Lifestyle & Belief

Getting a Hijab Haircut

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Yasmin Shafiq

"I think all brown Muslim girls, they get layers, long layers. Everybody does that, but do you have any suggestions for something that's like that but a little bit different?"

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Yasmin Shafiq, 27, lives in Virginia. She's the daughter of Bangladeshi immigrants who came to the US in the 1970s. Shafiq wears a headscarf. She recently went to a hair salon in Herndon, Virginia, near Washington, DC, that caters to Muslim women who wear hijab. She told her story to producer Jonna McKone.

"This hair salon does a lot of people who wear scarves. So they're used to, we want something practical that's easy to keep under a scarf and easy to take care of.

"What's great about this salon is that they have a private room with a shampoo station in it. Sometimes women who wear hijab go to hair salons, and the shampoo station is outside whatever private room they're getting their hair cut in. This place is nice because you can get your hair shampooed and cut in the same room.

"There's a JC Penney that has a hair salon nearby and they kind of stick you in a back storage room and it's okay, you still get a haircut, but it's not the greatest atmosphere and you do kind of feel like you're being shoved in a corner. It's nice when they have the real chairs, especially when you're going to pay that much for a haircut.

"I've taken my scarf off because you can't get your haircut with your scarf on. This is the best part – the shampoo.

"I brought my mom here a month ago, and my mom has never had a professional haircut. It's not something she's ever cared to do or to spend the money on.

"My mom wears a scarf, too, so she's never felt the need to get a professional haircut. I brought her here to do it and she was amused by it. Her mentality is, I could do this at home, but I'll humor you and go with you.

"I know this part stinks for the hairstylist because I'm going to tie it up. There are a million different ways to tie your headscarf. I am not that talented, so I usually stick to one or two, depending on the shape of your scarf. If it's a long rectangular scarf, I don't use pins, I just wrap it around. Some people tie it in like a bun and there's like websites you can go on.

"Anything you do for your appearance is for yourself as much as anyone else. Obviously, I don't get compliments on my hair when I go out. That's not what I'm looking for. But I want to look at myself in the mirror and say, 'hey, I like my haircut.'"
Update: A previous version of this story incorrectly spelled Yasmin Shafiq's name. We regret the error.

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