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

ASHGABAT — Quite a few magnificence salons in Turkmenistan are defying a ban by the authoritarian governing administration on specified vogue equipment — these types of as phony eyelashes and acrylic nails — and carry on to “secretly” present the forbidden providers to dependable prospects, Ashgabat resident say.

On paper, most elegance salons and women’s hairdressers only provide limited expert services like trimming hair and very simple manicures and pedicures that are not lined by the ban.

But for their faithful consumers numerous salons keep on to offer their full array of items and providers powering shut doorways, a lot of clientele and salon entrepreneurs told RFE/RL on issue of anonymity.

Fearing random police raids on the salons, some beauticians have even commenced accepting buyers in their properties or those of their clients, they extra.

Considering that April, Turkmenistan has correctly banned gals from donning “excessive” make-up, tight-fitting dresses, bogus nails, and eyelashes as aspect of a broader set of restrictions on women’s freedoms.

Microblading eyebrows — which is hugely well-known between Turkmen women of all ages — has also been banned.

Women of all ages have also been ordered not to dye or bleach their hair, get Botox injections, or cosmetically boost their breasts or lips.

The ban came with no formal announcement or explanation and is getting enforced by law enforcement organizations and women’s companies.

Hundreds of women have been stopped by police mainly because they ended up suspected of acquiring lip fillers or bogus eyelashes. It is approximated that dozens of girls have missing their careers at the countrywide airline and railway providers for allegedly obtaining breast implants and/or lip fillers.

But the official threats have finished small to discourage gals from pursuing their beauty routines, females say. Several carry on to have their hair and nails accomplished, tint their eyebrows, and put on major make-up inspite of the ban.

A little change is that some now pick out nail polish hues that are a lot more delicate, the salon entrepreneurs claimed. Far more of those putting on phony eyelashes are opting for medium length to check out to make them significantly less noticeable.

Business enterprise Is Booming

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

One particular Ashgabat resident claimed the customers and salons agree in advance about the support and that the purchasers usually come by means of a again doorway.

For bridal make-up, the spouse-to-be visits the salon with a number of mates who just take turns walking around the salon observing out for law enforcement who may possibly be coming to raid the premises, several sources said.

Turkmen President Serdar Berdymukhammedov (file photo)

Turkmen President Serdar Berdymukhammedov (file photograph)

The limits ended up to start with imposed shortly immediately after new Turkmen President Serdar Berdymukhammedov came to energy in March. He took over the presidency from his father, Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov, in a managed election greatly noticed as a mere formality in legalizing the transfer of political electrical power.

As aspect of the constraints, women were also banned from sitting in the entrance seats of non-public and community autos. Motorists with girls in the entrance seat of their autos have been threatened with significant fines for breaching the new procedures.

In some cities, law enforcement have rounded up couples keeping fingers in community. Several people who were briefly detained for this kind of a general public show of affection advised RFE/RL that they were being unveiled soon after currently being presented a lecture on Turkmen conventional values and the woman’s place in the family members and culture.

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

When the ban first came into outcome in early April, a lot of elegance salons ended up fined following law enforcement raids or went out of small business following dropping so numerous of their customers.

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

In accordance to quite a few Ashgabat people, some officers are now applying the ban to extort bribes from the “offenders.”

Turkmenistan is 1 of the most repressive countries in the entire world. It is also plagued by popular poverty, unemployment, and foods shortages regardless of sitting atop just one the world’s most significant reserves of purely natural gas.