Turkmenistan’s ‘Beauty Ban’ Forces Salons To Go Underground

Robert Hundley

ASHGABAT — Several elegance salons in Turkmenistan are defying a ban by the authoritarian governing administration on particular style components — these as faux eyelashes and acrylic nails — and carry on to “secretly” give the forbidden services to dependable buyers, Ashgabat resident say.

On paper, most attractiveness salons and women’s hairdressers only provide constrained expert services like trimming hair and simple manicures and pedicures that are not included by the ban.

But for their loyal buyers several salons keep on to give their whole array of merchandise and companies powering closed doors, numerous clients and salon house owners informed RFE/RL on situation of anonymity.

Fearing random police raids on the salons, some beauticians have even started accepting clients in their residences or those of their clientele, they additional.

Given that April, Turkmenistan has proficiently banned gals from wearing “excessive” make-up, restricted-fitting clothes, wrong nails, and eyelashes as part of a broader established of constraints on women’s freedoms.

Microblading eyebrows — which is hugely well-liked among Turkmen females — has also been banned.

Girls have also been purchased not to dye or bleach their hair, get Botox injections, or cosmetically improve their breasts or lips.

The ban arrived with no official announcement or rationalization and is being enforced by legislation enforcement companies and women’s employers.

Hundreds of gals have been stopped by law enforcement for the reason that they had been suspected of owning lip fillers or bogus eyelashes. It is estimated that dozens of girls have misplaced their work at the nationwide airline and railway companies for allegedly owning breast implants and/or lip fillers.

But the official threats have accomplished small to discourage gals from pursuing their natural beauty routines, women of all ages say. Several continue on to have their hair and nails finished, tint their eyebrows, and wear large make-up regardless of the ban.

A compact variation is that some now opt for nail polish hues that are a lot more refined, the salon house owners claimed. Far more of people wearing phony eyelashes are opting for medium duration to try to make them a lot less apparent.

Enterprise Is Booming

Enterprise is booming for beauticians and hairdressers who have taken a part of their business underground to evade the draconian ban.

A person Ashgabat resident explained the buyers and salons agree in progress about the company and that the clients ordinarily occur via a again door.

For bridal make-up, the wife-to-be visits the salon with various friends who get turns going for walks all-around the salon watching out for law enforcement who may well be coming to raid the premises, various sources claimed.

Turkmen President Serdar Berdymukhammedov (file photo)

Turkmen President Serdar Berdymukhammedov (file picture)

The constraints have been initial imposed soon after new Turkmen President Serdar Berdymukhammedov came to electric power in March. He took around the presidency from his father, Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov, in a managed election widely witnessed as a mere formality in legalizing the transfer of political energy.

As component of the limitations, women ended up also banned from sitting in the entrance seats of personal and community vehicles. Motorists with women in the entrance seat of their cars have been threatened with hefty fines for breaching the new regulations.

In some metropolitan areas, police have rounded up couples holding hands in general public. Various people who were being briefly detained for this sort of a community screen of passion explained to RFE/RL that they had been produced right after remaining presented a lecture on Turkmen traditional values and the woman’s area in the household and culture.

The partners were threatened with unspecified harsh punishments for any repeat offense, eyewitnesses reported.

When the ban initially arrived into outcome in early April, several beauty salons had been fined right after police raids or went out of small business immediately after dropping so a lot of of their prospects.

But numerous in Ashgabat say that the limits have because loosened and law enforcement raids are much less frequent.

In accordance to several Ashgabat citizens, some officers are now utilizing the ban to extort bribes from the “offenders.”

Turkmenistan is one particular of the most repressive nations around the world in the entire world. It’s also plagued by prevalent poverty, unemployment, and food shortages even with sitting atop one the world’s major reserves of natural gas.

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