A Cut Above: Learn Basic Arabic Words for Getting a Good Haircut

A Cut Above: Learn Basic Arabic Words for Getting a Good Haircut

If you’re traveling overseas visiting any of Arabic speaking countries for any long period of time, eventually you might have to get a تحلق / tiHla’ (haircut). However, if you’re like some and suffer from tonsurephobia (the fear of getting a haircut), the idea of a tiHla’ might only be less than that of getting a قناة الجذر qanat aljudhur (root canal). Incidentally, barbers used to be dentists and vice versa back in the old days.

Similarly, not being able to speak Arabic may increase that fear. You might come out of the صالون حلاقة / salun alshaer (hair salon) unhappy with the results because the  حلاق / halaq (barber) or مصفف الشعر / musafif alshaer (hair stylist) either cut it too short or in the only style he or she seems to have learned in barber school. So, in an effort to allay those fears, this article will help you learn to speak Arabic for getting your haircut to ensure sure you always look and feel your best.

Actually, going to the halaq is not that difficult and you can usually find several around your neighborhood. You can look for the word halaq for the men or for the ladies, كوافير /kawafeer (hairdresser). When you go in, simply tell the barber, “أريد قصة شعر من فضلك” “‘urid qisat shaear min fadlik” (“I’d like a haircut, please.”). The barber will usually ask you “كيف تريد قص شعرك؟” “kayf turid qis shaearuk?” (“How would you like your hair cut?”). You can use words and phrases like the below to get the look you want:


just a trim / mjrd taqlim / مجرد تقليم
make it short / ajealha qasiruh / اجعلها قصيره
leave it long / autrukh tawilanaan / اتركه طويلا
on the sides / ealaa aljawanib / على الجوانب
in the back / fi alzuhr / في الظهر
in the front / fi aljabha / في الجبهة
give me bangs / aml lee ghurah/ أعمل لي غرة
just a blow dry / jafif shari / جفف شعري
dye it blonde (red) (black) (brown) / sabghah shuqara’ (ahmr) (asud) (bni) / صبغه شقراء (أحمر) (أسود) (بني)
gel / jil alshaer / جل الشعر
mousse / mus alshaer / موس الشعر
cream / karim alshaer / كريم الشعر


You can even take a picture along with you and say, “I’d like my hair in the same style as this photo, please.” / “urid shaeri binafs namat hadhih alsuwrah, min fadlka.” / “أريد شعري بنفس نمط هذه الصورة ، من فضلك.”

Similarly, as in the rest of the world, Arab barbers are usually quite friendly and راوي القصص / rawi alqasas (raconteurs). In other words, you’ll also be entertained while you’re getting your haircut,.

After he’s finished cutting your hair, the barber will say to you نعيما / naiiman. There is no equivalent to translate this from Arabic into English, but it means something along the lines of “Hey! You’re looking good now!” Anyway, just simply reply “الله ينعم عليك” “aLLaah yinim aleek”.

If you used this article to get a haircut, Naiman! If you’d like to learn Arabic language skills a little more, head over to our website and start learning Arabic today. You can download the Kaleela Arabic learning app – the best way to learn Arabic! Along with Modern Standard Arabic, you can learn how to get your haircut and more in other Arabic dialects like Egyptian Arabic, Levantine Arabic, Syrian Arabic and Iraqi Arabic! And Kaleela is so convenient – you can learn Arabic anytime, anywhere and a pace that’s comfortable to you! Check it out from Google Play, App Store or kaleela.com.

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https://kaleela.page.link/SMART