Toolkit: how To… Get A Haircut in France!

For many people, a trip to the hairdresser’s can seem like a daunting prospect. Describing the haircut you want can often be quite the challenge, even in your native language! Most of us are all too familiar with that sinking feeling when the hairdresser holds up the mirror and your heart drops… but all you can do is sit patiently in your chair and muster a thank you through gritted teeth!

Once you mix in the additional complication of a language barrier and cultural style differences, it’s enough to make you want to steer clear of the hairdresser’s altogether if you’re living abroad. Not to worry – we have put together this handy guide to help with your next trip to the salon or barbers!

Basic Phrases For Visiting The Hairdressers in France

  • A hairdresser’s in France is called ‘Coiffeuse’ (Hairdresser), ‘Coiffeur’ is the general term for hairdressing or for a barber.
  • Haircut: une coupe
  • Shampoo: le shampooing
  • Colouring and highlights: les couleurs et mèches
  • Haircare and treatments: les soins et traitements
  • A blow-dry or straightening: le brushing
  • Short or long: la coupe courte ou longue
  • Layered: en dégradé
  • “I’ve come to have the colour touched up.” – Je viens pour me refaire ma couleur.
  • “I just want the roots redone.” – Je veux seulement une coloration des racines.

For Men

  • Sideburns: les pattes
  • Beard: une barbe
  • Clippers: une tondeuse
  • Crew cut: coup en brosse
  • Nape of the neck: la nuque
  • Hairline: l’implantation

Do Your Research!

You won’t have any trouble finding a hairdresser’s in France – there’s practically one on every street corner. But, with so much choice, make sure you find the one that’s right for you. Explore different areas, compare the prices and take a look at the people who are already in the salon getting their hair done. If you’re a young twenty something looking for a new head of highlights, you might want to avoid the hairdressers doing the perms for all the old ladies of the neighbourhood!

Do Make An Appointment!

Especially in busy cities, it’s best to be ahead of the game and pre-book your ‘rendez-vous’.

Do Make Sure You Know What You’re Asking For!

 Paris might be the fashion capital of the world, but sometimes the haircut that you were envisioning might not be quite as daring as the one your hairdresser has decided to go for. It’s always best to take a picture with you, just in case!


But, always remember, if anything goes wrong – it’s only hair and it will always grow back!