I am a divorced grandmother. I keep my hair covered at all times with a sheital or a snood. My hair is seen, at the hairdresser once a month. I have difficult kinky hair, that is difficult to manage. Over time I figured out why I had severe hair loss when I went to the hair dresser or beauty parlors. I found a Hispanic woman who was willing to listen to my plight and do it differently from the other beauticians. We have been together for at least 3 years, exclusively. With the economic crunch she moved her business in with a male barber. A small establishment with only 2 seats. One for him and one for her. My hair takes an hour. His customers take about 15 minutes. Am I able to stay with her. Can I have my hair washed, conditioned, pin-curled, blow-dried and straighten there. My hair has grown very nicely under her care.

Answer:

You may continue to get you hair washed and treated at the hairdressers. It is preferable for you to arrange for an “unpopular” time, or a time when the male barber is not working, so as to avoid being seen by men.

The answer assumes that the hairdresser is outside Israel, in a location where most people are not Jewish.

Sources: There is an obligation for divorced and widowed women to cover their hair. Although the obligation can sometimes be waived for a “great need,” such as losing one’s income (see Iggros Moshe, Even Ha’ezer I, no. 57), the need of taking care of one’s hair would not constitute a great enough need for this. However, outside of Israel one has to take into account the fact that the people going to the male barber are predominantly non-Jews, in front of whom there would not be a prohibition of displaying uncovered hair, and the men coming in can be assumed to be non-Jews. Nonetheless, it is preferable to arrange for a quiet time, out of concern that Jewish men should come in.

One Response to “Uncovered Hair at Hairdresser’s”

  1. Thank you very much. It is such a relief to know that I can continue. I didn’t here from DIN, so I thought my question wasn’t appropriate. I live in the United States. My hairdresser and I try hard to choose a time that is quiet. Very late evening. Also, the men are not Jewish to my knowledge. I have been waiting for an answer, so now I will try to get my hair done tomorrow.
    Thank you.

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