Saudi Arabia: Different Strokes for Different Folks – Customs

I have discovered that the Arab states have many customs which are different from those in America.  Not only that, but the customs can vary from one Arab state to another.  This post will focus on distinctions in grooming.

For example, in Saudi Arabia it is customary for women to remove facial and body hair.  The hair removal process can be done by waxing, shaving, laser or a traditional method referred to as hawala.  In the traditional method, a woman (usually from an African country) will come to the home and remove facial, arm, legs and other hair from the body.  It is not a pain-free process at all but many Saudi women will endure this procedure for the smooth hairless look which results.  On the other hand, it is considered against Islam in Saudi for women to pluck their eyebrows; the eyebrows should be left in their natural state.  Yet I can personally attest from having been in many salons with Saudi women that many Saudi women do elect to have their eyebrows plucked.

By comparison, plucking of the eyebrows is a routine matter in Syria and women who do not pluck their eyebrows would be viewed as slovenly.  In Syria women will get together and pluck each other’s eyebrows over coffee.  The men will have their eyebrows plucked too when they go to the barber.

In Saudi many men will choose to either have a beard, goatee or what I will call the ‘ghost shadow’ of facial hair.  Yet in Syria, many men will chose to remove facial hair with a depilatory cream at least once a month.

Both Saudi men and women may prefer to apply henna to the hair.  And in the case of the man, he may wish to have henna applied to his beard.  The woman will have her henna applied either in a salon or the privacy of her home.  The man would usually have his applied at a barber.  Some men may view this procedure as a private matter and will visit barber shops which have private booths with closed doors.

A Saudi man may elect to shave his private areas.  He may do this prior to performing umrah or hajj.  Some men also shave as such for their wedding or choose to routinely keep himself shaved if he has more than one wife.  It is viewed as an extra measure of cleanliness.  Many women may follow the same practice too.  The practice is widely followed by many women in the Arab states.

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48 Responses

  1. It’s one of the 5 fitrah to shave/pluck underarm and pubic hair at least every 40 days.It’s considered hygienic to do so.My husband is palestinian and respects this sunnah.

  2. Salam,
    Just wanted to clarify removing the body and pubic hair every 40 days is a Sunnah for MEN and WOMEN.

    I’m not sure though weither or not it is madetory but I don’t even think i know ONE woman that doesn’t do this in Islam. And yes women gossip here and there without specific details but enough hints so you understand they do or do not do this…in my expereince of hearing people they all DO this.
    Most debate the best method too….

    Another point I want to add is it is not allowed for anyone other than one’s spouse to see a person fully naked exposing their A’UWRAH (navel to knees for men and women in front of other muslims from same gender) so the shaving of pubic hair or any hair between navel and knees on all sides of the body SHOULD NOT be done by anohter person than one’s spouse or oneself. Preferably oneself to spare the spouse any disgust or ill-sights if they prefer a certain “shaved style”.

    I liked the comparrisons you made though Carol.

  3. sorry, but the last paragraph made me puke.

    how kind of him, going that “extra mile” for the sake of extra cleanliness.

    bleccchhhh.

  4. I guess that’s a good way to tell if their man has taken another wife? LOL.

  5. Interesting. I guess this is stuff everybody just talks about over there? Maybe it’s just me, but I don’t go around asking people if they shaved, um, all over. :) I like reading stuff like this. I wonder why it’s against Islam to pluck your eyebrows when it’s fine to shave off body hair. Hair is hair is hair is hair, right?

    Thank you for sharing this. :)

  6. It’s not so much as women routinely talk about such stuff but when you have large families with many women you learn these things.

  7. Is this an Islamic thing ie: required to be Muslim required by the Qur’an or is it a cultural thing?

  8. BTW, why all hair is to be shaved but eyebrows can’t be plucked? what if a woman is particularly bushy over the eyes? She has to show her face to the world and all can see it but she doesn’t have to show her privates to anyone (if she isn’t married) and that can be cleaned up? What does one do about bushy eyebrows and what is the reasoning behind the no eyebrow rule.

  9. @Oby,

    I am not an expert on this topic but in regards to eyebrows, my understanding is that plucking eyebrows or facial hair as such is viewed as a sign of vanity. Whereas other body hair is viewed as making oneself more pure not only for a spouse but for praying too.

  10. I’ll put this disclaimer at the top since I aim definitely not a scholar!! This is my understanding of the eye-brow removal issue:

    When you pluck your eyebrow it is an issue of vanity, not cleanliness. If you remove the rest of your body hair, no one but you and your husband will know, whereas if you remove eyebrow hair, you could be considered more beautiful.

    Also the plucking of eyebrows was specifically forbidden while removal of body hair was not mentioned, therefore it is upon you to decide if you will remove it or not (though as mentioned above it is sunnah/recommended to remove armpit/ pubic hair).

    In the view of many scholars, you may pluck between the eyes (if you have a unibrow for example) as this is not considered part of the eyebrow.

    And for hadith to go along with that: Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 4604; Muslim, 2125

    In al-Saheeh, it was reported that Ibn Mas’ood (may Allaah be pleased with him) said:

    “Allaah has cursed the women who do tattoos and those who have this done, the women who pluck eyebrows and those who have this done, and the women who file their teeth and change the creation of Allaah.”
    Then he said:
    Should I not curse those whom the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) cursed, when it says in the Qur’aan (interpretation of the meaning):
    ‘ And whatsoever the Messenger gives you, take it, and whatever he forbids you, abstain (from it) ’ [al-Hashr 59:7]

  11. what a funy photo!!
    very intrestinng post,carol in our country iran traditions
    are completely dead(except rural areas).girls from 6 or 7 grade pluck their eyebrows and offcourse with make up ,any woman who does not same (like me) is seen as uneducated and oppressed!!!!

  12. I believe that NeverEver did a good job explaining the reason behind the impermissibility of eyebrow hair removal; I would only like to add something to that:

    Plucking and shaping the eyebrows alters a person’s appearance; thus altering one of the creations of God, something which is forbidden in Islam. Removing other hair is hygienic (and permissible according to the majority of scholars) and doesn’t change a person’s actual appearance. For example, you could shave your legs, arms, etc., but you would still look the same and have the same features; you would just be a little less hairy :)

    Also, removing the beard (for men) goes against the practices of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). Their are several hadiths about this; here is just one:

    Aa’ishah (may Allaah be pleased with her) who said: The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Ten (actions) are part of the fitrah [natural inclinations of man]: trimming the moustache, letting the beard grow, using the siwaak (tooth-stick), rinsing the nose with water, clipping the nails, washing the finger joints, plucking the armpit hairs, shaving the pubes and washing oneself with water after relieving oneself.”
    Zakariyya said: Mus’ab said: And I forgot the tenth but it may have been rinsing the mouth with water.”

    Thanks for sharing American Bedu :)

  13. Long ago I looked into this more. Remember everything takes place in a context. It’s my understanding that prostitutes at the time removed their eyebrows and drew them on- or some sort of extreme style. Muslim women were being told not to sport the same look as prostitutes.

    If you read scholars works many will explain with all sorts of explanations that removing hair that makes something”defective” is ok. The center of a unibrow- chin hairs etc.

    As for the argument that you cannot “change” Allahs creation- that is very inconsistant. Whose to say which variations are “defective” and even more so- why then are women allowed to pierce their ears?

    Some Muslims, such as myself- feel much less bound by hadith than others. In the example above, the hadith is of something Ibn Masood said- not the Prophet Muhammed- plus many of us try to put things in their cultural/historical context. Believe me, I do my best to never look like a prostitute.

    And yes, many women do pluck their brows- and many who belive it is Haram, have their eyebrows bleached so that a shapely dark brow is left in the middle stripe of hair. It can be very well done and is considered “allowed”. To me this is just getting around a rule to get the same outcome anyway. You are still altering your appearance.

  14. Oops, thanks Sandy for the correction :)

  15. I don’t see any correction :), I think it’s more just another angle…

  16. Wow, I haven’t seen this come up in a long time! I recall a Tunisian blogger who did a whole post on body hair removal that was quite funny the way she told it.

    I of course have no opinion on this, but I’ve read on Arab/Muslim blogs in the past that girls should not do anything to their eyebrows, but that married women can. I read that on a couple of blogs. Most likely they were Iraqi or North African bloggers since those were the ones I was reading the most way back then. Maybe customs are different in various countries?

  17. Sandy: When I said thanks for the correction, I was actually talking about the hadith quote. But, I read it again and realized that I don’t think we’re talking about the same hadith:

    The one I quoted was said by Aisha (RA). The one by Ibn Masood is as follows:

    …‘Abd-Allaah ibn Mas’ood (may Allaah be pleased with him) who said: I heard the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) say: “Allaah has cursed the woman who does tattoos and the one who has them done, the woman who plucks eyebrows (al-naamisah) and the one who has it done (al-mutanammisah), and the one who files her teeth for the purpose of beauty, altering the creation of Allaah.”

    Anyway, inshaAllah that clears things up :)

  18. Removing of body hair for men….does this include legs, arms, backs, chests? It’s interesting that they shave/pluck hair from certain areas yet some have those disgustingly bushy, rat-nest-style beards. I like some facial hair, but not so much the big bushy beards. Honestly they often look unhygienic.

    Also this post concerns MUSLIM Arabs and not Christian,Jewish and atheist, etc. Arabs since this has roots in the Sunnah, right?

  19. I am glad people pointed out that the trimming of body hair is a Sunnah practice for both women AND men.

    As someone else pointed out as well, doing one’s eyebrows is not always an issue, it just depends on why they are doing it. Intention and context is everything in Islam.

    Even eating pork is allowed in certain situations, ie you’d starve to death if you didn’t. So context and intention is all important.

    @Susanne,

    Men are required to keep all of their body hair trimmed.

    As to the “big bushy beards” those are not actually in keeping with the Sunnah. The Sunnah is that a man keep a beard, that if held in the fist of his hand, would not extend past the hand. Some Muslims operate under a false idea that the bigger the beard the better the Muslim, but this is actually the opposite a “big bushy beard” is unhygenic and not desired.

    Like many things in the Muslim world, this practice has actually caught on amougst the Christian and Jewish members of these societies.

    Actually, if one doesnt have experience in the Middle East, it might be very easy to confuse Arab Christians with Arab Jews and Muslims as very often they act and do the same things. Arab Christians say “Masha’Allah” and “Insha’Allah”. Sometimes the only real way to tell the difference is in names (not always) and actually heading to their place of worship with them.

    That is one of the reasons why the attempts to remove Jews and Christians from the Muslim Middle Eastern culture doesnt work. The cultures of the Middle East are multi-religious and the cultures are shared across the spectrum.

  20. oh, here we go again…this sort of stuff drives me crazy – do you really think God/Allah cares if your eyebrows are plucked?? Think of all the time and effort scholars have expended answering these questions.
    It’s like the minutiae of Orthodox Judaism. These religions are about orthodoxy more than belief.

    OK off my soapbox…did you know that eyebrows like wings (unibrows that arch up) were considered a sign of great beauty, until Western culture took over.

    And…bedouins have always tatooed. So there.

  21. Abu Sinan, thank you for answering my question so thoroughly. So when you say men have to keep all their body hair trimmed this means they shave their arms and legs or just trim the hair to make it shorter? Sorry, I’m genuinely curious about such things and this is one topic I’ve not thought to ask my Arab friends. So I’ll ask you instead if you don’t mind. :)

    Arbglrusa, interesting about unibrows being a sign of great beauty ,hmmm. It’s neat how standards of beauty come and go. Maybe the unibrow will come back in style. (I’m out of luck!) :)

    I agree that some of this stuff is crazy re: plucking eyebrows. :)

  22. @Susanne,

    I think one is just required to trim, after that it is up to the person on how they do it. It really does help keep one cleaner and smelling better, as odd as the practice might seem to Westerners, outside of competitive swimmers!

    @Arblrusa,

    I agree, far too much time is spent on this stuff. I remember a debate some time ago with co-workers as to the position of the right foot in prayer and whether or not to wiggle your index finger in the prayer, simply lift it up, twirl it in circles. These debates went on for days. I remember thinking “what a massive waste of time” and couldnt anything better, more of substance be talked about?

  23. @Maryam and AmericanWriter

    It’s true, body hair removal is the Sunnah for men and women. I just never heard of men shaving more often “down there” as a courtesy to their multiple wives ( for the sake of extra cleanliness). That sentence just made me queasy.

  24. I think it is great that many Arab (muslim) men will also shave their underarms. Now if the ones who do not wear deodorant would rectify that, things would be much more pleasant!

    I’m not aware of Arab men who shave their legs though. I’ve heard of some who will shave or clip the bushy chest hair or will have that done in one of the barber shops with private booths.

    Now in regards to strange rulings…a woman who has breast cancer (like me) can have breast reconstruction to replace what was lost (like me). The nipple can be replaced too but because tattooing is considered haram, many Saudi doctors will not tattoo the aereola area back. They will do skin grafting but that is a painful process and requires time to recuperate. It also means that it is highly unlikely the graft would be the same color as that of the other breast. To me, this ruling is a contradictory and controversial one.

    In regards to tattooing, I remember my MIL telling me how she wanted to be tattooed like her Beduion mother but her mother would not allow that since she was the daughter of a non-Bedu.

  25. Carol, a bit off-topic, but is it Dr.’s that do the nipple tatoos? Don’t they refer you to a cosmetic tatoo artist? (in the US-i”m guessing not in Saudi).

    If her mothe was a bedoiun, then so is she- at least in my book :) We are 50% what are mothers are regardless of what the men say…

  26. @Sandy,

    In KSA it is the doctor’s who do the procedure but NOT a nipple tattoo. A plastic surgeon will make a new nipple and do the skin grafting but not a tattoo as that is taboo.

    And for the record, oh yes, my MIL does acknowledge her Beuduion roots and is proud of them. I encourage you to read the post below where she shared her memories of growing up Bedu:

    http://americanbedu.com/2009/01/28/saudi-arabia-growing-up-bedu/

  27. I do believe if a woman has a bushy eyebrows that obstruct her vision, she is allowed to pluck them. Many women in Saudi Arabia do pluck their eyebrows regardless. I for one still not so clear about why it’s forbiden to pluck one’s eyebrows, maybe Abu Sinan can shed some light on the matter.

  28. Carol,
    Then she can always get her tattoo now, if it is still important to her.

    For the cost in time and money- it is probably worth traveling out for a nipple tattoo than getting the grafts etc. in Saudi.

  29. I think the line of what is allowed is blurred because men do the interpreting- and they rule as conservatively as they can while ensuring that men will still find women attractive.

    I mean really- if women are really CURSED for it- then it shouldn’t matter if it’s a unibrow or chin hairs. But the men want their wives not to have those so it’s declared a defect and changing it is ok.

    Really good-looking brows might attract other men, so that’s a no-no, PLUS they have to give lip service to the hadith they claim is authentic.

    Do I sound cynical?? Yeah. I admit it. For all the talk here about how “the west” objectifies women, it’s NOTHING to what they do here- walking black tents notwithstanding.

  30. I learn something new every day and this is a fine example. I didn’t know all this about body hair. Personally I don’t like body hair at all.

    This is kind of funny because up until maybe 15 years ago if a man or woman removed all body hair they were often in the ‘adult entertainment’ business or some kind or other. In the last few years it became rather the in thing to do and now the trend again is for hairy underarms, etc for women. At least this is the way it was/is where I come from in Canada. Different cultures!!

    I was told by a sister-in-law in KSA that it was haram to pluck eyebrows and then told me a story about a woman who had one stray eyebrow hair. She plucked it and dropped dead because of it. :) I told her I was surprised so many people are still living in this world if that was what caused her death. Superstitions can really keep people in check I guess.

  31. @Anonymous Saudi,

    I am not the one here banging on about it being forbidden. I wasnt really even aware of it until recently. All of the women I know pluck their eye brows.

    You are asking the wrong person to explain this hadith! Besides…….I am not a big fan of hadith anyways as I feel many of them were engineered LONG after the death of the prophet to further their own personal agendas.

  32. I think it is admirable that the women spend so much time taking care of themselves – irrespective of wether religion dictates it or not. I think it boosts morale and generally makes one feel good about onself. what’s wrong with that. same goes for men. hey shave all you want – if that’s what makes you adn your wife happy.

    I always tell my daughter wash your face,comb your hair and look bright in the evnings. she just complains, i don’t know why it’s what my mom told me, but it makes me feel better if i see a bright face washed and clean in the evenings even if she’s just playing inthe yard. some would say it’s blind following of ancient customs, but in my opinion you should do whatever makes you feel good.

    as for beards don’t get me started. I hate them. don’t know why, just averse to them.. and am so glad my spouse doesn’t insist on growing it. for some reason i could never deal with it. maybe beacause my dad and ll my family didn’t have one. who knows. my daughter hates beards too :-)

    My mom always told me it was a shallow thought and i shouldn’t care about external appearences, but.. can’t get past the facial hair… islam or not.

    as i read about saudi women and come to know more of them i admire all they do inspite of the restrictions and restraints placed on them. they will go a long way.

  33. Many Arab men I know will trim pubic and occasionally chest hair. Never met anyone who shaves or trims arm and leg hair.

    I am glad to see that the custom of pubic hair removal is finally spreading from adult entertainers to the rest of the hair-growing population. Now you will be hard-pressed to see a woman of eligible, dateable age in a major U.S. city who sports wild vegetation in her private area. Men are catching up too.

  34. Arabia before the influx of oil money and A,C.:s…was a hot humid sweaty desert….so removing armpit hair and body hair was probably just a way to stop perspiration etc from causing body odor in a place where it can be quite strong. Has anyone bothered to walk through a souk during the heat of summer…whew!!! thats all I can say.

    Now, I would guess removing body hair is just cosmetic and a culturally desirable trait…since we shower daily (most of us) and live with A. C.’s

  35. from my observations saudi women tend to (very generally) fall under the following categories..

    The most religious women, or women from very traditional families, who consider it very HARAM and vain to pluck even one single hair from eyebrows.
    Which I think is a bit extreme, theres is other things women should concentrate on and not always their apperance!These women wear niqab that cover eyebrows, or even cover their eyes too.

    Then theres the women that bleach the unwanted hair, which from up close looks kind of funny in my opinion. The bleached hair is very visible and sometimes it has turned orange. Some women attempt to cover the hair with concealers and powder too.
    This I dont understand, if you consider it haram, then why are you attempting to shape your eyebrows anyway? sometimes these women wear niqab, but usually in the fashion that leaves the eyebrows visible.

    And then there seems to be a group of usually rich saudi women or from more open families who tattoo their eyebrows or pluck and then paint them really black and in a exxagerated arched shape.. which looks quite unnatural. These women use alot of other makeup too. Sometimes they will wear niqab with very dark eye makeup, or expose whole face.

    My fiancee does shave his armpits regularly, for him its a part of normal hygiene routine, I thought this is quite common among younger saudi men?But he doesnt shave his legs!sometimes he trims some odd chest and back hair..
    As a nurse I see many older saudi men and women, and they all shave their pubic hair! Even in their 90’s :)if its not them its some family member who does it..

  36. That’s quite interesting about the eyebrow plucking rules as I think I’d be hard pressed to find a Saudi girl who doesn’t shape and colour her eyebrows into those heavy black arches. I’m quite surprised about that ‘law’ in fact. But I guess there’s probably one about wearing heavy makeup too and I think Saudi girls are born with a stick of kohl.

    Personally, I think the girls look quite pretty and I imagine the reason why it’s not so strictly enforced is because the men do too!

  37. “oh, here we go again…this sort of stuff drives me crazy – do you really think God/Allah cares if your eyebrows are plucked?? Think of all the time and effort scholars have expended answering these questions.
    It’s like the minutiae of Orthodox Judaism. These religions are about orthodoxy more than belief.”

    it does matter. Allah has knowledge of all matters whilst we do not, so we should avoid questioning or dismissing things that we don’t understand. Allah the most high tells us that to obey the messenger is to obey Allah.

    the messenger (may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) spoke of plucking hair from the eyebrows in the following narration…

    the prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said,
    “Allah has cursed those women who modify their eyebrows or ask others to do it for them”

    (Sahih al-Bukhari and Muslim)

  38. @africana, i am in total agreement with abu sinan, hadiths are heresay. (if not heresy).

  39. @and I agree with Abu Sinan and Arbrlusa.

  40. I think because we are accustomed in public to seeing the Saudi female cloaked in black that in turn it makes the eye makeup stand out. Western women are also known for wearing makeup but perhaps because they are dressed as they wish, the effect is diminished?

  41. Personally, I think the girls look quite pretty and I imagine the reason why it’s not so strictly enforced is because the men do too!

    I bet you are right about that, Stacy :)

  42. I’m really surprised no one has looked at this physiologically speaking…

    Physiologically eyebrows serve at least two purposes that we know of namely preventing moisture like sweat (which burns) from running into our eyes and secondly as a means of facial expression.

    Allah has revealed a lot of his wisdom whereas other things he has kept hidden with him. I know everyone can attest that this is damned frustrating at times but this is where our faith comes in.

    Yes Allah has made us intelligent but are we more so than him? Placing our intellect above him is arrogant and not how we truly submit to him.

    So I think all of these seemingly small unimportant things like removing genital hair or plucking eyebrows is a test from Allah to see if we are going to trust that he knows better than we do and follow his wisdom whether that act is sunnah or even wajib.

    Just think about it…there are numerous instances where we are asked to perform what seems odd. One example that comes to mind is Tayyammum.

    If Islam teaches Muslims that cleanliness is part of faith then why are we then commanded to use dirt if we find no water for ablutions? Use dirt to clean? It’s offensive to our intellects yet we DO IT to have our prayer accepted and please Allah.

    I’m sure the list goes on and on of the beneficial things we are asked to do by Allah yet we don’t always see the benefit directly or understand the wisdom.

    It’s tough to wrap our minds around it sometimes but there is great reward in trusting that our creator who blessed us with our intelligence knows what is or isn’t good for us.

    And as it is even our intellect will either be for or against us on the day of judgment…it goes without saying it can either be used or abused.

    We’ve all seen it…someone who uses their intellect to harm or someone who uses it to benefit.

    So if we use our own intellect to supercede Allah’s wisdom we are essentially harming ourselves in this life and the next.

    And I am not even going to debate how dangerous it is to not accept legitimate, authentic hadith from our Prophet, who after all was sent to teach us how to worship Allah in the ways he loves. If we believe that the Prophet’s character was the epitome of the quran then his authentic prophetic hadiths should convince us we are performing something desirable to Allah full stop.

    I hope you all follow me on this one… :)

  43. …………Physiologically eyebrows serve at least two purposes that we know of namely preventing moisture like sweat (which burns) from running into our eyes and secondly as a means of facial expression…………….

    ***I forgot to include here that based on this knowledge combined with the Prophet’s hadith we should therefore leave our eyebrows alone as they are useful.

    But that is not to say that we must always have medical or scientific evidence before we believe in what the Prophet is teaching us or in what Allah wants from us. Of course tangible proof always helps but again this is where our faith comes in as tangibility is not always afforded to us.

    And no I don’t mean we should have blind faith! If you don’t understand, by all means, question until you do. But your questioning should be reasonable. Lest your questioning lead you into arrogance and dismissing something Allah has placed value in even if it something as simple as body/facial hair.

  44. Hi American Bedu, I have been following your blog with considerable interest over the last year and would like to applaud your highly informative and impartial commentary. I am intrigued to know about Saudi males and their grooming habits and was wondering that is it true Saudi men also use a lot of whitening products for facial whitening? What is their rationale for using it? Is it a popular commonplace habit? Or do only certain ages (youth) or certain affluent classes indulge in it? Would like to use your forum to start a dialogue on this topic. Thanks !

  45. @Saudi Scout,

    Thanks for your comment! This is the first time I’ve heard about Saudi males and for some to desire whitening products for the skin. It’s pretty common for a lot of the men to use product to remove white from their hair or beards, though. Maybe someone else can comment on your query here.

  46. Hi AB, Did you mean products like Dyes ? Is dyeing your hair allowed as per Islam? Could these be commercila dyes as well or only homemade (henna) products?

    Have not heard back from anyones on the skin whitening phenomenon among Saudi men. Its probably just a rumour ! What about Kohl? Are men in Saudi also prone to using kohl in their eyes? Or is it only the females?

    I am basically intrigued by the male grooming habits of Saudis. Is it in line with that of their Western counterparts – spiky hair gels, lip balms, skin creams, perfumes/deodorants, conditioners for hair, facilas for skin care ? What is a Saudi man’s grooming ritual, lets say after he starts working or after he gets married?

    Thanks you !

  47. Saudi Scout,

    You have asked some interesting questions which I am incorporating into a forthcoming post of its own. Thanks!

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