their frustration at these hard working women. I cannot imagine what this woman and many like her aim to gain through ranting and raving. Did she think the hair would somehow grow back? The only intelligent words she uttered were about getting in touch with the management.

I wanted to give the speechless, shocked technician my voice. I wanted the technician to tell this screamer, “Please do complain to the management of the salon about the way I serviced you. Tell them to please invest the time and money to properly train me, which they are unwilling to do. Tell them that when I applied I told them that I am a nail technician. Tell them I am not qualified at threading but willing to be trained, because, I am ashamed to do services that I am not good at doing. Tell them to help me so that I may not be subjected to the abuse of women like you.”

The lack of stringent qualifications, that beauticians are often required to pass in other parts of the world, are often overlooked in the Arab world. I understand that in the name of being “cost effective,” a salon sometimes needs to compromise and hire weak candidates, but then training must be mandatory. This could even be beneficial to a salon; training their staff according to special specifications that are or can become trademark services of their salon.

But too often poor unemployed women in the Philippians or India, who may have graduated as beauticians, but ended up working for years as a cook in a cafeteria, for example, apply and accept the lower pay and land in Dubai. Grateful for their jobs, they desperately try to cope with the responsibilities, and are given little direction.

Perhaps the solution would be to get all salons hiring beauticians to make a deposit toward a standardized government-training course for new beauticians. The technician and the employer can be given a realistic time frame for completing the course.

Trying to understand the dynamics of the beauticians’ situation, within her work environment, may allow for more realistic expectations from women that are dependent on these services. Beauticians are not lazy; on the contrary they have come here to work. They want to do a good job for you. They, like anyone else in life, want to be proud of their work and feel important. Have you ever noticed how a beautician’s face lights up when you request her by name to repeat a service for you?

I wanted to tell the screaming woman that huffing and puffing was not going to accomplish much, except that if she did it often enough, it may damage her lungs, give her high blood pressure or may even cause the brain to hemorrhage; all the while her eyebrows will have grown back many times over and the beautician will have long forgotten about the incident which in time would, even to her, seem trivial.

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

Comments »

Post Your Comment »

Social Media »