My first Korean hair cut


The week before we moved to Korea, I decided to take the plunge. I decided that if I could move to the other side of the world, I could take a chance and dye my hair. So at 31, I had my first experience with hair dye. We thought auburn was a good fit.


It’s hard to believe that was almost five months ago! My roots have been growing out a bit. My hair naturally gets pretty blonde in the summer, so I have auburn hair with blonde roots. Tim and I decided maybe we should try something lighter, like a strawberry blonde. So we spent some time looking through pictures. I had a picture for the color I wanted and then another for the cut.

I decided that I would do my first hair cut in Korea on base. Surely they speak English at the salon on base right? I arrived on time for my 1:00 appointment, but they weren’t busy anyway so I probably didn’t need an appointment. I told the older woman (who spoke the best English) the color and cut I wanted. I showed her pictures.

She then tried to find the color on her papers. She kept going from the red paper to the blonde paper. I should have walked away then. I thought, surely they can do this, I have a picture. She went to talk to the other ladies in Korean. When she came back she told me that they haven’t done red in a few years and asked if I could go to the PX to buy some red hair dye. Again, I should have walked away.

So I went to the PX and bought three bottles of red dye. Apparently I have enough hair to require three bottles? I brought it to them and two ladies started mixing. Another wrapped my neck and my shirt so it wouldn’t get dyed. She then put what looked like miniature shower curitains over my ears.


Two ladies proceeded to brush color onto my hair with what looked like a paint brush. That’s what Jaclyn used in February though, so I knew it was normal. As they were doing this, several different Korean ladies walked by and they were all examining my hair and looking at it. Some looked concerned. I started to get a little nervous.

A couple of minutes in to this, it looked like a crime scene. Their gloves were covered in bright red and the towel around my neck looked like it had been used to clean up a gaping wound. At that point I knew that it wasn’t going to be as blonde as I had hoped.

Another lady came in for her 2:00 appointment as my hair was setting. They didn’t seem to understand what she needed for dying the roots of her highlights. She looked at me and I said, “this is supposed to be strawberry blonde.” She said, “no way!” and promptly left the salon!

After they washed my hair, the older lady asked if they got the color right. It wasn’t dry, but my roots looked bright pink and the rest of my hair almost looked black. I said, “No. I was hoping for more blonde than this. A lighter color.” She assured me that it would get lighter after they dried it.

I showed another picture for the cut. A simple layering to frame my face. At first the bangs looked pretty crazy. It was like a half moon. Thankfully, before she finished, she straightened them up a bit. She did layer my hair, just not like the picture.

As she was cutting the older lady came back and said, “See, I told you it would get lighter.” I actually thought it was darker at this point. “Is that the right color?” I showed her the picture again and she said, “The sun will bleach it in about two weeks.”


I don’t think so. I know from last time that it will get lighter. But I don’t think it will get anywhere near strawberry blonde. Especially in two weeks.

All in all, my hair doesn’t look bad. The color and cut look fine. It just wasn’t what I was expecting.

So far I have learned to read Korean and count to 20. I guess I need to work on colors next. Then maybe I can venture out to a Korean salon in the city. Though in their defense, I have seen auburn in Korea, never strawberry blonde. So I may need to stick with that. Or I can just try blonde next time and see how that goes. Maybe eventually I wll go back to my normal hair color and just get my hair cut once or twice a year.

2 thoughts on “My first Korean hair cut

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