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How to ask for a haircut in Japanese


How to ask for a haircut in Japanese

Welcome back to another “Video & Article” series with tutor Wakako. In this article and video we will talk about asking for a haircut in Japanese. If you live in Japan, have you ever been afraid of going to the hairdresser because you might get your Japanese wrong? No more!

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[How to ask for your haircut in Japanese]


Do you live in Japan or plan on living in Japan in the future? If yes, you may at some point end up having to visit a hair salon. So we’re introducing some useful expressions to order your haircut or hairstyle in Japanese.


[How to ask for your haircut in Japanese]

There are many hairstyle related words which came from English, but the Japanese pronunciation of these words is slightly different from the original English words.

When you first go to the salon, you will most likely say you what want to have done in general. You could say:

I’d like it [my hair] cut please.

I would like a perm please.

“カット” obviously means “cut”, but the pronunciation is slightly different from the English word.

The important rule to remember here for correct pronunciation is that Japanese words cannot end on a consonant, except for the “ん” sound. Therefore, a word always needs a vowel sound at the end of it. Subsequently “カット” is not pronounciated “cut”, but has the “o” sound at the end of it, making it “catto”.

The same logic is used with the word “パーマ” when asking for a perm. Perm needs the “a” sound at the end, making it “paama”.

Of course the easiest way to order a hairstyle is to show a photo of the hairstyle you want to have. In that case, you can say:

Please make it look like in this picture.

If you just want your hair trimmed you can say:

Please just trim the tips of my hair.

毛先けさき” means “hair tip/ends” and “そろえる” means “to trim” in this context.

Your bangs or fringe are an important part of your hairstyle because they strongly impact what your entire face looks like. So the hair dresser at the salon will probably ask:

What would you like to do with your bangs/fringe?

前髪まえがみ” means bangs/fringe. To this you could reply:

Please cut it so it doesn’t reach my eyes.

“かかる” in this context means “to reach” and “かからない” is the negative formof “かかる”.

Please cut it so it covers my eyebrows.

眉毛まゆげ” means “eyebrows”.

Please cut it straight.

“まっすぐ” means “straight”.

Please cut them so they fade over into my hair at the sides.

If you have short hair, you may want to use the following phrase:

Please cut the sides not to cover my ears.

Can you layer my hair?

だん” means “layer”.

Can you thin out my hair?

もうりょう” refers to the amount of hair and “らす” means to reduce.

If you have long hair, you can give instructions regarding the length with these phrases:

I’d like to have my hair cut to shoulder length.

かたながさ” means “shoulder length”.

xx cmってください。
Please cut off xx cm off the length.

If you are aiming for something more special like a perm, you can try using the following phrases:

I’d like to have loose curls.

Please only curl the lower part of my hair.

I’d like to get a straight perm.

Here again, please be aware of the pronunciation of “ストレートパーマ”. It is “sutoreeto paama”.

That is all for today’s lesson. If you have any questions you can always clear them up by booking a lesson with one of our native Japanese tutors. See you next time!

単語たんごリスト(Vocabulary list)
美容院びよういん Hair salon
やく To be helpful
カットする To cut (hair)
To cut
パーマをかける To have a perm done
毛先けさき Tip of one’s hair, hair ends
程度ていど Degree, amount
前髪まえがみ Fringe, bangs
眉毛まゆげ Eyebrow
っすぐ Straight
よこ Side, horizontal
ながれる To stream, to flow
だん Layer
毛量もうりょうもうりょう Amount of hair
らす Reduce, decrease
かた Shoulder
ゆる Loose, soft

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