At some point while spending time in Russia, you might decide that you need to get a haircut, or «стрижка» in Russian. The place where you can do this is called a «парикмахерская» (hair salon). Most people in Russia visit a «парикмахер» (hairdresser) on a regular basis and tend to favour certain types of haircuts.


It may seem ridiculous, but your hair style can be quite a big deal to some people. For instance, Russian grandmothers won’t hesitate to judge you by the length of your hair. In order to make a good impression, men should keep this in mind: the shorter, the better. Men with long hair were always a minority in Soviet times and even now they can be regarded with suspicion, especially by older Russians. However, it’s safe to say that things are changing, and today’s society is less uptight about the length of male hair than just a decade or so ago. Nevertheless, if you’re a male traveller in Russia trying your best to blend in, you’re better off going for a more traditional short cut.


Being a girl is much easier in this respect. There is an infinite number of female haircuts, although you might notice that many Russian girls wear their hair nice and long.


So, having established the most respected hair trends, we can now move on to the most exciting part: a visit to a Russian hairdresser. Note that while there are male and female hairdressers, most places are unisex. So, if you feel uncomfortable being watched by a strange person of the opposite gender while you get your hair cut, you might want to go for the first option.


Now, let’s look at some of the key phrases you will need when getting your hair cut in Russian.


Step 1: Booking a haircut


The routine for booking a haircut is pretty much the same as in other European countries: you call the place up and book an appointment.


Here are some useful phrases for doing just that:


  • Я хотел(а) бы записаться на стрижку в ближайшее время I’d like to get a haircut ASAP.
  • Когда я могу прийти? When can I come in? (You might need to ask this if the receptionist tells you that «в ближайшее время все занято» or “everything’s booked right now”).
  • Сколько стоит стрижка? How much is the haircut?
  • Это слишком дорого! That’s too expensive! (a genuine reaction to the situation below)


Now, here’s an example of how you could go about booking a haircut:


Усталый голос: Парикмахерская «Краса», слушаю Tired voice: Hair salon «Beauty», listening.

Вы: Здравствуйте, я хотел(а) бы записаться на стрижку в ближайшее время You: I’d like to book a haircut as soon as possible.

Сердитый голос: В ближайшее время все занято Grumpy voice: Everything is booked right now.

Вы: Ну, когда можно прийти? You: Well, when can I come in?

Злорадный голос: Через месяц! Spiteful voice: In a month!

Вы: Как жаль. Я приехал(а) в Россию ненадолго и очень хотел(а) посетить ваш салон You: What a shame. I came to Russia for a short time and really wanted to visit your salon.

Удивленный голос: Вы иностранец?! Surprised voice: You’re a foreigner?!

Вы: Да You: Yes.

Любезный голос: Вы знаете, у нас осовободилось время сегодня в 4 часа. Вам удобно? Polite voice: You know, we’ve got an opening today at 4 pm. Will that be convenient for you?

Вы: Да, конечно. Это было бы замечательно. А сколько стоит стрижка? You: Sure. That would be great. How much for the haircut?

Хитрый голос: Около 1000 рублей. Зависит от процедур Cunning voice: About 1000 rubles. Depends on the procedures.

Вы: Это слишком дорого! Но...у меня нет выбора You: That’s too expensive! Though… I have no choice.


After you have done that, there is only one thing left to think over: мыть или не мыть (whether or not to wash your hair). However, there may not actually be a need to do that because in most Russian hair salons they’ll not only wash your hair, but they’ll also make it smell like daisies.


Step 2: At the front desk – «у секретаря»


Once you’ve made it to the salon, you’ll need to have a short conversation with the receptionist. All you need to say is:


  • Вы: Здравствуйте, я записан(а) на стрижку на 4 (вставьте любое время) часа Hi, I reserved a haircut for 4 PM (insert any time).


The answer will either be:


  • Подождите, Вас позовут Wait and you’ll be called.




  • Проходите Come this way.


Step 3: The haircut – «стрижка»


If you really care about how you look, it might be wise to bring along a photo showing your desired outcome. As soon as you sit down with the hairdresser, you’ll need to show him or her the photo and say something along the lines of:


  • Я хочу стрижку как на этой фотографии I want my hair cut just like in this photo.


If the hairdresser looks displeased or shakes his or her head, say:


  • Извините, я передумал(а) Sorry, I’ve changed my mind.


…and run. There is no chance you’ll leave this place satisfied.


For those who are concerned about the length, here are some vital phrases to use:


  • Я хочу подровнять кончики I’d like a trim.
  • Я хочу насколько возможно сохранить длину! I’d like to keep the length the same as much as possible! (This phrase is especially important, otherwise your “trim” might suddenly evolve into the popular “zero” cut).


For those who have nothing to lose:


  • Постригите меня покороче Cut my hair short.
  • Сделайте что-нибудь. Мне все равно Do whatever. I don’t care.


For those who are curious:


  • Что Вы посоветуете? Что сейчас модно? What do you recommend? What’s fashionable?
  • Какая прическа подойдёт к моему типу лица? What do you think would look good with my face type?


And let’s not forget the critical word that you’ll want to use if the hairdresser gets too excited with the scissors:


  • Я думаю, это достаточно! I think that’s enough!


The hairdresser will often try to cajole you into trying various special procedures that will enhance your hair’s overall look and health. If you consider trying one, don’t forget to ask the price beforehand, otherwise the bill might surprise you. It’s always safer to ask:


  • Сколько стоит эта процедура? How much does this procedure cost?


When the hairdresser is done, don’t forget to express your gratitude for their service. A simple Спасибо, мне очень нравится! (Thank you, I really like it!) will suffice.


Even if you are not satisfied, try saying it with a wry smile. Sadly though, this won’t change your hair situation. However, there is one more thing you could ask:


  • Cколько стоит этот парик? How much for that wig?


Image Sources


Hero Image by Roksolana Zasiadko (CC0)