Photo/IllutrationA Muslim woman talks with a female hairdresser at UNIX’s Omiya outlet in Saitama. (Provided by UNIX)

  • Photo/Illustraion

SAITAMA--Privacy, prayer mats and alcohol-free shampoo are among the amenities at a hair salon here catering to Muslim women, whose faith restricts them from showing their hair in front of men.

The Muslimah Beauty service is available at the Omiya outlet of Tokyo-based beauty salon operator UNIX.

As women of Muslim faith can remove their hijab scarves in a dedicated private area separated by curtains to discuss hairstyle and color with a female hairdresser, they can have their hair cut and dyed without worrying about being seen by men.

Shampoo and hair treatment without alcohol are used in accordance with Islamic laws, and a special mat for praying is also available.

Dhyah, 24, a student from Indonesia who has lived in Japan for six years and uses the hair salon, said she previously had her hair treated only after returning to her home country, as there were no suitable places for her to have it cut in Japan.

"The service is very nice, as it offers a sense of relief," she said. "I'd like to recommend it to friends."

The Muslimah haircut service started being offered on a full-scale basis at the outlet in May, with prices starting from 7,000 yen ($66) for a haircut. Few beauty salons provide such services in Saitama Prefecture, according to UNIX officials.

UNIX decided to introduce the service after a meeting of tenants at a commercial complex in Chiba that houses one of its outlets.

Naoki Okamoto, 43, head of the company's sales promotion department, became interested in a campaign to attract Islamic customers at the gathering. He learned that Muslimahs were struggling in this country to find salons that they could visit without anxiety and proposed the new service after studying Islamic practices.

“The skills of Japanese hairdressers have won high praise from East Asian women, whose hair has characteristics similar to those of Japanese women,” said Okamoto, who is also a hairdresser. “I would like Muslimah customers to experience the exceptional techniques of our stylists.”

As UNIX aims to increase the number of foreign customers, the Muslimah haircut service was introduced at the Chiba outlet in November 2016. As it proved to be popular, the service was also adopted in the Omiya shop in Saitama Prefecture, where UNIX was founded.