Sometimes I enjoy Beirut’s three-hour electricity cuts and half-day water shortages. Just as the taxi may be an alternative social space for one person to voice complaints about the government or the traffic jam, the salon, too, is a social space. Admittedly for me, it’s also a way to let go of my frustration with those ordinary electricity cuts, or discard of the rampant rage I feel for the unavailability of a basic need, like water.

Especially during some memorable hot summer days without a generator, these salons were occasionally one of my selected escape routes. Thanks to experiences with hairdressers, hair stylists, makeup artists, eyebrows artists, and manicurists, these are five of the many perks to visiting a salon in Lebanon.

A Blow-dry Is So Cheap:

Too lazy to wash your hair? (Don’t judge…we’ve all been there.) Enjoying that lovely period of hot summer days with daylong water cuts? Run to your local salon and have a hair wash and blow-dry for no more than ten dollars.Compared to the United States’ minimum charge of thirty to forty dollars for the exact same service, this is a steal! And seriously, these Lebanese really know how to wash a head of hair.

Stylish Haircuts at a Bargain:

Sure, you can get a cheap haircut in the states. But the quality of that haircut is going to be less than flattering; somehow you never quite receive the haircut you’ve asked for. But in Lebanon, you can skip the mortifying what-did-you-do-to-my-hair experience. No words necessary: the hairstylist will know exactly what you want and exceed your expectations andwith the same price of your shoddy cut from the U.S.—at a whopping ten dollars, give or take some.

Eyebrow Shaping:

Um, so, unlike the states, they actually know how to shape eyebrows here. Some will even color in your eyebrows, free of charge. Now, since I’m a no-frills person, I usually have to reject this part. Be prepared to act harshly and react boldly. The Lebanese think they know you better than you know yourself and your needs.

Coffee and Tea Galore:

What’s better than a cheap haircut, hairstyle, and stylish set of eyebrows for under 25 to 30 bucks, than to receive all of that with an offered beverage? Set foot into any Lebanese salon, and you will most certainly be offered tea or the beloved Nescafé. Just take care not to spill a little coffee on your lap while the hairdresser is tugging at your head and cutting snippets of your hair.

Male Hairdressers:

Though I’ve been told there are a number of female hairdressers and stylists around the area, I have never once received a haircut or hairdo from a female; it has always been done by a member of the opposite sex—and usually, to my knowledge, a heterosexual. Ask any hetero and single female, and this might be the number one perk to visiting a salon in Lebanon.

But let me leave you with a fair warning...

As Danielle Baiz found, less is definitely not more in Lebanon, and in fact, less is less than desirable. Leave absolutely no question unanswered at the salon. You will be persuaded to have just a little more cut off, or keep your eyebrows just a little thicker than usual, or add just a tad bit more mascara or blush. Lebanese love their drama. And this goes right down to cutting off a dramatic five inches instead of the mere trim you initially requested.

What’s your favorite part of visiting a salon in Lebanon?


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