Hairdressing, previously a women-dominated business, is gradually being taken over by men. More young men in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory (FTC), have not only encroached into the hairstyling business but have also wrestled it from the female as many ladies now prefer male hairstylists to their female counterparts.
The preference for male hairstylists still remains a mystery to many, as they don’t require luxurious shops to attract or win the patronage of their customers. Daily Sun’s interaction confirmed that since most ladies in Abuja now prefer male hairdressers any female competitor close to their shops either folds up for other businesses or relocate.
What is so special about the male hairdressers? Are they really better than the females that make customers wait endlessly for them even when most female hairdressers are free? However, it was revealed that it has everything to do with emotions and caring, just as they claim that the females are harsher in handling them.
A resident of Kuje, Joy Apkan, said she prefers male hairstylists to their female counterparts: “It is not that male hairstylists are better than their female counterparts but I still prefer them because they give me special attention. I am this type that is afraid of hair making because of the pain but since I started patronising male hairstylists, the pains have now become a thing of the past.
“Even as their prices are higher than that of the women, I still cannot stop patronising them because of their gentle touch and special attention. Though I have a permanent customer, however, whenever he is too busy and I can’t wait, I visit other free male hairstylists and enjoy same sweet comfort of painless hair do.”
A resident of Galadima, Gladys Ogboko, confessed: “I prefer male hairstylists not because they are of the opposite sex but because they know why they are in the market. The saying by most people that ladies prefer them because they enjoy their touch is false.
“They are professionals, once they make your hair, you won’t mind carrying it for months. A visit to some shops owned by men in places like Maitama, Wuse and Utako will convince you that they know what they are out for.
“The men-owned shops are usually very busy compared to their female counterparts. Most female hairstylists close to their shops find it very difficult to get customers. Despite their charges, most of us still prefer them because they give us what we want.”
Nonye Ani from Kubwa could not agree less: “It is no longer news that men have taken over the business of hair making, but what has continue to baffle me is the extent they have won the hearts of women. I have tried to compare both and have discovered that they are not that better than the females. What attracts the women to them is still a mystery to me.”
Some female hairstylists agreed that ladies now prefer their male counterparts. Rejecting the claims by some customers that they treat them carelessly and shabbily, they also argued that male stylists don’t make better hair than them, stressing that they still can’t tell why most women prefer them.
A hairdresser in Wuse market, Justina Adah, lamented their source of livelihood is seriously under threat of being taken over by the male folk. She added that the business previously a women affair has been taken over by their male counterparts: “Young men in their numbers are going into the business daily, mainly due to lack of employment because most of them know nothing about the trade.
“It is not that they do better hair than us but what make our fellow women to prefer them to us still remain a mystery to us, even with the exorbitant prices they charge. Initially, when I started this business, I make lots of money but these days you will be begging them yet they will prefer to go and wait for the male who still have two or three customers before them.
“I summoned courage to ask one of my former customers why they now prefer male hairdressers to us. She said it is because they treat them like babies and their hands are not painful. When I told her that I will change, she simply said that I won’t understand. So I feel that there is more to it than the ordinary fixing of hair.”
Hassana Ali also confirmed that men have taken over the business: “It is no longer easy for we, female hairdressers since males joined the business. Most of my customers have stopped patronising me not that the male do more beautiful work than me. I can’t just tell why ladies prefer them to us. When you ask some they will say their hands on their hair or legs calm their nerves.”
Male hairdressers, on the other hand, agreed that they have more customers than their female counterparts, but insisted that the business is not what one should rely on. They equally confessed that though they make huge amount of money from their customers, the money still returns to the hands that give it.
John Apa from Jabi said the difference between them and the female hairstylists is the patience to listen to customers and give them what they want:
“I always follow trends to know exactly what is reigning and how to perfectly make them. Some customers come with styles they found on Instagram and Google. They are always in search of a stylist who can give them exactly the same styles. I always follow trends to enable me maintain my customers.
“Although I make lots of money from this business, it is not easy to save because hands that give you the money will still collect it. I don’t want to say what most of us lose but before you know what, you are already in relationship with them and they collect the money back. It is as if this business has spirit attached to it that attracts women to male hairstylists and it is very difficult to resist it.”
A male stylist, Francis, from Maitama, agreed that the business is promising but most of their customers sexually harass them: “We the male hairstylists make lots of money from this business especially when we go out for home service. This home service you hear us talking about may not be only the making of the hair because some customers after making their hair they start seducing you.
“Most of these ladies highly connected people in the society; both your acceptance and refusal to play the game have a price to pay. On the other hand are also some bankrupt runs-girls that will usually disturb you to make their hair in exchange for sex. So, yes there is money in the business but if you don’t have self-control you may end up returning everything you have acquired to the women or even losing your life.”