A Korean Haircut

Last week, I felt I was in dire need of a haircut.  My hair was just long enough to begin to brush my shoulders, and that was too long for me.  I called up my cousin Ji Young and asked her to take me to her hair dresser, because there was no way I was going to put the future of my hair in the hands of a stranger without having moral and translation support.  Besides, I love spending time with Ji Young.

So, on Saturday afternoon, we went to her hair salon, which is located in the Lotte department store in Myungdong.  We walked right in without an appointment (Ji Young had texted her hair dresser before to see if she could fit me in that day), and within 5 minutes of our arrival I was in a reclined chair getting a scalp massage and my hair washed.  The massage was divine…

I had explained to Ji Young earlier that I mostly wanted to shorten the hair on the back of my head, and didn’t want bangs.  I didn’t really have any specific idea of what I wanted, partially because I figured there are only so many variations on short hair when bangs are out of the picture.  She helped me explain this to her hair dresser, and I browsed a look book of short hair styles to pick out one that I liked.  I’ve gathered that look books are really common in Korean hair salons — the ones I’ve been to in LA have had them as well, in contrast to other non-Korean salons.  It’s really helpful when there’s a language barrier (which I’ve encountered in the States as well) or when what you want is hard to put in words…as hair styles often are.

Anyways, Ji Young’s hair dresser got to working on my hair, and I just watched her go at it.  I love getting my hair cut, but that clearly doesn’t show on my face, as Ji Young asked me  how I was doing multiple times with a concerned look on her face.  The hair dresser and I made a little small talk in Korean, but not much.  She and Ji Young have a friendly relationship, so they chatted a bit as well.

In the end, I was really happy with how my hair turned out, so if I need another trim I’ll definitely go back.  The moral of the story is to find a well-recommended hair salon when in a foreign country (at the very least), and to take a native speaker with you!



  1. OMG, At least you are in Seoul! I got mine cut last month here in Busan. I brought pictures and translations in Korean of what I wanted done by coworkers. I ended up hooked up to some scary machine, permed, cut and crying when I got home. The next day I proceeded to go to a different place and have them chop off about 6 inches of hair. Now, I have a short do and love it… but it was definitely not part of the plan.

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