Hasidic Jews on Hair Covering and Why Beauty and Modesty Are Not a Contradiction

Learn why some Jewish women cover their hair.

For the next installment of our series Hair Unstereotyped, we sat down with Zlata Gittelin, the owner of Zlata Wigs,  to discuss modesty and beauty and to learn more about why some Jewish women cover their hair. Based on the premise that there’s more than just one hair story to be told, this project aims to diversify the conversation around hair and highlight real stories. Keep reading to learn more:

modesty Zlata wigs
Photo credit: Zlata Gittelin

Why Some Jewish Women Cover Their Hair

“The reason Jewish married women cover their hair is based on modesty,” Gittelin says. “We cover our collarbones, elbows, and knees, and after a Jewish woman gets married, she increases in her modesty. Hair gives off a lot of sensual energy. We know that because if you tell someone to cut their hair or to do it this way or that way, they’re not usually going to want to do it. Your hair is your crown…it gives off a lot of sensual energy and for that reason, it’s kept covered. But it doesn’t have to be covered in a negative way, it should be beautiful. Women spend a lot of time and energy finding the most beautiful wigs to cover their hair.”

Interestingly enough, Gittelin says she absolutely loves covering her hair. Before she was married, she says she used to spend forty-five minutes curling her hair and blow-drying it…getting a wig was the best thing because she can style it once every two weeks and then just wear it and go. Her hair is still nice underneath her wig, she says, but she enjoys the convenience of wearing a wig.

Wig Care

“I love TRESemmé Moisture Rich Shampoo and Conditioner as it’s really good on the hair,” Gittelin says when asked about her go-to products for the salon. “It’s really soft and leaves a really nice shine. We use it for all the wigs that we wash here. It’s great, TRESemmé is the best.

“I also love Bed Head by TIGI Headrush Shine Hair Spray,” she says. “After you set a wig, spray it in, and it leaves a really beautiful shine.

“Buying your first wig is sometimes a little bit scary,” Gittelin says. “We hear so many say, ‘Wow, I didn’t realize it could be so easy to find a wig.’ But it really is.”

On Buying Your First Wig

Gittelin says she and her team view the wig salon as a regular salon. People will usually come in after having looked at pictures and they’ll know – do they want something straighter, something wavy, something curly. But not everyone comes in knowing exactly what they want so the team can help guide the customer.

Generally, for the first wig that somebody buys, they usually try to mimic their own hair. After that, people get more experimental and if they have brown hair, they’ll go blonde, if they have short hair, they’ll go long.

“Buying your first wig is sometimes a little bit scary,” Gittelin says. “We hear so many say, ‘Wow, I didn’t realize it could be so easy to find a wig.’ But it really is.”

Gittelin’s Journey to Entrepreneurship

For Gittelin, it’s been a long journey in the hair industry. She always loved hair and says that in high school, she used to come with an updo every day and spend about 20 minutes putting pins in and making sure everything was perfect. From a young age, she really loved hair and was always cutting friends’ hair. As the years went on she realized it was something she really wanted to do so she worked in a wig salon before going on to get her license.

On Meaningful Encounters with Customers

“In general, every encounter I have with customers is really meaningful and special,” Gittelin says. “I meet women from all different walks of life so whether it’s Orthodox women coming in to get a wig for reasons of modesty, women who cover their hair because they’re going through medical treatment, some women have alopecia…on a daily basis I meet women from all religions, all backgrounds, and it’s wonderful meeting with them and working with them.

“I think Jewish women love to look beautiful – everyone wants to look beautiful. Even if you’re keeping the laws of modesty, you can still look beautiful. It’s not taking away from their beauty.”

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