By Fisher Jack
*For most women, it’s no big deal. They do it all the time. But, for Muslim women, it’s a super big deal. In fact, it’s almost impossible for them.
What are we alluding to you’re wondering? The fact that for Muslim women going to a beauty salon and/or getting a haircut is real challenge … for religious reasons. Think about it: if they go to a traditional salon, they risk being seen by men without their headscarves/hajibs.
Well, for Muslim women in Massachusetts that’s changing. That state’s first salon and spa (Shamso Hair Studio and Spa) established exclusively for Muslim women wearing hijabs opened on Monday.
The woman and entrepreneur behind the salon is Shamso Ahmed. She says she’s been dreaming about this since she was a young girl, according to PRI.
At the age of 10, Shamso Ahmed fled the civil war in Somalia and arrived in Boston with her family. Two years later, she started wearing a hijab, a Muslim head covering, and that’s when she came up with the idea of opening a salon.
“I envisioned this huge, big salon that had all the services you could think of,” remembered Ahmed. She wanted a place where “women felt safe.”
Now, some two decades later, Ahmed has a degree in accounting and training in cosmetology. And she has a salon. While it’s not huge, the storefront is decked out.
“I am in love with chandeliers,” said Ahmed as she walked through the space on its first day open to the public.
The report goes on to say that what makes Shamso Hair Studio and Spa unique is not the silver and black décor — or even the henna body art or the hammam steam spa — it is who is allowed in and who is not.
According to Ahmed, the space is carefully designed to be female-only. At the door there’s a camera and a code required. The windows are frosted so people walking past can’t see in.
For Muslim women who wear hijabs, Ahmed says it’s long been hard to find a place to get your hair done.
“That has been the biggest challenge,” Ahmed said. She said some women go to a salon and befriend a stylist, asking them to come to their home. Others ask to go to a salon after it’s closed for the day or they get their hair done in a backroom. Still others rely on female relatives.