Getting your hair done in English

Have you ever been abroad and decided or had to get a haircut? Did you realise that you didn’t have all of the necessary vocabulary that you needed and were you then left dissatisfied with a much shorter style than you wanted? Teacher Del’s video class today will teach you some incredibly useful vocabulary for getting a stunning ‘do in English should you ever need to. Check it out here and read on to make sure you have understood all of the examples from the video.

Before choosing what style you want, make an appointment…

Like going to the Doctor’s or the Dentist’s, when we want to get a haircut, we have to arrange a suitable time for both ourselves and the hairdresser or barber. Obviously you can call them to arrange this, however if you feel more confident speaking to them face to face, you can drop in to arrange an appropriate time. When agreeing a time you could say the following:

  • Can I book an appointment for (Friday) at (noon)?
  • Would I be able to schedule a haircut for Wednesday at 2pm?
  • I’d like to get a (cut, trim colour..).
  • I’m planning on going for a completely new look and getting my hair dyed.
  • Do you accept credit cards or is it cash only?

While it is important to memorise these phrases for making the appointment and explaining to the hairdresser the style of haircut you want, remember that not all salons or barber shops require you to make an appointment and also offer a drop-in service. This is when you can show up unannounced and ask to be attended if they have space and time in their schedule and if they do, they will see you at the moment.

What kind of hair do you have?

There are no two people who have the exact same qualities of hair, however we all tend to share similar characteristics to other people. Let’s have a look at some adjectives we can use to describe our hair:

  • Curly
  • Straight
  • Wavy
  • Oily/Dry
  • Fine/thick

What other characteristics would you associate with your hair? Here are a few more options:

  • Part-right,
  • Part-left
  • Part-centre
  • Split ends

How to describe the kind of haircut you want

Some people just decide they need a haircut because they think their hair is getting out of control but don’t actually know what they would like to get done to their hair. It’s good to have a general idea of the kind of new style you’d like to get before you go to the hairdressers so you aren’t left stunned by what the hairdresser does to it. Let’s have a look at some vocabulary which are types of styles:

  • Trim: A haircut where a short amount of hair is cut off,
  • Layers: A style where different parts of the hair are cut to different lengths.
  • Fringe/bangs: When the front of the hair above the eyes is cut quite short.

Perhaps it isn’t just a haircut that you want but instead a change of colour. Depending on what exactly you want coloured will depend on how you word it. Check out this vocabulary:

  • Highlights: When different sections of the hair are dyed and blended.
  • Colour: When the whole head of hair is dyed- generally one colour.
  • Roots: This is when the natural root colour is coming through and gets dyed.

Do men just go for a haircut?

There are many men who care about their appearance and it is becoming more and more popular nowadays to have pristine hair and facial hair. Unlike women, men also have beards to contend with which has actually spun an industry of specialised barbers throughout the world offering beard services instead of haircuts. With that being said, most traditional barbers or salons offer both.

With this new and emerging beard industry, the language or perfect beard trimming and haircut styling for men has also come back to the forefront of hairstyling vocabulary in English. This vocabulary will give you a good base:

  • Moustache: The hair which runs above the top lip and below the nose
  • Sideburns: The hair which comes down the side of the face in front of the ears
  • Cutthroat razor: Very sharp handheld blade used for a very close shave

Obviously after all the cutting and shaving is over, everyone has to get their hair styled, but so that it stays. So, how do we make our perfectly cut hair and trimmed beards and sideburns stay in perfect order? We use the following products:

  • Gel
  • Mousse
  • Wax
  • Putty
  • Hairspray

These are just a handful of hair products that can be applied to damp hair when drying so that a the style we put in stays in place for the remainder of the day, but bear in mind that there are many more.

I moustache you a question… Have you heard of Movember?

In recent years men from all around the world have taken place in charity moustache growing during the month of November, dubbed “Movember”, to raise money for important men’s causes.

Movember is a charity campaign which raises awareness about men’s health issues such as prostate cancer, testicular cancer and suicide among other issues. The money which this charity campaign raises goes to fund research into such issues as well as provide support for people who need it. If you have never heard of it before, it is a very good cause.

What should you do before your next haircut?

If you still feel like you need a bit more English studying before braving getting your haircut in an English speaking country, then you should sign up to the ABA English course for free. As a free student, you will get access to 144 free video grammar classes which will significantly help you improve your English grammar and understanding. Additionally, check out our ABA Journal for other incredibly informative articles. Don’t delay and start with ABA today.



  1. On this side, we used to say: ‘I want to have a haircut’. But some people say that’s wrong. They want us to say ‘i want to barber my hair’. So what do you think of this?

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