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Salon alaykum! Ladies-only beauty shop caters to Muslim modesty

Safe haven: Beautician Huda Quhshi designed Le’Jemalik as a beauty safe haven for Muslim women to quite literally let their hair down.
Brooklyn Paper
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A Muslim beautician is opening a women-only salon in Bay Ridge so hijab-wearing ladies can literally let their hair down without fear a man will walk in while they are baring more than they ought to.

As a measure of modesty, many observant Muslim women do not let men outside of their immediate family see their hair — some borough beauty shops accommodate the requirement by shuffling clients off to back rooms or basements where they are out of the public eye, but the founder of forthcoming Le’Jemalik Salon and Boutique on Fifth Avenue wanted to give fellow Muslim women a more dignified solution to a unique conflict, she said.

“I’ve heard client horror stories where they had to be taken down to the basement so they could get their hair done,” said owner Huda Quhshi, who was born and raised in Greenpoint. “Just experiencing and hearing that over the years — where people have to be taken to a back-room closet just to get their hair done — I said, ‘You know what? I have to do this for them. They need this. We need this.’ ”

Bay Ridge is peppered with beauty salons that advertise private rooms for covered gals, but man-free salons where ladies can luxuriate without the stress of strangers popping in is a rarity — and Le’Jemalik is likely the first of its kind in Bay Ridge, according to a rep with the Arab American Association of New York.

It is refreshing to find a beauty parlor that caters to specific religious needs, said one Muslim woman.

“It’s great that it’s just women, because when men come in we literally have to cover up in the middle of getting our hair done. We’re a huge population, but we are very overlooked. And I think it’s because people don’t understand the culture,” said Bensonhurster Yomna Negm. “But here I know a man isn’t going to suddenly come in. It’s a beautiful idea. It’s like a beauty safe haven.”

The reception area of Le’Jemalik — which means “for beauty” in Arabic — separates clients from the main space and allows husbands and brothers to make appointments or wait for their loved ones without impinging on salon-goers’ modesty.

The joint is intended as a one-stop shop where women can get their hair cut and styled, nails painted, makeup done, and even receive skin-care treatments.

The basement boasts a bridal boutique that features modest threads for Muslim women who still want to leave a little to the imagination.

Quhshi, a 37-year-old licensed cosmetologist specializing in bridal hair and makeup, has catered to her family’s beauty needs since age 10 when she began painting henna tattoos on her mother. By 14 she was doing her family and friends’ hair and makeup for special occasions, and by 19 she was painting henna tattoos on street-fair revelers across the borough.

She opened her parlor in Bay Ridge, because much of her freelance clientele was from the area, she said.

The salon will begin accepting clients on Jan. 29.

Le’Jemalik Salon and Boutique [6915 Fifth Ave. between Ovington and Bay Ridge avenues, www.lejemalik.com, (917) 378–8993].

Reach reporter Caroline Spivack at cspivack@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260–2523. Follow her on Twitter @carolinespivack.
Updated 1:53 pm, January 11, 2017
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Reasonable discourse

Jim from Cobble Hill says:
OK, totally not legal but whatever... a magical sky-daddy commands it.
Jan. 11, 2017, 8:13 am
Fred from Windsor Terrace says:
What these women really need is to abandon a cult that requires them to hide their beauty in public.
Jan. 11, 2017, 8:36 am
Daniel Webster from Grammar School says:
S/B baring, not bearing. Unless that sentence is meant ironically.
Jan. 11, 2017, 9:42 am
George from Bay Ridge says:
Awesome - let's promote/impose this idea that women being "modest" equates morality. To avoid criticizing mythological beliefs, we condone and applaud practices that treat women as second class citizens. Very upsetting.
Jan. 11, 2017, 10:21 am
Boris from Borough Park says:
This is a disgusting example of misogyny.
Jan. 11, 2017, 10:52 am
Da Truth says:
Modesty? Sounds more like vanity.
Hipocracy also, they're just getting dolled up so that guys will want to bone them
Jan. 11, 2017, 11:58 am
Kit from Bay Ridge says:
Sounds like a great idea. A young entrepreneur identified something that is needed and wanted that doesn't exist and decided to provide it. I applaud that kind of entrepreneurship, especially compared to those who try to open the exact same kind of business that already exists on every block. I wish Huda Quhshi the best of luck with her new venture. I'm assuming that all women are welcome, not just Muslim women.
Jan. 11, 2017, 3:23 pm
Fred from Windsor Terrace says:
Kit, would you feel just as good if some business person identified an untapped market selling Confederate flags and paraphernalia?
Jan. 11, 2017, 4:20 pm
old time brooklyn from lsope says:
are orthodox Jewish women welcome?
Jan. 11, 2017, 6:08 pm
Joe from Greenpoint says:
Islam, Christianity and Judaism are all ridiculous when taken literally.
Jan. 11, 2017, 7:40 pm
Kit from Bay Ridge says:
Fred, no, I would not feel good about a business dedicated to selling confederate flags. Because I don't equate Islam with slavery. I don't equate any religion with the extremists of that faith. In the US, freedom of religion is a sacred right. Not just one religion or some religions but all religions. Although I'm not a member of either religion myself, both Orthodox Jewish women and some Muslim women believe in hiding their hair in public. I don't have to agree with that belief to respect their right to believe it. And this salon sounds like it will be a comfortable space for women who want it.
Jan. 11, 2017, 10:13 pm
Hattie from Brooklyn Heights says:
Why spend forever getting done up just to tie a black kerchief around your head? None of them look good wearing that thing. Why waste your money?
Jan. 12, 2017, 3:43 am
Fred from Windsor Terrace says:
Kit, your approval is very selective. You should associate Islam with slavery, since Islam not only captured and sold millions of Africans into slavery, it also enslaved millions of non Africans, including the Slavs and Hindus. As a religion Islam explicitly permits slavery. And Islam's treatment of women is a form of slavery.

But enough of reality. Go back to defending this "religion."
Jan. 12, 2017, 6:29 am
Tony V says:
Fred -- please go upstate to certain villages where you will be met by ARMED orthodox men who will determine whether you are allowed to pass on government owned roads. Then tell me where the real problem is. Get out of Brooklyn and open your narrow mind and experiences outside Winsome Terrace.
Jan. 12, 2017, 12:36 pm
Fred from Windsor Terrace says:
@ Tony

The article we are discussing deals with Islam. Perhaps you missed that. I have not visited the "villages" you allude to but rest assured that I don't condone any form of religious repression, whether Islamic in origin or Jewish in origin. I think reasonable people should oppose totalitarian oppression, wherever it arises or whatever its source. The repression of women by Islam and by the Hasidic communities is disgusting. However, the Hasidic communities don't represent a global threat of theologically justified violence to non-Hasids. Islam does represent such a threat to non-Muslims. Therefore, I think it reasonable to construe Islam as the greater threat.
Jan. 12, 2017, 2:35 pm
Pootie Foo from BK says:
As a muslim, I welcome this. At normal salons men just stare at your bagina while you get it Brazilian waxed. That is against out religion. At this salon our only worry is lesbians. Much better.
Jan. 12, 2017, 5:41 pm
old time brooklyn from slope says:
Tony - care to provide a fact - I have been through them many times as I have property nearby andd never an issue
Jan. 12, 2017, 10:03 pm
Selina Brodey from Park Slope says:
What is their policy regarding trans-women?

Tony - you're just bitter because these women won't allow you in their salon. I guess that wounded your oh-so-fragile masculinity! Boo-hoo!
Jan. 13, 2017, 5:19 am
Bkmanhatman from Nubrucklyn says:
Since this is a hairdresser for modesty, perhaps they should set up shop in Burrough Park.
Jan. 13, 2017, 11:05 am
Virginia says:
If this is a "beauty" salon, then why is the girl in the photo so unattractive??
Jan. 14, 2017, 8:20 am
samir kabir from cobble hill says:
More males than females responded to this article. Go figure.
Jan. 19, 2017, 6:46 am

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