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On festive seasons, barbershop business is booming

KUWAIT: Barbers attend to customers at a barbershop in Kuwait in this file photo. – Photo by Yasser Al-Zayyat

Mostly located in heavily-populated areas, barbershops are thriving in Kuwait. Many salons have expat owners, but there are some with Kuwaiti owners too, or both. Only Kuwaitis can own the license of the barbershops though. Salons run by Indian, Pakistani and Bangladeshi barbers are cheaper and affordable, while those staffed by Filipino, Egyptian or Lebanese hairdressers are on the expensive side. A regular haircut by South Asian barbers usually costs 500 fils, while a Lebanese coiffeur can charge up to KD 35 depending on the services offered. Most of the time, if the barber is not too busy, he will offer a relaxing head massage free of charge, or for a small fee.

December is one of the busiest months of the year for hairdressers due to Christmas and New Year festivities. Many customers get a new haircut to attend gatherings and parties. Despite the abundance of salons, many people have a favorite barber. Preferred haircuts include the classic cut, which can be smooth on top or “textured”, or the “varsity” side part cut – trimmed at the sides and back and groomed on top. Or for a rather more radical look, there’s the “fusey” cut – shaved sides and long on top – favored by many men in Kuwait.

Haircuts and other works
Kuwait Times spoke with several female and male hairdressers to learn more. “On holidays, customers head to salons not only for haircuts, but also for other work such as skincare, waxing and hair straightening,” said Suad Ali, a 46-year-old women’s salon owner. “To me, cutting hair for different people is interesting and makes me close to my customers. You get to hear a different story every day and you feel like you’re a part of their lives,” she added.

She pointed out that many customers visit salons around a week or less before the holidays because most of them are expatriates who will travel to spend time with their families in their home countries, while citizens travel to enjoy the holidays outside Kuwait. “This makes us declare a state of emergency to serve as many clients as we can and as quickly as possible,” she exclaimed.

Ali says she is constantly booked – she receives 20 to 30 customers daily, while during the holidays it can reach up to 50 women. “Most of my clients come for my offer of KD 5 each for 10 types of works that also include a haircut, or they can pay for each service separately. The cost ranges from KD 5 to KD 60,” she explained.

Lamita Mahdi, 38, a female hairdresser, said prices depend on the services you get. “You can get a haircut for KD 3 to 5, but it will not be as good as one from a decent salon with expert stylists who will charge you more,” she argued. She said the number of customers on holidays can reach up to 30 daily. “Our prices range from KD 10 for a haircut and higher depending on the service required. Our staff are experts and have long experience in this field. We make sure our customers are satisfied to the max.”

Fixed prices
Barber Mohamed Faik, 40, stressed that the price for shaving is fixed with no increases, because most of the customers of his shop are known to the barbers and they have been dealing with them for years, “We cannot change the list of prices in order to preserve the reputation of the shop and protect the customer,” he said. He added that his barbershop offers haircutting services for KD 5, a shave for KD 2, and skincare for KD 10. “Prices are not different during regular days and holidays, but some customers are more generous and give tips for my extra care.” Faik said he receives 10 customers on regular days and 30 to 40 during festive days. “On holidays, we do not prefer bookings. Customers must wait because there are too many others also waiting for a haircut,” he noted.

Mahmoud Salim, 39, said prices can be different from one person to another. “I charge KD 8 for the hair and beard, but other services’ prices can differ from person to person. But we give more care to our customers during the holidays to look their best,” he said. “We receive on regular days 10 to 20 customers and up to 30 during holidays. We prefer that clients make a reservation before they come to my salon.”

By Faten Omar

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