"How do you explain it? My little boy, he doesn't understand really what's happening," she said. "But my daughter ... she understands what's happening.
"We can lie to them. We have to say what is happening, but we (don't) say the people die."
She tells them: There is a bad situation in the country.
The first time Alaita heard shelling, she was with one of her young sons. They were both scared.
"Little by little, we start making joke that it's a water pipe sound," she said. She felt kind of guilty about kidding around.
"I know it's really bad because people are dying ... for nothing!" she said. "People are stupid. For nothing this goes on!"
Handi likes to think things will get better.
"We hope ... everything will be good," she says, her voice straining.
Not far from the salon, in a middle-class neighborhood near the center of the city, another woman, a pharmacist, is doing brisk business. Her shelves are well-stocked.
She's afraid of reprisals from the rebels and asked not to be named.
She looks like she's in her 50s. Her make-up is soft and her hair is pulled back the way that women who are very busy style it. She wears a white lab coat. Her female assistant wears the same, a white hijab covers her hair entirely.
Business is down maybe 30%, the pharmacist said, but that's mostly because customers aren't buying as many cosmetics and creams anymore.
"We sell too much medicine for anti-stress, depression, sleeping pills," she said. "Yes, we sell too much now."
She's asked how she feels about al-Assad. She says she supports the president.
Fighting in Syria is a "game" involving "big countries" such as Russia and the United States, she believes. There are "many hands outside" Syria that are responsible for the violence.
She doesn't think al-Assad is to blame.
"I like him. He's a young man," she said, echoing a sentiment some Syrians have expressed about 47-year-old al-Assad. They see -- or, at least, saw -- his youth as a sign of modernity and progressivism.
Since taking power in 2000, al-Assad has been praised for opening Syria's market to the oil sector. He did open the country to foreign investment and introduced private banking. But in tandem with these advances, Syria's record on human rights was consistently abysmal. People were imprisoned for political reasons. The government blocked access intermittently to the Internet between 2008 and 2011.
"Maybe there is problem in our regime, but all regimes in countries over the world, they have problems," the pharmacist said.
"Assad has improved Syria over the past several years. We have everything new in the country. We have many things -- private university, private banks, private schools, Internet."
Alaita also longs for the way life seemed before the violence.
"We have a lot of freedoms as a woman in Syria," she said. "I used to walk 3 a.m. at night and nobody would disturb me. I would travel to another (village) at night and not (be) worried. Now I cannot go to the countryside without the army stopping me."
They always ask: Which side are you on?
"What answer should I give?!" she says.
The rebels and al-Assad's forces should stop fighting.