I usually have a ponytail, but when my hair is down it's past my shoulders. I have been considering travelling to a few different countries such as Iran or Algeria, but I'd definitely prefer a general approach to take.

I know generally travelling in Muslim countries, women can wear headscarves and stick to long-sleeved tops and such. Will my hair be an issue? Should I wear as a bun to reduce its size? Are hats appropriate?

For reference: The Irish Department of Foreign Affairs has the following suggestion for travelling to Iran

Muslim culture

Iran is an Islamic Republic and Islamic practices and beliefs are closely adhered to in the country's customs, laws, and regulations. Common sense and discretion should be exercised in dress and behaviour.

Islamic codes of behaviour and dress are strictly enforced. Visitors should dress conservatively. Men should not wear shorts or sleeveless shirts; women must cover their head with a scarf and conceal the body’s contours by wearing a loose-fitting knee-length outer garment and trousers. Respect religious and social traditions to avoid offending local sensitivities.

There are additional dress requirements at certain religious sites. Women may be asked to put on a chador (a garment that covers the whole body except the face), before entering.

I have also similar concerns to this user wondering about Russia in terms of non-religious reception, more conservatism. Especially as in some of these countries homosexuality is illegal (e.g. Algeria) or have had several homophobic attacks.

Article saying Iran culture ministry bans "ponytails, mullets and elaborate spikes"

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    To the close-voter, I think this can be answered reasonably objectively, there may be tourist guidelines like there are for women and my question seems a little more specific than the one I linked which remained open, and no less specific than the other questions in tag: etiquette May 5, 2019 at 5:25
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    Regarding Iran, you can rest assured your hair won't be an issue there whatsoever.
    – B Faley
    May 5, 2019 at 5:48
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    There is also a question that is literally the same scope if not broader here: travel.stackexchange.com/questions/16877/… May 8, 2019 at 9:41
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    I think it might help if you specified the countries and areas within those countries rather than 'Muslim countries' in general. Turkey and Saudi Arabia are very different places for visitors and even within a country, one's experiences in Izmir and Konya will be quite different.
    – Martin
    May 9, 2019 at 9:01
  • @Martin exactly. This is even true elsewhere in the world. Consider the USA. Long hair on a man will be absolutely unremarkable in San Francisco or Seattle, but could turn some heads in Salt Lake City. Apr 16, 2021 at 15:51

1 Answer 1


De jure discrimination for non-Muslims and expatriates does not exist, but de facto discrimination might. While there were issues in a conservative Emirate a decade ago, the man-bun (as an example) is now fashionable for some people and includes long hair, in the same place.

Context is important: if you're worried about traveling to a very rural, backwoods part of Pakistan, for example, you may encounter stares of consternation. If you're traveling to Tehran or Shiraz or any large city in Iran, you'll be fine: I've seen long hair on men in both places.

Emphasis on context: if you're causing trouble, you might have de facto discrimination just like someone with a lot of tattoos in some parts of rural America could be discriminated against, even though there's no law against it.

If you always check all laws before traveling and be a courteous visitor and don't cause a stir from your appearance, then you are generally fine.


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