I found it rather challenging at first to find good places to get beauty treatments in the UAE. It is also interesting to see how this fits with aspects of life for women in the UAE.
I didn’t want Orange Hair
After a few weeks in the UAE I started to think about getting my hair cut and coloured. I started to look around for a few co-workers who might be able to recommend somewhere and realised this could be a challenge. Where the hair was not covered everyone seemed to have straight black hair. Typical of Indian and Filipino people. I have brown, wavy hair.
In the end I decided to go to the local mall and check out the hair-dressers myself. I soon realised this was a foolish mistake. Of course you couldn’t just peer through the windows and get a sense of the place. Men are not even allowed to cut women’s hair so women’s hair dressing salon’s are women only.
I asked at the reception desk if they know how to treat my type of hair. The next thing thing I know I was inside for a consultation and this Moroccan lady was confidently telling me what she recommended. Her English was not great so I was not entirely sure what she was suggesting but she seemed very confident so I decided to go for it. Big mistake. Instead of foils she proceeded to colour all my hair. I was briefly relieved I would not be there for hours till I realised that my hair was now orange instead of blond.
Outdated Waxing Technique
In spite of this experience I still decided to get my legs waxed at place I had seen at the same mall. For some reason being a South Korean place made me think it would be good. As it turns out they still use hot melted wax. The heat meant it was a lot more painful than the system I was used to.
These struggles to find good Beauty Treatments in the UAE made me feel very frustrated and wonder if I could ever really settle. For this reason I waited and went back to my hair dresser in South Africa to fix my hair.
Finally Finding Good Places
Fortunately a few weeks after the waxing place I came across a beauty salon that looked more modern and Western to me. Probably no coincidence it was in the same mall as the store that sells pork. One of the ladies told me that they used to use hot wax but after numerous complaints they changed to a more modern system and were now getting a lot of repeat customers. Surprisingly though she also said a lot of Arabic women still prefered the South Korean place. I think a lot of them prefer the more elaborate decor of that place.
One thing I did find bizarre was that they would do a manicure and a pedicure at the same time which was a bit of a sensory overload the first time I went. They even wanted to to a back massage at the same time.
By the time I needed to get my hair done in the UAE I had moved to Dubai. So it was easier for me to find a hair dresser that dealt mainly with Westerners.
The moral of the story is to do your research when you are in a strange country. There will always be some things the other countries do differently.