Tuesday, 6 July 2010

Getting a haircut in Madrid – Do’s and Don’ts

Excuse the blurry photo I took of myself post-haircut!

This is something I’ve mentioned before but have been meaning to come back to. Here’s my light-hearted take on getting your hair cut in Madrid:

Don’t expect UK-style ‘customer service’ – in all but the most expensive of hairdressers you will be offered no tea or coffee, you will not be given ‘hair catalogues’ to browse and more often than not you will not get a consultation. In all likelihood someone will wash your hair and the first time the hairdresser sees your tresses they will be wet and he/she will therefore have no idea of your hair texture.
Do expect a great blowdry. I’ve had good cuts and less-good cuts, but one thing that is consistently great here is the news-reader/pornstar blowdry. Ask for ‘las puntas hacia fuera, con volumen’ for Farrah Fawcett style flicks. If you have an event to go to, or just fancy having big hair, DO just have a blowdry, you’ll feel great and it won’t break the bank.
Do expect them to say they’ll only cut off ‘3 dedos’ (3 fingers) only to realise that your hairdresser’s idea of a finger is the thickness of a Lancashire sausage. Isn't that the case everywhere though?
Don’t expect kid gloves. You can get a decent haircut in high street chains, like Marco Aldany, but you may find the treatment a bit rough and ready. If you have knots, they will be yanked rather than teased out of your hair, and your stylist is likely to assume your head has a heat-proof asbestos coating.
Do tip if you want to. A euro is fine, I’ve seen others just pop it into the hairdresser’s pocket so I do the same if their work is good.
In cheaper salons DON’T say yes to all the extras they’ll try to land on you. That means saying no to máscara (masque) and sí to crema (conditioner). The products might be ok, but often some amateurish trainee hair-washer will just plop an expensive hair mask onto the roots rather than ends of your non-towel-dried hair and it won’t take effect.
Do ask for capas finas (fine layers) otherwise your stylist may be tempted to go for ultra chunky ones which may or may not be suited to your hair depending on how thick it is (On average Spanish hair is thicker than anglo-saxon hair so this means the typical layering here is very choppy - which looks great on thick hair, but can leave finer hair looking a little wispy)
If you have dark hair DO ask for 'mechas finas de color caramelo' (fine honey blonde highlights) unless you want thick orange tiger stripes.
Do make use of hairdressing wholesalers – for professionals only in the UK, here you can often go in and buy salon-only products in enormous containers. There’s one on c/Argumosa on Lavapíes – sorry I don’t know the name or number, but if you walk down the street you will see it if you have your eyes open as it’s pretty big – I promise!
Do ask for a baño de colour rather than tinte if you want semi-permanent colour.

If you'd like to avoid all of the above, you can go to Aveda on C/Ortega y Gasset, 2 friends have recommended it to me. Also, if you want to get your hair done by Victoria Beckham’s ex hairdresser go to Lorena Morlote on C/Don Ramón de la Cruz - they used to do Posh’s extensions when she lived here. I went there for a Yuko Japanese straightening treatment about 5 years ago and they cut my hair really well, brought breakfast and massaged half my body. And so they should have to that price. Alas, now I save the pennies by going to franchises like Jofer, but using the ‘rules’ above it normally turns out ok :-)


Anonymous said...

Try a wonderful little hairdresser called trasquilones ;-) at the beginning of Amor de Dios in Antón Martín. You might have to ask for an appointment beforehand but it's worth it :-)

Nadya - said...

Thanks for tht tip - that's near my house so I'll give it a try :-)

Ashleigh said...

Wow!!! This is fantastic!!!! What a public service you've done for all of us!

Nadya - said...

I've had so many hair disasters that I've learnt a bit along the way ;-)

Paula Calvo said...

Dear Nadya,

I loved your blog! following this thread, and having expat friends, your description is very realistic! I've heard some many horror stories from Spanish Salons!

I do recommend to contact Alex Douglas, English Mobile Hairdresser


You can expect from him English style and customer service, consultation on your looks and awesome highlights. He is also mobile so he goes to you so no waiting time.

As a friend and good client I'am almost sure he will love to have your opinion about his services.

thanks for your contributions and keep on, we love it!

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