Want to know the trick to a good haircut while teaching in South Korea? It’s really simple, find an English speaking hair stylist!
I don’t mean that you can’t get a good haircut from someone who doesn’t know English; however you might have more difficulty, at least when trying to tell them exactly what you want for your hair. For guys this might not be the biggest deal, but for some girls an inch here or there could ruin a great haircut.
Now far be it for me to tell any girl how to cut a haircut, all I know is what I like for my hair. I’m a big fan of keeping my hair a bit on the longer side, but I thought that it would be advantageous for me to try a Korean style while I’m here. Now, let me warn the boys out there reading this; there aren’t many options when it comes to men’s hairstyles. For the most part they are variations on one main style. Women’s hairstyles, on the other hand, are more varied. For example, one trend that I see quite often while teaching is the “Apple-cut” (not pictured), which is when the woman’s hair is cut near shoulder length and there is a side pony tail coming out near the top. The idea is to look like an apple.
Armed with this knowledge, be prepared to do a few things when you walk into a hair salon while in Korea.
First, unless you know that they speak English bring a photograph of the style of hair cut you would like. It helps if you bring a photo of your old style, that is if you want to keep looking the same. Words and gestures will clearly help get your meaning across, but at the end of the day a visual representation is very helpful.
Second, not only will it help if your hairdresser knows some English--or if you know some Korea--but it helps if they also know how to cut foreigner’s hair. There is a difference between types of hair and unless the hairdresser is familiar with foreigner hair you might end up with a haircut you weren’t hopping for.
Third, try new things! It is only hair, it grows back! The hairstyles for both men and women the hair styles look good as well.
I am lucky that where I go for my haircut is with a woman who learned English while living in England studying to be a hairstylist. Clearly she knows foreigner hair AND she speaks great English. Can’t forget it cost only 10,000KRW, what a deal!
Max Brodsky was born and raised in Colorado and he is currently teaching in Cheonan, Korea. Realizing that a degree in English from Colorado State University will lead him to teaching or writing, he decided to head over to Korea to test the waters before jumping in. Max found that he loves every minute he gets to spend in the classroom teaching and has found a wealth of writing material. He is excited for this year abroad. Follow Max to see how teaching affects him over the year!