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GERMAN LANGUAGE

What you need to know about getting a haircut in Germany

There’s nothing quite like the feeling of having a new haircut, but it can be a bit daunting going to a hairdressers if you don’t speak the language fluently. Here’s what you need to know about visiting a hair salon in Germany.

A hairdresser blow dries her customer's hair.
A hairdresser blow dries her customer's hair. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Magdalena Troendle

How to find a hair salon

Like with most other services, Google Maps is a pretty reliable source for finding hair salons in your local area.

The German word for hairdresser is (der) Friseur, and just typing Friseur into Google Maps while walking down the street will usually bring up several places to choose from.

Another popular app for beauty treatments in Germany is Treatwell which you can use to search for making appointments, choosing services and paying in advance without having to call anybody.

The harder part is picking a good, trustworthy salon. For this, it’s advisable to read Google reviews and also the customer reviews on Treatwell.

Making an appointment

For women’s haircuts, you will need to make an appointment at most salons.

If you find a salon that you like the look of, usually you can just make an appointment on their website or on by phoning them.

Don’t expect your hairdresser to be able to speak English, however, and prepare yourself for the conversation beforehand by looking through our vocabulary list below.

They might ask you to specify exactly what you would like done to your hair (what type of cut or colour; whether you want a blowdry; etc).

What about pricing?

Prices vary, and the price for a cut and colour will depend on the length of your hair – the shorter your hair the less expensive typically. Most hairdressers will list their prices on their websites. 

If you’re having highlights (Stränchen) done, most hairdressers will also list the price for an individual highlight, or for having a full (ganzer Kopf) or half head (halber Kopf) of highlights. 

You can count on spending a minimum of €25-30 for just a cut (Schnitt), and this will be considerably more expensive at fancier salons. A cut and blowdry (with a hair wash) often costs around €60 in Berlin. 

People get their hair cut in Kordel, Rhineland-Palatinate.

People get their hair cut in Kordel, Rhineland-Palatinate. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Harald Tittel

In almost all salons in Germany, you will be asked beforehand if you want your hair to be washed before cutting. For non-German customers, this might seem like a purely rhetorical question but bear in mind that this is something you will also be charged for.

However, it’s advisable not to try and get around the cost of having your hair washed by turning up with already soaking wet hair. Not only will it probably get you off on the wrong good with your hairdresser, but it will prevent them from getting an idea of what your hair usually looks like. 

Tipping

If you’re happy with your haircut, then tipping your stylist between 5 and 15 percent is encouraged. A lot of salons have a piggy bank or box at the cash register with the stylists’ names on them where you can deposit your tip.

Common phrases you might use:

A wash and cut – Einmal waschen und schneiden.

Only trim the ends – Nur die Spitzen schneiden.

I’d like a new hair colour – Ich möchte eine neue Haarfarbe .

I’d like to have highlights – Ich möchte gerne Strähnchen haben.

I would like to have my roots dyed – Ich möchte meinen Ansatz färben lassen.

I would like to have layers cut in my hair – Ich möchte meine Haare stufig schneiden lassen.

I’d like it to be shorter on the sides and long on top –  Ich möchte es seitlich kurz und oben etwas länger.

I’m not sure. What haircut would look good on me? – Ich bin mir nicht sicher. welcher Schnitt würde mir gut passen?

I’d like a perm –  Ich möchte eine Dauerwelle.

Can you straighten it? – Können Sie es glätten?

Can you touch up my roots? – Können Sie mir den Ansatz nachfärben?

I’d like blond overtones/highlights – Ich hätte gerne ein paar blonde Highlights.

I need an elegant hairdo for a wedding – Ich brauche eine elegante Frisur für eine Hochzeitsfeier.

I’d like it to be shorter on the sides and longer on top Ich möchte es seitlich kurz und oben etwas länger.

The key terms

hair treatment – (die) Haarkur / die Haarmaske

hair – (die) Haare

der Frisur (m)/Die Friseurin (f) –  hairstylist

wash and cut – waschen und schneiden

schneiden und föhnen – cut and blow dry

short hair – kurze Haare 

long hair – lange Haare

straight – glatt 

curly – lockig

fringe – (der) Pony

ponytail – (der) Pferdeschwanz

cut in layers – stufig

electric shaver – der Rasierapparat

ends – (die) Spitze

parting – (der) Scheitel

highlights – (die) Stränchen

blowdry – föhnen 

Toner (a semi-permanent colouring treatment) – die Abmattierung

Member comments

  1. The most important thing you need to know about hairdressers in Germany is that THEY ARE REALLY, REALLY BAD.

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For members

GERMAN LANGUAGE

The seven stages of learning German every foreigner goes through

German is a notoriously difficult language to learn and the path to fluency is marked by milestones that every budding German speaker will recognise.

The seven stages of learning German every foreigner goes through

Stage 1: Terror

You’ve just set foot on German soil and are ready to begin your new life in the Bundesrepublik. While you may have left home feeling excited and full of enthusiasm for learning the German language, you now find yourself in a world of alarmingly long and confusing words containing strange symbols which are impossible to pronounce.

You’re confronted with long words like Ausländerbehörde, Aufenthaltsbescheinigung, and Wohnungsanmeldung and the prospect of having to get to grips with a language whose average word contains 14 letters slowly dawns on you. It’s terrifying.

Tip: Don’t panic. At first, learning German can seem like a daunting prospect, but as you start to take your first baby steps into the language, you’ll soon realise it’s not as bad as you think. And those long words are just lots of smaller words squashed together.

READ ALSO: 10 German words that strike fear into the hearts of language learners

Stage 2: Determination

You’ve got over the initial shock of realising the true scale of the linguistic mountain you’ll have to climb to learn German – and you resolve to conquer it.

You enrol in a language course and arm yourself with grammar books and language learning apps, and you start making progress very quickly. You realise that a lot of German words have the same roots as their English cousins and that words and phrases are sticking in your head more quickly than you expected. The flames of optimism begin to grow.

A couple practices the German language. Photo: Annika Gordon/Unsplash

Tip: Keep up that spirit and persist with the grammar books and vocab learning, ideally on a daily basis and start speaking the language as much as you can – even if it’s just reading aloud to yourself. 

Stage 3: Obsession

Spurred on by your new ability to introduce yourself, talk about the weather and tell people about your pets, you launch an all-out assault on the German language.

READ ALSO: How to remember the gender of German words

You’ve got post-it notes filled with vocab stuck all over your flat, you’ve got three tandem partners and Tagesschau is blasting 24/7 from your Laptop.

You are now officially obsessed with the German language.

Tip: Don’t be too hard on yourself once this phase of unbridled enthusiasm burns out. Though it’s great to have a period of immersion in the long-run, regular learning – even for shorter periods – is the key to progress.

Stage 4: Experimentation

You’ve now got a solid base of internal vocab and you’ve got to grips with the most important grammar rules. You can use the dative and genitive cases with increasing ease and you’re using modal verbs on a regular basis. 

You now feel ready to road-test your new language skills in the big wide world. You don’t ask Sprechen Sie englisch? (do you speak English?) any more and instead try to communicate only in German. 

Tip: Bolster this experimentation phase by consuming more German media. Listen to German podcasts, check out German TV shows and try to read the news in German. 

READ ALSO: Tatort to Temptation Island: What do Germans like to watch on TV?

Stage 5: Frustration

Just as you were starting to gain confidence in the language, you hit a brick wall. You spent an evening in the company of German speakers, or you attended a meeting at work where you found yourself fumbling for vocabulary and stumbling over grammar.

You can’t, for the life of you, remember whether it’s der, die or das Licht even though you’ve looked it up at least a hundred times. 

A German dictionary. Photo: Joshua Hoehne/Unsplash

What’s the point, you ask yourself. You want to give up and just switch to speaking English permanently, as everyone you meet seems to speak perfect English anyway.

Tip: Everyone feels like this at some point when learning a new language and it’s likely to happen more than once on your language-learning journey. Keep going and don’t compare your German language skills with the English skills of German natives. Remember that most Germans have grown up listening to songs and watching films in English, so it will take you a bit longer to get to grips with German in the same way. 

Stage 6: Breakthrough

You’re not quite sure what’s happened, but something seems to have clicked. You’re suddenly using the right past participles 90 percent of the time and you’re using reflexive verbs with ease. People are rarely switching to English when speaking to you and you’re understanding almost everything you see and hear.

READ ALSO: Six ways to fall in love with learning German again

Tip: Remember this feeling when you are revisited by frustration in the future. 

Stage 7: Acceptance

You still make mistakes, you don’t know all of the words in the German dictionary, and you still mix up der, die and das – but it’s ok. You’ve come a long way and you accept that your German will probably never be perfect and that the learning process will be a lifelong pursuit. 

Tip: The more you use the language, the more you’ll improve. Keep reading, speaking and listening and, one day, it won’t even feel like an effort anymore. 

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