The traditional barbershops and coiffeurs in Turkey have always been held in high regard by the Turks who often partake in their patronage. The widespread tradition of visiting your local barber or hairdresser is a pressing need for many in the country and a regular ritual that has become a normal part of daily life. Therefore, for many who have been anxiously waiting to resume their self-care routine, the fact that this week barbershops and coiffeurs will be resuming service may come as a very welcome respite.
None could argue that the coiffeur routine in Turkey is quite unique and a very special way to pamper yourself. Not only do coiffeurs in Turkey offer haircuts and styling, but the blowout, referred to as “fön,” many times very much takes the forefront and can even serve as the sole reason a customer will come into the shop. The secret’s out Turkish ladies! As the reason behind the majority of the beautifully styled and coiffed hairdos running around everywhere is because many women simply stop into the coiffeur just to get a proper blowout. There are specific terms for the styling, such as “düz,” which means straight, “dalgalı,” which refers to wavy, “kırık,” which is wavy on the bottom and “havalı” meaning giving hair some volume. The variety of coloring options is also off the chart, and it is quite normal for brunettes to go platinum blond and vice versa or opt for more time-consuming transitions such as ombre, balayage, röfle (meaning highlights) and meç for streaks. In Turkey, almost everyone, male or female, is familiar with these terms, simply because going to the coiffeur is such a popular pastime.
There have even been reality television show competitions, which sought out the country’s most stylish hair artists, and those contenders are quickly becoming household names. The coiffeurs in Turkey also go way beyond the art of hairdressing and offer full-service pampering with waxing and threading also added to the menu, in addition to availing of manicures and pedicures. While this is now changing, it used to be that you could easily just walk in and take a chair. The worst-case scenario is that you enjoy a cup of tea or Turkish coffee and chat with the hairdressers and customers as you wait.
The barbershops have also always served as a readily available locale for men to meet up, have their hair cut and get a close shave, which is done with a blade, as well as get a relaxing head massage, much-welcomed commentary and dare I say, gossip. With barbershops, reservations are nearly nil, while cologne is always amply offered at the till. While all of these traditions survived the test of time, for the time being, customers must expect and welcome the fact that these things may be a bit different.
Be aware of the guidelines
While this week coiffeurs and barbers are resuming service, they will be doing so in an extremely controlled environment and manner, with different rules in place to ensure the full safety of their employees and customers. According to the new rules in place to minimize contact with others, it is of paramount importance that customers of hairdressers and barbershops call before to reserve their time slot. This will not only allow the hairdressers to prepare the customer’s seat and the appliances used, such as disinfecting them, but this will also ensure that there are fewer people in an enclosed space by mitigating waiting time.
Hairdressers and barbers, as well as their customers, should all be donning masks. As it may be difficult to get around areas such as the ears, there may be times customers will have to remove their mask or move it around and close their mouths and noses with their hands and thus it is pertinent that people be aware of what their hands have handled at all times and should remain diligent about sterilizing them.
It is advised that customers arriving for a hair cut should wash their hair in their own homes prior, simply to decrease the amount of necessary contact during the coiffeur session. Meanwhile, it is not advised that customers get their hair blow-dried, sorry ladies, as one of the main catalysts of spreading the virus could be the circulation of air created by the blow dryer. It is also recommended that customers not seek out shaving, waxing or threading treatments at the moment, as all require customers and stylists to be in very close proximity. Experts say a pedicure could be possible if it is performed with a space of 1.5 meters between the customer and pedicurist.
Unfortunately, the joyous banter that generally takes place during the hairdresser ritual is also strongly discouraged. On the plus side, introverts can rejoice in the fact that these days it is imperative that the stylist actually not ask you any questions beyond what is necessary for getting a proper haircut. Furthermore, both customers and stylists are advised to speak toward the mirror when conversing to ensure there is no direct contact of potential virus disbursement and to keep the chatter to a minimum. Just remember to remain diligent and don’t go the hairdresser as a luxury, but as a necessity. Do, however, go for the cologne if offered. In these times of the coronavirus, Turkey’s popular lemon cologne has become a hot commodity and rightly so, as it can help disinfect and ensure everyone's safety at the hairdressers.