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【Learn Chinese】Chinese Lesson: Getting a Haircut
We all need to get a haircut once in a while. From haircuts and styling to coloring and treatments, let’s cover everything you need to know to get a perfect hair salon experience in China.
Let’s start by taking a look at different names of the places where you can get your hair cut.
There are so many hair salons around – you can easily find them by colorful poles, or just simply type 理发店 (lǐfàdiàn) on your Baidu Map.
When barbershop (理发店 lǐfàdiàn) refers to a place where you primarily get haircuts, hair salon (美发店 měifàdiàn) suggests a broader range of services including hair cutting, styling, and beauty treatments.
Chinese hair salons often have a ranking system (职级 zhíjí). This means you can choose the level of expertise and experience of your hairstylist, or 理发师 (lǐfàshī).
Hair Salon Services: Basics
01. Wash Hair
A visit to a Chinese hair salon typically starts with a hair wash (洗头 xǐ tóu), often coupled with a gentle scalp massage. In China, it’s common for many girls to visit salons just to get their hair washed. This practice, known as 洗吹 (xǐ chuī) goes beyond mere hygiene; it’s a cherished relaxation ritual for many.
When you step into a hair salon in China, they might ask if you want to have 干洗 (gānxǐ), or “dry wash”. The assistant will apply a mixture of shampoo and conditioner to the hair and also do a massage. It is supposed to be more environment-friendly and also add an extra touch of relaxation to your salon experience.
02. Cut Hair
The next step, (and yet the most crucial one) is getting your hair cut: 剪头 (jiǎn tóu)
If you only want to trim just a small amount of hair, you can say to the hairdresser:
我想把头发剪短一点。(wǒ xiǎng bǎ tóufǎ jiǎn duǎn yìdiǎn) - I want to cut my hair shorter.
If you have a specific hairstyle (发型 fàxíng) in mind that you’d like to change to, you can show a reference to the stylist and say:
我想做这个发型。(wǒ xiǎng zuò zhè ge fàxíng) - I’d like to get this hairstyle.
03. Dry Hair
Haircuts in China usually come as a “3-in-1 package” – wash, cut, and blow-dry, also known as 洗剪吹 (xǐ jiǎn chuī). As the last step, the stylist will use a blow dryer to style and set the hair: 吹风 (chuī fēng) - to blow-dry
If you want to add extra style to your hair and make it straight or curly you can say:
我想把头发烫直。(wǒ xiǎng bǎ tóufa tàng zhí) - I’d like to have my hair straightened.
我想烫头发。(wǒ xiǎng tàng tóufa) - I’d like to perm my hair.
Hairstyle Changes
01. Dye Hair
A frequent request heard at hair salons is for hair dyeing, known as 染发 (rǎn fà).
To ask the hair stylist to change your hair color, you can use this phrase:
我想给我的头发染个色。(wǒ xiǎng gěi wǒ de tóufa rǎn gè sè) - I would like to dye my hair.
02. Cut Fringe
Cutting a fringe is a popular and fast way to change up the hairstyle and frame the face: 剪刘海儿 (jiǎn liúhǎir)
Here’s what you can say if you want to cut the fringe:
我想剪刘海儿。(wǒ xiǎng jiǎn liúhǎir) - I’d like to cut my bangs.
03. Hair Treatment
Hair can undergo damage due to the use of styling products and exposure to high temperatures. Chinese hair salons offer various hair treatments that help to restore hair health.
头发护理 (tóufa hùlǐ) - hair treatment
If you want to have a hair treatment at the salon, you can politely ask:
我的头发受损了, 我可以做头发护理吗?(wǒ de tóufa shòu shǔn le, wǒ kěyǐ zuò tóufa hùlǐ ma?) - My hair is damaged, can I have a hair treatment?