The International Quest for the Best Haircut

I have short hair.

As it, I couldn’t dream of pulling it back in a pony. A pixie cut, with long fringe (Anne Hathaway stole my hair cut. And I wear it better).

Which is great. I love having short hair, it sets me apart (especially in the US). It’s stylish, different and far more ‘me.’ However, having short hair means that I can’t fall into the ‘I can get a hair cut anywhere’ camp. Too boxy a cut and I look like a soccer mom. Too short, and it just looks awful (as anyone who has seen my undergraduate graduation day photos can attest to. My hairdresser thought that ‘can you fix my fringe’ meant ‘cut them away completely’).

In my various stints as a temporary expat, I’ve found the need to get a good haircut. And when you are completely unfamiliar with an area (and in some cases, with the language) you need recommendations.

My first international hair cut was courtesy of an Italian man named Fabio. He spoke enough English to cut hair, and I knew enough Italian to end up with something cool. There was, of course, a little bit of confusion.

“Can I have something cute? Feminine? But short,” I said (in Italian).

Fabio looked at me, confused. “But Italian men like women with long hair.”

“But I prefer having short hair.”

Bear in mind that at this point, my hair was just below my chin and rather shapeless. There was no way that I was going to have long, flowing tresses without years of growing my hair, or expensive extensions.

Fabio blinked. “So, you want…sex appeal for women?”

Si,” I replied, not processing that he had just asked if I wanted to appeal to women. Fabio’s inquiries into my alleged preferences didn’t matter, and I ended up with the best hair cut I had had to that date.

The result? A cool, choppy, assymetric look. I was hooked. And had to go over two years without something similar.

The next awesome international haircut I got was in Edinburgh. I had been to another salon and just wasn’t happy with the look (it grew out into a bob, which just doesn’t suit me), so I went to Hot Head salon. A lovely pink-haired Scottish lady named Sabrina cut my hair–and it was awesome. She consistently did a great job (particularly when I switched to my current ‘do, a Frankie Saturday inspired Pixie cut). I joked that I would have to return to Scotland every six weeks so I could get my hair cut.

Sadly, trips to Scotland every 6 weeks are not doable at this stage of my life, so I had to find a new hair salon. A tentative call to a new salon yielded a same-day haircut, with a lady named Jackie.

As soon as I stepped into the salon and saw her purple hair, I knew we’d get on well. Result? I guess I don’t need to go abroad for one of the best hair cuts I’ve had.

6 comments
  1. Kristin said:

    Hahaha, sounds all too familiar to me! I, too, have short hair and always wet my pants when I have to look for a new hairdresser in a new country.

    • Beth said:

      I’ve determined that the best solution for me is to find a hairdresser with unnaturally colored hair.

  2. I feel your pain. A couple of times I’ve resorted to cutting my own hair, since I usually go for the asymetric random look anyway it turned out ok in the end. Hot Head are pretty good, though pricey for a student. :)

    • Beth said:

      :)

      My hair is my one vanity! Their prices aren’t much different from what I’m used to paying in the States.

      I can’t cut my own hair, it usually ends up looking horrible. :(

  3. I’m super picky about my short hair, so when I get a haircut I like I immediately take a picture of it – then I can show it to the next hair person and say “do this.” Sometimes that works :)

    • Beth said:

      I’ve tried it and failed every time! I have better luck asking a hair dresser to follow the lines. :)

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