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Troubles in Saudi Beauty Salons

By DIANA AL-JASSEM | ARAB NEWS

Published: Jun 29, 2011 23:09 Updated: Jun 30, 2011 00:07

JEDDAH: With the start of the summer vacation and the wedding season, business is booming in local beauty salons in Jeddah.

However, women complain they often pay high prices, while the service they get is not up to the standard. Most of the women working in these beauty salons are not trained and are unprofessional.

Female customers frequently complain that the workers are not up-to-date about fashion and beauty.

Owners of beauty shops tend to hire women workers with only basic knowledge. They take advantage of the summer rush and hire women without proper training.

After a quick basic instruction in services, such as massage, manicure and skin care that relate to health rather than beauty, these women are made to serve customers. This often leads to serious problems.

Nadia Khan, Saudi woman and former owner of a beauty salon, recounted her tough experience working in this line of business. She said it was difficult to find qualified beauticians and health experts.

After 10 years, she made the hard decision of closing down her business. “Although I was after profit, I was looking to provide the best of services that would reflect a good image of my business,” said Khan.

However, she discovered that in most cases professionals were not easily available. This forced her to depend on trainees who were not committed to work. Even if a worker was trained to become a professional, she would leave one day to work elsewhere for a higher salary.

Khan observed that people should be more aware of the quality of service provided and be vigilant about “the many tricks owners and so-called beauty experts use.”

According to Fatima Yahya, owner of a beauty salon in Jeddah, there were two types of customers: those who are aware of the service they are getting and those who are not.

The first group is usually picky and complains most of the time. The other type usually comes from cities outside Jeddah.

“In summer, most of our customers are visitors from outside Jeddah attending happy occasions here. Oddly enough, they do not ask about credentials or care about the services we provide. In fact, they are happy with what we do, even if it was not up to the standard because of their ignorance about beauty center services,” Yahya explained.

Other beauty center owners stress that basic safety procedures are important, especially where liquid products like creams and oils are applied.

Amal Younes is the owner of a well-known beauty center in Jeddah. She told Arab News that professionals in this field were only working in hotels, spas and well-known beauty centers like hers.

“Beauty professionals who wish to work at my salon are required to produce a certificate showing that they have completed proper training course at an authorized training center,” she said.

Younes said, “When the H1N1 virus was spreading around the world, including the Middle East, we noticed a growing level of awareness among most of our customers. They insisted on receiving perfect service and on high hygiene standard. However, they stopped asking about details when there were no viruses or fears anymore.”

Many public and private sector organizations have launched training programs for women working in this field emphasizing the importance of providing a perfect service to customers at acceptable prices.

“We are launching several training courses under the supervision of the Technical and Vocational Training Corporation to make sure that all workers in beauty centers are qualified,” said Nora Siddique, owner of Al-Anamel Al-Thahabiya training center in Jeddah.

“After completion of the training, trainees are sent to the municipality to obtain permits to work in these centers,” she noted.

The municipality has also advised all beauty centers to openly display their certification in the centers, so that customers know that they are in a rule-abiding establishment.

Siddique pointed out that during high seasons, most beauty centers hire part-time workers who are almost always employed without any health checks, certification or training.

“Therefore, the municipality has increased the frequency of surprise checks on beauty centers,” she explained.


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