How To Say Haircut In Spanish, How To Get A Haircut In Spanish

Lets get one thing straight: living in another country is hugely different to holidaying in another country. It may not seem so dissimilar on the surface – there is, at times, enough sun, sand and cervezas here in Spain to suggest otherwise – but eventually, every expat realises that they have to build a life; find a place to live, make new friends, get used to the local fodder and, worst of all, get their hair cut.

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This daunting task is obviously a lot easier after a few months of tussling with the local lingo, but at least initially, the anxiety brought on by such a distressing yet irritatingly necessary exercise can be enough to put you off your paella for weeks. Even going for a haircut in your native country is worrying at the best of times, but imagine trying to do it in a country whose language you’re only just getting to grips with.





This experience left me justifiably wary of Spanish barbers, so for the next year or so I opted to cut my own hair, which, in hindsight, was an even worse decision owing to the frequent hunks of hair visibly missing from the back of my gauchely beshaven bonce.

Earlier this year, however, I strolled back into a nearby peluquería, confident that I possessed sufficient Spanish to help me through the impending ordeal. Fortunately, I did, and I eluded another disaster. Now I am on first name terms with my chatty barber, and a simple ‘lo mismo como siempre’ is all I need to say.

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This was not a fad in Spain

Though if I look back on that first dismaying encounter with a Spanish barber and his set of not-so-trusty clippers, I can’t help but think that with a bit of expert guidance and some thorough planning, my resulting Spongebob bouffant might have been averted.

So if you’re new in Spain, or in any other foreign land for that matter, and your locks are in need of a good sheering, then heed my advice:

One: Learn some useful phrases and write them down

Do this and the risk of adversity will be considerably reduced. Pronunciation may be an issue, but if you’re really unsure then simply show your barber what you’ve written. You could even get a local friend to translate exactly what you want to say onto paper, though ensure that this friend can be trusted; you wouldn’t want to get stitched up and be the laughing stock. Some useful Spanish phrases to know are:

“Me gustaría un corte de pelo por favor” – “I’d like a haircut please”

“Corto por los lados y de atras, pero mas largo por la parte de arriba por favor” – “Short round the back and sides but longer on top”

“Solo un recorte por favor” – “Just a trim please”

“Me gusta liso/rizado” – “I like it straight/curly”

“Está bien asi?” – “Is it fine like that?”

“Si, está bien asi” – “Yes, it’s fine like that / No, it’s not fine like that, but I’m going to pretend it is and swear all the way home”


I’m sure we all know just how this chap feels…

Four: Ask for something simple

If back home your usual cut involves blending, thinning out, colouring, straightening, shaping (is that a service?) etc, then you may want to rethink your style abroad. Throwing technical words like this into the mix only complicates matters, and leaves you wide open to potentially perilous consequences. Start small and work your way up.


Five: Take a friend

If you have nice, native friends with enough free time on their hands, then why not bring them along? This eliminates the possibility of having to contend with unanticipated questions and accidentally agreeing to a number one all over or, heaven forbid, the famed dreadlock mullet.

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Six: Get drunk

If the idea of leaving your precious head of hair in the hands of a non-English speaking barber really does give you the heebie-jeebies, then you might find that a generous pre-intake of alcohol will help alleviate your concerns. And of course everybody speaks better Spanish when they’re drunk. That’s just science.

Have you ever had a haircut in Spain or some other foreign land and experienced disastrous consequences? Or do you have any other tips? Let’s hear about it!

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