Trendsetter. Samantha Lloyd from the Wales became the UAE's first female barber this July Image Credit: Atiq ur Rehman/Gulf News

Dubai: Two months after a Dubai barbershop recruited the UAE’s first female barber, the novel tribe, it turns out, is increasing.

Storming a male bastion as it were, Dubai Design District-based Chaps & Co roped in Australian barber Bianca Haslop last fortnight, encouraged by the huge success of its first female barber Samantha Lloyd who came on board in July.

Stereotype

“Our female barbers have catered to over 250 customers since they’ve joined us,” said Jordan Davies, owner of Chaps & Co, who secured special permission from Dubai Design District to break the stereotype of male barbers and female hairdressers in the UAE.

“We are in a design area and we wanted to do something that would set us apart,” said Davies.

Lloyd, 29, talks of how she initially faced the challenge of convincing her customers that female barbers were just as good, or even better than their male counterparts. “I had to gain their confidence as men in general don’t think women can do a great job with their hair,” she said.

While female hairdressers were common enough in the UAE, Lloyd said female barbers were unheard of until her arrival.

So what’s the difference between a hairdresser and a barber?

“A hairdresser deals with hair length below the earlobe whereas a barber employs clippers doing skin fades and more detailed work closer to the scalp. As barbers, we use cutthroat razors which are straight blades and require specialised training. Hairdressers can’t do this.”

Originally from Wales in the UK, Lloyd said she received training as a barber in Brisbane, Australia, where she worked for seven years, before moving to Ireland and then Dubai. Having set a precedent here, she said she carries the huge responsibility of maintaining the highest standards of her profession.

Lloyd’s head start has made the task easier for Haslop, who has also trained in Perth, Australia. The 21-year-old Australian said, “By the time I joined the barbershop, people had gotten used to the idea of a female barber. So it hasn’t been that difficult for me. Most men who come here have never had their hair cut by a woman. So we need to earn their trust.”

The plush Chaps & Co, which is located on the mezzanine floor of D3’s Building 6, currently has three male barbers and the two female barbers. Davies, who doesn’t rule out getting more women on board, said, “Most of our customers book online and now know what to expect as they choose from the list of barbers.”

One customer, who did not want to be named, said, “I find it refreshing to get my hair cut by a female barber.”

Another said, “It was a pleasant surprise initially. I find women have better attention to detail than men.”

A simple haircut costs Dh115 while a beard trim costs Dh55.