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Most women think of the salon as a relaxing space. But for some women, the thought of going into salon provokes anxiety. This is particularly true for devote Muslim women who wear headscarves.
Huda Quhshi, the owner of a new Brooklyn salon catering to female only clients in Brooklyn explains to Refinery 29, “I once decided to go to a salon and when a man walked in, I had to throw my headscarf over my wet hair and run to a back room.”
This wasn’t the first kind of experience Quhshi had heard about from other Muslim women about their experiences in hair salons, either. Because Muslim women who wear the headscarf only remove them around women or men in their immediate families, finding a space where male customers or employees will not see them as they get their haircut is difficult. Many Muslim women are often shuffled off to back rooms, basements or even breakrooms during an appointment.
To prevent this, many Muslim women who wear headscarves avoid beauty salons altogether. In a 2014 story in the Boston Globe about a salon that created a private, hijab friendly room, another young Muslim woman recalled her childhood memories of her mother trimming her hair in the privacy of their home. Her mother was a psychiatrist, not a stylist.
The experiences women were having in these salons resonated with Quhshi, “The horror stories I would hear of women telling me ‘oh they put me in the basement it’s scary and they have to do my hair down there just in case somebody walked in and saw me.”
These tales were enough to spur the young woman into paving a new way to do beauty – by opening the Brooklyn beauty shop called Le’Jemalik. Le’Jemalik, translates to ‘for your beauty,’ and is designed for women-only clients who want a safe, but luxurious space where customers can feel comfortable and relaxed.
“As soon as you walk into many salons, it’s an open space. At Le’Jemalik, it’s designed to be a beauty safe haven,” Quhshi says. She goes onto state that the goal of Le’Jemalik is for women to feel at ease taking off their headscarf, and getting their beauty needs provided for at this one-stop shop.
Le’Jamalik is open to all women. As Quhshi notes, many women simply don’t want to be around men when they are grooming. However, Le’Jamalik specializes in creating a space specifically for Muslim women. Men will be allowed in the waiting room area, however, no men – employees or otherwise – will be allowed into the salon.
Alongside basic salon services like haircuts, manicures, pedicures, etc., Le’Jamalik will also specialize in henna, eyebrow shaping and halal nail services. The space also has a bridal boutique in the basement that sells ballgowns at a discounted price.
“It’s an amazing feeling to not only be a salon owner but a Muslim and Yemeni woman in business because it’s a little more difficult in our culture to open a business on your own,” Quishi said in a Pix 11interview .