Kenyan Salons- The New Market Place!

Women at the saloon in Nairobi

I love to go to the salon, this is a fact! I enjoy being there for various reasons. One, the gossip, and get it clear that I do not participate in the gossip. I just listen and smile and finally giggle, you know the innocent girl that I am(“wink”). Women, I really don’t get this, should you want any latest gossip on anything in this Nairobi City, go to the town salons. And you should you want estate gossip, go to the estate salons. I just realized that women cannot stop gossiping at the saloon, even on very intimate issues.

Two, which should have been my first reason, I definitely go to the salon to have my hair done. Depending on what I want to do with my hair, which is really nothing but simple lines or braids, I take anything between 4 to 6 hours. This involves undoing my hair, washing, straightening it and finally having my hair dresser plait or braid my hair.

At a Nairobi Saloon

I took my Norwegian girlfriend to the saloon with me and she kept counting the hours I spent at the salon. “You can only spend this long at the salon in Kenya, in Norway you know they charge you per hour. You have spent six hours; the least you would have paid is at least 2000 Noks (approximately Kshs. 26,000). Good to note that I never went to the salon while in I was in Norway, I had short hair which I managed on my own and when I finally got tired of it, I did my hair through a Nigeria friend, who charged me quite reasonable, (700 Noks, approximately Ksh.9800). This tells you how expensive life was on the other side and the reason as to why I just couldn’t afford to make it to the salon twice a month as I would do in Kenya.

Topical Discussions

Braiding in Progress by my saloonist

Three, I love to go to the salon just to listen to some of the discussions going on, on various topical issues in Kenya. I enjoy listening to other people’s opinions and their view on life issues. I have two salons in town that I frequent, reasons being I love the hairdressers for their perfect work and of course for the personalized services that they offer. A few days back I heard this discussion and I am actually contemplating giving it a trial. I was informed that over the years, the number of women coming to have their hair done by fellow women seems to be reducing at a very fast rate. The reason being many women now prefer to have their hair done by the male hair dressers. Good to note that the number of male hair dressers is also rising at a very fast rate. I am informed that, many women too prefer to have male gynecologists as opposed to having female gynecologists. “The truth is, men have a tender touch and are more patient with us women. Some female hairdressers are jealous of us and therefore, want to do shoddy work, just to make us look ugly.” Remarked a lady at the salon.

As the discussion got hot, one of hairdressers remarked, “I pity these men that you all flock to, many of you are slowly turning them into women. I knew of this young man, when he was a man, I saw him a few days back and I got worried. He now has long hair, wears studs and even shaves his eyebrows.” She continued to explain concerning this young man. Then swore that she will never ever let her son work in a salon.

My braids almost done.

Then another lady remarked, “I know of a couple who broke up because of the same reasons, the man was slowly changing into a lady, with all ladish mannerisms. Which lady wants to compete with a man in grooming? It cannot happen. Then, he finally lost interest in his wife, because he will spend all his days touching women and massaging them at the salon,” she added.

Evil Women

While the women seemed to be making their contributions into this story, I wast seated quietly taking notes in my head. Others commented on how evil women have become. They go to the salon dressed in hot pants and insist on having specified men to do their pedicures and of course they sit very suggestively. Mmmmm, women do we really do this?

Final stage of my braided hair.

Ok, enough information on that. But this is really what makes my day at the salon. Initially, I was used to having ladies pop by at the salon selling earrings, necklaces, nail polish, shower caps and such stuff. But, to actually see hawkers coming in with food stuffs, tomatoes, onions, rice, fish and even (boiled eggs), I just couldn’t hold my laughter. I had to take a break; I faked to be pressed so that I could make it to the loo, just to laugh it out. Be warned as a customer, if you took items on credit, you will be the next topic of discussion. “Tell you client who took my 3 kilos of pishori rice, it’s time she paid up. I need to go for more stock. I need her number, I would like to remind her she needs to clear her bill with me soon,” commanded the rice hawker as she went around pursuing us to buy her rice.

Kenyans, ain’t we just peculiar, I love it this way!


2 thoughts on “Kenyan Salons- The New Market Place!

  1. salon is the correct word, saloon is the “popular” spelling in africa and asia regions

    saloon is a bar .

    well it depends where the reader comes from or lives.

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