Support TFG by using the links in our articles to shop. We receive a small commission (at no extra cost to you) so we can continue to create helpful free content. As an Amazon Associate, we earn from qualifying purchases made on Amazon in addition to other retailers featured on the blog. Thank you, we appreciate your support!
Whether you’re on a round the world trip, a long holiday, or are looking to take advantage of lower priced hair services on a vacation, getting your hair done abroad can sometimes be a scary experience.
You may have feelings of uncertainty with a potential communication barrier if you don’t know the language. You may be unsure about the skill level of your hair stylist. What about the quality of product? Will they use a brand that makes your hair fall out?
As a long term traveler I’ve gotten my hair done abroad in several countries. I’ve taken my chances in Mexico, Thailand, Vietnam, and in El Salvador.
Has it always been a positive experience? For the most part, yes.
I’ve had my hair re-texturized in Thailand and Mexico. I’ve been satisfied with the results all five times. I can’t stand my curly frizzy hair. Getting my hair straightened professionally simplifies my life and prevents me from having to fuss with my hair when I should be focused on traveling.
I’ve gotten my hair cut twice in Thailand. I’m picky about haircuts generally but it did the trimming job. Nothing drastic so I survived.
I dyed my hair in Vietnam which washed out very quickly. Erica from OverYonderlust also does not recommend getting your hair dyed abroad, especially in bright, runny pink.
I’ve also gotten extensions taken out and re-placed in El Salvador. While it wasn’t the most professional job, it lasted me two months and was good enough for the bargain price. (I had a wedding to attend.)
Not too bad of a success rate!
At home, I’ve gone to a Korean salon to get my hair done for the past twelve years so I’m used to having a bit of a communication barrier holding me back from fully explaining my hair style desires. Accustomed to somewhat of a challenge, I’ve braved the world hair salons and can offer the following tips for girls looking to get their hair done while traveling:
7 Travel Tips for finding a good Beauty Salons and Getting Your Hair Done Properly When Traveling:
❶ Shop around. Ask several salons for pricing and products. It’s also good to have a peek at other customers to see their results.
❷ If you’re planning a chemical treatment such as hair rebonding or Japanese straightening (more about this tomorrow) or dying your hair, go the day before and ask them what products they use. Hair salons have always been more than cooperative. Google the product when you get home and determine if it’s a reputable brand.
❸ Bring pictures if possible or scope out their magazines to give them a detailed visual about what you want. We would do that at home too right?
❹ Search online for customer recommendations. “Hair salons near me in Playa del Carmen” or “Salon websites and recommendations in Bangkok” should at least head you in the right direction. Bigger cities and tourist areas are probably a good place to give a hair treatment a shot. Rush has a chain of salons in London. Lisa from We Said Go Travel learned the hard way and says her hair experience in the middle of Mongolia wasn’t the best.
❺ Take a look at the cleanliness of the salon. It’s always a good sign about their professionalism and quality of service.
❻ If you would tip your hair stylist at home, tip abroad. Hair stylists still work hard to get the end result you want. 10-20% is always appreciated.
❼ Have a good time and relax. It’s not very often when we do something girly and non-travel related on the road. Bring a good book or read some magazines. Even if they magazines are in another language you can never go wrong with pretty fashion pictures and beauty products!
What are your experiences of getting your hair done abroad? Do you have any other tips that would help other Travel Fashion Girls like you?
Don’t forget to re-post if you find these tips helpful! Thanks for reading.
I actually had my first overseas hair cut experience this past fall. I got about 6″ cut off my hair into a simple bob and it went alright, despite the complete language barrier (see: http://thewanderlustproject.com/2013/01/hand-gestures-and-a-drivers-license-photo-how-i-got-my-hair-cut-in-korea/) I’m heading back in less than 3 weeks and I’m actually considering waiting and getting my hair cut over there again rather than spend 5x as much here for a similar cut!
One thing to note about Korea, tipping isn’t expected and some people may actually get offended if you try to give them money. Customer service is top notch though.
I got to a Korean hair salon in Los Angeles and most of the communication is also with hand gestures but I love my stylist! Getting beauty treatments like a haircut done abroad is a great money saving tip especially if it’s not too complicated of a style. And yes, it’s super important to know the tipping culture beforehand. Thank you for the reminder and thank you for sharing 🙂
Great tips. It would also be great to see some tips on finding good places to get other services done, like pedicures or waxing. I’m always looking for a place to get a GOOD bikini wax done abroad, but it can be a bit awkward to ask about using charades and pointing. I wish travel guides included salon/spa recommendations!
Another great post. I’m getting my last hair cut here in the states on Friday. I’m doing the ombre style so if my roots grow out it’s not problematic. I’m sure in the next few months though I’m going to have to go get my hair thinned out. Great info!
good idea! the sun will give yo natural highlights. i love my hair color right now 🙂
Hi! This is my first time to comment and I wanted to say I love visiting Travel Fashion Girl. Another hair salon finding tip when traveling in a new place: ask a local that has great looking hair where he/she goes. I had the best hair cut of my life in Beirut when I asked a chic looking woman where she went. I was nervous at first to ask but it helped me practice my Arabic and I think she was flattered to hear someone say that her hair was beautiful.
Hi Nadya, thank you so much for commenting and for your tip! Getting comments like yours makes me super happy and totally validates the effort I put into making Travel Fashion Girl a special resource 🙂
That’s great advice and I’ll include it in a future post if it’s ok with you?
Do you have a blog I can link it to?