Hair implants have become commonplace [in Pakistan] in the past few years as wealthier urban males embrace cosmetic treatments that were once regarded as effeminate and even unIslamic. From facials to manicures, back waxes to eyebrow threading, a host of services are now on offer at a growing number of spas, salons and clinics catering to the male market.
“I never bothered with this before,” Humayun, 28, said after a facial at the Islamabad branch of Depilex Men, part of the biggest chain of beauty parlours in Pakistan. “I guess there’s just more pressure on men to look good these days.”
The trend may be confined to the upper and middle classes, estimated at 20-30 million people, but it illustrates how Western-style media, marketing and celebrity culture are changing Pakistani society. Five years ago most Pakistani men wore only the traditional salwar kameez – a loose-fitting cotton pyjama suit. The standard hairstyle was a short back and sides. Deodorant was considered unmanly. Moisturiser? Forget it.
However, in the big cities of Islamabad, Lahore, Karachi and Peshawar, where dozens of television channels are now available, men are becoming ever more conscious about their clothes, coiffures and complexions – so much so that a recent talk show on Dawn News, a new English-language television channel, asked whether Pakistan was going through a “metro-sexual” revolution.
Now all we must do is find the beautician who does Osama’s hair.