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Getting a Haircut in China

by | Apr 18, 2024

Haircut in China | That's Mandarin

We all need to get a haircut once in a while. And while in big cities you can always find a salon with English-speaking hairdressers and barbers, this might not be the case in a small city.

From haircuts and styling to coloring and treatments, let’s cover everything you need to know to get a perfect hair salon experience in China 💇

Hair Salon

Let’s start by taking a look at different names of the places where you can get your hair cut.

There are so many hair salons around – you can easily find them by colorful poles 💈, or just simply type 理发店 (lǐfàdiàn) on your Baidu Map.

Hair Salon | That's Mandarin

hairdresser’s, barbershop

When barbershop (理发店 lǐfàdiàn) refers to a place where you primarily get haircuts, hair salon (美发店 měifàdiàn) suggests a broader range of services including hair cutting, styling, and beauty treatments.

Hairdressers | That's Mandarin

hair salon


Chinese hair salons often have a ranking system (职级 zhíjí). This means you can choose the level of expertise and experience of your hairstylist, or 理发师 (lǐfàshī).

💰The price of the haircut varies depending on the level of experience of the hairstylist you choose. But don’t worry, they’re all highly professional, so there’s no need for concern!

💇Hair Salon Services: Basics

01. Wash Hair

A visit to a Chinese hair salon typically starts with a hair wash (洗头 xǐ tóu), often coupled with a gentle scalp massage.

Shampoo | That's Mandarin

xǐ tóu
to wash hair

🛀 In China, it’s common for many girls to visit salons just to get their hair washed. This practice, known as 洗吹 (xǐ chuī) goes beyond mere hygiene; it’s a cherished relaxation ritual for many.


When you step into a hair salon in China, they might ask if you want to have 干洗 (gānxǐ), or “dry wash”. The assistant will apply a mixture of shampoo and conditioner to the hair and also do a massage. It is supposed to be more environment-friendly and also add an extra touch of relaxation to your salon experience.

02. Cut Hair

The next step, (and yet the most crucial one) is getting your hair cut:

Hair Salon | That's Mandarin

jiǎn tóu
to cut hair

If you only want to trim just a small amount of hair, you can say to the hairdresser:

Wǒ xiǎng bǎ tóufǎ jiǎn duǎn yìdiǎn.
I want to cut my hair shorter.

If you have a specific hairstyle (发型 fàxíng) in mind that you’d like to change to, you can show a reference to the stylist and say:

Wǒ xiǎng zuò zhè ge fàxíng.
I’d like to get this hairstyle.

03. Dry Hair

Haircuts in China usually come as a “3-in-1 package” – wash, cut, and blow-dry, also known as 洗剪吹 (xǐ jiǎn chuī). As the last step, the stylist will use a blow dryer to style and set the hair.

Hairdryer | That's Mandarin

chuī fēng
to blow-dry

💇‍♀️ If you want to add extra style to your hair and make it straight or curly you can say:

Wǒ xiǎng bǎ tóufa tàng zhí.
I’d like to have my hair straightened.

Wǒ xiǎng tàng tóufa.
I’d like to perm my hair.

💇Hairstyle Changes

01. Dye Hair

A frequent request heard at hair salons is for hair dyeing, known as 染发 (rǎn fà).

Dye Hair | That's Mandarin

rǎn fà
to dye hair

To ask the hair stylist to change your hair color, you can use this phrase:

Wǒ xiǎng gěi wǒ de tóufa rǎn gè sè.
I would like to dye my hair.

02. Cut Fringe

Cutting a fringe is a popular and fast way to change up the hairstyle and frame the face.

Fringe | That's Mandarin

jiǎn liúhǎir
to cut fringe

Here’s what you can say if you want to cut the fringe:

Wǒ xiǎng jiǎn liúhǎir.
I’d like to cut my bangs.

03. Hair Treatment

Hair can undergo damage due to the use of styling products and exposure to high temperatures. Chinese hair salons offer various hair treatments that help to restore hair health.

Comb | That's Mandarin

tóufa hùlǐ
hair treatment

If you want to have a hair treatment at the salon, you can politely ask:

我的头发受损了, 我可以做头发护理吗?
Wǒ de tóufa shòu shǔn le, wǒ kěyǐ zuò tóufa hùlǐ ma?
My hair is damaged, can I have a hair treatment?

Learn More About Life in China

Massage, or 按摩 (ànmó), is a very popular type of therapy in China among locals and foreigners alike. Learning about the different types of massage and their Chinese names can help you choose the perfect one at a Chinese massage salon. Let’s check them out!


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