Playing with fire: Hot trends in Gaza's barber shops

Playing with fire: Hot trends in Gaza's barber shops
2 min read
07 Feb, 2017
Meet the Palestinian barber in Gaza styling hair with fire - could these fiery haircuts be the way forward?
Palestinian barber, Ramadan Edwan, styles a customer's hair with fire [Gaza, Arafat]
In Gaza, survival is an art.

The book of the Gaza Strip does not only consist of wars, suffering and poverty; there are countless stories of perseverance in this crowded area. Palestinians living in this enclave find themselves mastering crafts and skills, pushing boundaries others cannot.

The siege did not silence them, it merely fueled them to continue to push and develop their lives using whatever means available to them, often in an innovative manner.

Located in Southern Gaza, Ramadan Edwan is a 37 year old barber, who since 1998 has his own modern salon offering new - and eerie - styles to his customers.

Far away from traditional and dull hair styles, Edwan offers a new barbering style: using an open flame.

"I've been a barber for nearly two decades, so inventing and applying new methods is not that difficult," Edwan explains. "Many people in the Strip, especially those that saw my video make the rounds on social media, think this method is new, but it's already around outside Gaza."

"I self-developed this method my way to accommodate the Palestinian culture and nature," Edwan adds.

Barbers not subject to siege can easily access technology and development, and their skills are often aided by machines. This is a luxury not afforded to Edwan.

"On the other hand," Edwan explains, "in Gaza, we have professionals who make the impossible possible, even if so many think we are incomparable to those who reside outside the area."

Talking about his customers, Edwan says most of them are the younger demographic. "Gazan youth love to venture and try new things, this method was developed for them."

The professional barber adds that many youth come to his salon to experience this method, even if their hair does not need it. Treating with fire, Edwan explains, allows the hair to become smooth, soft and much easier to comb.

"This method activates the blood circulation, as well as nourishes the hair and strengthens its roots."

Ahmed, one of Edwan's customers, describes how despite feeling apprehensive when first seeing the video clip of Edwan's new hair styling technique on YouTube, decided to try it.

"At the beginning, I was really scared to try this new method as the barber uses fire, but I decided to go for it anyway, and amazingly, it was a piece of cake - I didn't feel a thing."