China Life

My First Haircut in China…

I love getting my haircut. It is the best excuse to pamper yourself without feeling too guilty. I love the feeling of going into the hair salon a little bit shabby and leaving looking like a movie star. At least that’s what I think I look like with my freshly cut and blown out hair.

I am picky about who I let cut my hair though. I think I can narrow down this picky attitude to that one time a hairdresser misunderstood me when I asked for shorter layers and instead gave me a weird shoulder bob thing. Ever since then I am very particular with who I let transform my hair.

Moving to China was the best decision of my life, but it meant that some things had to change. Where to get my hair done and who to let cut my hair was a big question I had even before my big move.

Last week, I noticed that my hair had seen better days and when a friend asked me if I wanted to go across the street for a haircut, I accepted the offer. This haircut was unlike anything I had ever experienced before. I decided to document the experience with photos for I feared that my words wouldn’t do an adequate job.

 Here is the hair salon. You can notice several pretty women dressed in matching dresses by the front door. Yes, there is a barber pole light and yes, the building is gold.

  IMG_8411 Then the pretty lady escorted me to a chair and wrapped towels around my shoulders. She returned with a squirt type bottle full of water. What she did next blew my mind. The lady squirted the top of my head and then pumped shampoo onto it! She massaged the shampoo into my scalp using small circular motions. It felt weird and wonderful all at once. We took a selfie. I then started to relax and sip on my beer. (That’s right. My beer. You can bring beer just about anywhere in China and I needed a cold one for this experience.)

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All too soon the relaxing was over and I started to FREAK out. I have a lot of very fine hair. It is temperamental on most days and it loves to be knotty… So naturally I lost it when she turned my hair into one giant dreadlock. It was a beautiful soapy dreadlock. I don’t think the lady knew that my hair was not like Chinese hair and would not just magically rinse out without any knots. (I chugged the beer.) 

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I unfortunately don’t have any photos of her taking me upstairs to the actual sinks to wash and play tug of war with my hair.  After she spent what felt like hours trying to detangle my hair, the little hairdresser led me to a room with a massage bed, shower, and bath tub. No big deal right…!? I laid down on the massage bed and she massaged my head, shoulders, and arms. Then she did the unthinkable. SHE CLEANED MY EARS. Yup. You read that right. (It actually felt kind of good…) 

Once my upstairs hair and ear adventures were over, I was taken downstairs to meet my hairdresser. (I guess the pretty ladies aren’t allowed to cut the hair?) 


He was very understanding of my hair concerns and demands. I think he was a little bit disappointed that I didn’t want more cut off. I give him props for detangling my hair painlessly. After cutting and blow drying my hair, he handed me a mirror to look at it and I have to say that I was impressed and happy!
 I am so greatful my friend invited me to get my hair cut with her. I successfully got my hair cut without knowing fluent Chinese and the hairdressers knowing any English. It was a cultural shock and it was educational as well. I do think that if I go again, I will arrive with my hair wet and combed to avoid the dreadlock scenario.

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