Getting a haircut in China is always an adventure due to the language barrier. If your Chinese is not good enough, some embarrassment may happen. Even after a long process of communication with the hairdresser, you may get the haircut you does not want and go out of the salon with tears.
If you like to keep your existing hairstyles as it is, simply ask for a quick trim(xiūjiăn, 修剪), this will simply remove slit ends from your long hair. If you still want to crop off a bit more after the person finish the cutting, feel free to ask them to cut a bit more(再剪短).
As you walk in the door, one of the salon workers may ask:
Nǐ yào jiǎn tóu fà ma?
Do you want a haircut?
Alternatively, you could also say…
I would like a haircut
Wǒ xiǎng jiǎn tóu fa
When you get inside, listen for one of these words, as it means it's time to get your hair shampooed:
Shampoo - Xǐ fǎ lù 洗发露
To was hair - Xǐ tóu 洗头
Wash - Xǐ yīxià 洗一下
I do not want to change my hairstyle, please just cut it a little short.
Wǒ xiǎng bǎ tóufǎ xiūjiǎn yīdiǎn dànshì bù gǎibiàn fǎxíng
A little short - Duǎn yīdiǎn 短一点
Don't cut it too short: bùyào jiăn tài duăn, 不要剪太短
I want layers - Wǒ xiǎng jiǎn de yǒu céngcì gǎn 我想剪得有层次感
Don't change my style - bù găibiàn wŏ de fàxíng, 不改变我的发型
I want to grow my hair out: wŏ yuànyì bă tóufà zhăng cháng, 我愿意把头发长长
This might not work like a charm every time, if you could not memorize something, you can always take the memo with you, writing the characters and show them to the hairdresser. (Note: Please not take the notes in pinyin, since it's not common for Chinese to read it).
If you want to change your hairstyle, the simple way is to take a picture with the style you want. However, do not think you can take a rest when the hairdresser starts cutting your hair. The person may misunderstand your meaning, you would direct him/her to finish the job.
If possible, you can ask a Chinese friend knowing English to go to salon with you to avoid being misunderstood and ending up with a hairstyling disaster.
Barber: Do you want your hair cut, sir?
Barber: How do you want?
Mike: Just the same as usual.
Barber: Do you want your face shaved?
Mike: Yes, and I'd like my moustache trimmed.
barber: Please come here to have your hair washed. Do you like some pomade while drying?
Mike: Just a little.
Barber: How do you like it now?
Mike: Very well.
If you come up with other phrases useful, please feel free to comment below.
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