Today we're going to talk about hair and hair appointments.

My students at French Coffee, my French conversation group, strongly asked me to make a topic of conversation about physical appearance and especially hairstyle.

It's hard enough for us natives to go to the hairdresser and make sure he understands us, so I can't even imagine for you if you go to the hairdresser in France

So today we're going to see the vocabulary, what you have to say to get this or that hairstyle. I'm going to put a picture of a hairstyle and I'm going to tell you what you have to say to the hairdresser to ask for this hairstyle, to give details about what you want.


French haircut vocabulary:

So, already, let's look at the hair sizes according to the hairdressers.

hair sizes according to the hairdressers in French

Les cheveux courts = We have short hair at the level of the ears

Les cheveux mi-longs = We have medium-length hair at the level of the shoulders

Les cheveux longs = We have long hair in the middle of the back. 

Les cheveux extra-longs = And you have extra-long hair, if it reaches the lower back.


First, if I just want to cut my damaged hair, but not make major changes, I will ask for couper les pointes. (=cut the tips)

cut the tips in French

We can also specify the number of cm: Je veux couper mes pointes d’environ 5 cm (=I want to cut my tips about 5 cm), for example


If I want this haircut, what am I going to ask the barber?

a gradient V-cut in French

To get this haircut, I can ask une coupe dégradée en V (=a gradient V-cut) keeping the length.

A layered cut is this effect of length down and it gives more volume to the hair. Here, we have a V shape.


If I want this haircut, what am I going to ask the barber?

a tapered mid-length bob

I will ask un carré mi-long effilé (= a tapered mid-length bob)

Une coupe carrée (= a bob haircut), it is a short or medium-length cut, always at or above the shoulders.

Effilé(e), it means that we take away the thickness of our hair. The effect is lighter and more supple.


If I want this haircut, what am I going to ask the barber?

a half-length solid square in French

I will ask un carré plein mi-long (=a half-length solid square)

Une coupe pleine is when our hair stays at the same length, it is not layered or even tapered.


If I want this haircut, what am I going to ask the barber?

a plunging bobble in French

I will ask un carré plongeant. It is a cut where the back is shorter and the front is longer.


If I want this haircut, what am I going to ask the barber?

une coupe courte ou garçonne

I will ask une coupe courte ou garçonne. It's a very short haircut, then you can ask for it to be tapered, layered, asymmetric or full.



Bangs in French:

So, now for the ladies, let's move on to the different types of bangs.

We have la frange droite.


La frange rideau


La frange sur le côté



Vocabulary of hairstyles in French:

Let's see, now, the different hairstyles this time for women:

Un chignon haut
Un chignon haut


Un chignon bas
Un chignon bas


Une queue-de-cheval / une couette
Une queue-de-cheval / une couette


Des tresses ou des nattes
Des tresses ou des nattes




Let's move on to men. Obviously, men can also ask for the same cuts as women, I'm just generalizing here to show you the possible vocabulary.


If I want this haircut, what am I going to ask the barber?

a progressive graded cut in French

I will ask une coupe dégradée progressive keeping the length above. We can also say more simply: court sur les côtés et plus long au-dessus (=short on the sides and longer above)

It's up to you to specify how long you want to cut. 💡 In France, we specify the number of cm we cut and not the one we keep. As for women, we can say: Je souhaite couper 3 cm, for example.

Here, we have un dégradé accentué. The demarcation between the skin and the hair is very visible.


an accentuated shading cut in French
I show you the same cut with un dégradé léger. We see that the demarcation between the skin and the hair is less strong.



The hairdresser may also ask you if you wish to un fondu dans la nuque or une nuque droite.

a fade in the neck in French
Un fondu dans la nuque, it is a light effect of gradient in the nape of the neck.


A straight neck in French
And une nuque droite, there is no gradient.


If I want this haircut, what am I going to ask the barber?

 a short cut in French

I will ask un coupé ras. We really have almost no length. More colloquially, we say avoir la boule à zéro, is to have no hair length.


At the end, the hairdresser may suggest that you put on de la cire (=wax)

Wax for hair in French
We have de la cire Matt, that styles, but has a natural effect.


 wet look wax / shine wax in French
And la cire effet mouillé / la cire brillante, as its name indicates, it is more visible. A la Dicaprio.


We also have more original hairstyles for both men and women:

the bowl cut in French
Like la coupe au bol.


a mullet in French
Or la coupe mulet.




At the hairdresser, you can change your haircut, but also the color of your hair or make effects.

We can faire une couleur. We change the entire color of our hair.
Have a color in French

Here are the main colors that can be done:

Blond platine / Blond très clair / Blond clair / Blond / Blond foncé / Châtain clair / Châtain / Châtain foncé / Brun / Noir (=Platinum blonde / Very light blonde / Light blonde / Blond / Dark blonde / Light chestnut / Chestnut / Dark chestnut / Brown / Black)

We can also do : des mèches
highlights in French

or un balayage.
un balayage


The difference between mèches and a balayage : les mèches are more accentuated, more pronounced and le balayage is more natural and light.

a tie & dye in French
We can also do un tie & dye, a lighter effect on the ends of the hair.


a perm in French
At the hairdresser, we can also do une permanente. It is a process to curl your hair.


a Brazilian keratin treatment in French
We can also do un lissage brésilien, to have straight hair.


 hair care in French
And we can do un soin. The hairdressers propose it, be careful, it is paying, you pay about 5/10 euros more, if you make a care.


I hope you enjoyed this lesson! I'll give you an exercise on the vocabulary we just saw as a complement! 


One last little exercise: tell me in comments what hairstyle you asked for the last time you went to the hairdresser?

If you want to come and discuss hair and physical appearance with us, you can sign up here: French conversation group..


 🇫🇷  I'll see you soon for new adventures, in French of course.