Pretty boys come to town


Maha Mussadaq June 27, 2010

ISLAMABAD: Grooming and self-care is no longer a domain restricted just to women. Various salons across the capital have opened their doors to a growing number of men who have warmed up to the idea of personal grooming.

Ahmed, a 25-year-old banker, believes that salons provide a “much needed relief” from the daily stress of the work environment. “Just like the number of women going to gyms is increasing, more and more men are going to salons,” Ahmed said.

The salons in Islamabad that cater to men include Aslam’s, Nirvana, Marriott, Depilex men and Micheal K. Typical services offered by these salons include haircuts, hair colour, makeup services, hair treatment, shaving, beard trimming, various types of massages, facials, pedicures, treatments for falling hair, peeling, dandruff control and hair oil massage. Some salons also offer bridegroom packages and image consultancy services for the ‘uninitiated’.

Mohammad Aslam, owner of Aslam’s Hair Dressing Salon, has been running the parlour for the past 14 years and is the pioneer of men’s salons in the city.  “There is more competition in the market now, which is good for men as there are more and more services being provided to them,” he said.

Aslam’s customer base has greatly increased over the past few years. Most men are aged 18 to 32 and come for hair rebonding, a procedure that straightens the hair and adds shine to them.

Haider, a 20-year-old student, prefers a parlour over a regular barber for his haircuts. “I feel the rise of male models and the image portrayed by movies is making us younger men very conscious of our looks,” he said.

Imtiaz Ali, a 27-year-old patron of these salons, said, “The first time I went for a facial was before my wedding. Now I often go, [as I have discovered] it’s something that is really relaxing and gives a fresh feeling.”

However, not everyone goes to these salons for cosmetic purposes. Muhammad Khan, a diabetic, said he started going to these salons after his doctor advised him to go for regular foot massages. The massages, he said, helped blood circulation in his body, which was otherwise blocked due to wearing boots all day long in the office.

Beauty might be in the eye of the beholder but these beauticians are unwilling to leave everything to perception. They have a service to offer. They believe they can make men look better. And men in the capital are responding in growing numbers. Like Male Beautician Aslam says, “Who doesn’t want to look good?”

Published in The Express Tribune, June 28th, 2010.

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