If you’ve recently moved to France, visiting the hairdresser or hair salon (le coiffeur) can feel intimidating, not least attempting to explain your hairstyle preferences in French! Many of us had built up a relationship spanning decades with our previous hairdresser, so how do you go about replicating that here in France?
Finding a hairdresser or hairstylist in France
It depends on your preference and needs, as hairdressers are a personal thing. Some of us like the salon experience, others prefer a mobile hairdresser to come to the house as time is precious.
For those who prefer a salon, the website PLANITY can help. Simply type your postcode in the search, and you can find hairdressers near you, available to book online.
Taking a stroll along your local high street and having a good nosey at the hairdressers is another option. Prices are often displayed in the window, and you can see the range of equipment on offer and the setting.
Asking your neighbours and friends for recommendations is a good idea too. Or, consider posting on your local Facebook expat group for recommendations. You can often find an English-speaking hairdresser this way.
Failing that, choose the person whose hair you admire and ask them!
Booking an appointment at the hair salon in France
If your French will allow, ring up and make an appointment. Plan what you might need to say in advance – for example, have a list of dates and times to suit you. Alternatively, book online using Planity.
Je voudrais prendre un rendez-vous, s’il vous plait – I would like to make an appointment, please
Ce vendredi à 11 heures me conviendrait bien si c’est disponible. – This Friday at 11am would work for me if it’s available.
Je ne peux pas. Pouvez-vous me proposer un autre rendez-vous, s’il vous plaît ? – I can’t. Can you suggest another time please?
Be clear about what you would like in order that the hairdresser may book enough time for you.
Je voudrais une coupe et un brushing, s’il vous plaît. – I would like a cut and blow-dry, please.
Je voudrais un couleur (ou des mèches), s’il vous plait. –I would like a colour (or highlights), please.
Chez le coiffeur: at your hair appointment
Have a clear idea in your mind of hair length, layers, fringe (une frange) and colour.
Je ne veux pas que ce soit trop court mais je voudrais qu’ils soient en dégradés, s’il vous plaît. – I don’t want it too short but I would like some layers, please.
Dégradé sur le dessus –Layered on top
Une coupe courte tout en degrade – a short, layered cut
La coupe courte ou longue – a long/short cut
Les meches – highlights
Les soins et les traitements – hair care tratments
Un brushing raide – straightened hair
Un permanante- a perm
Types of hair:
Cheveux fins – fine hair
Cheveux epais – thick hair
Cheveux secs – Dry hair
Cheveaux normaux – Normal hair
Cheveaux gras – Greasy hair
Cheveux boucles – Curly hair
Cheveux lisses – Straight hair
Cheveux frisses – Frizzy hair
See our full guide to Essential French Vocabulary: At the Hair Salon/Chez le Coiffeur
Top Tips for Getting Your Haircut in France
- If you need a bit of a boost with your French, download a translation application onto your mobile ‘phone such as Google Translate or take a pocket-size dictionary to help. The vast majority of people are kind and helpful and respond so well when it is clear someone is trying their best to learn.
- Take a photograph of the style you are aiming for – this is especially helpful when you may not have the right words to explain what you want.
- It’s not customary in France to tip your hairdresser.
- Try to relax and enjoy – keep smiling and never be afraid to say no and to ask for what you would like – it is, after all, your hair.
- If you love the results, remember to ask the name of your stylist, so you can request them next time.
Local Life in France
From shopping at the supermarket to sending a parcel at Post Office, finding your local dechetterie to who to call in an emergency—FrenchEntrée is here to help with every aspect of day-to-day living in France. Read our Essential Reading guides for advice on living in France, visit our Shopping zone or Pets zone, or brush up your language skills with our handy learning French resources.
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