Hair
Do you like going to the hairdresser? Do you want to change your hair colour? How often do you have a haircut? How long have you had this haircut? Have you had a haircut you didn't like?
Vocabulary
  • Hairdresser (noun) - a person who cuts people's hair and puts it into a style, usually working in a special shop, called a hairdresser's.
  • To pamper (verb) - to give someone special treatment, making that person as comfortable as possible and giving them whatever they want.
  • To blow-dry (verb) - to dry your hair using a hairdryer.
  • To dye (verb) - to change the colour of something using a special liquid.
  • Distinguished (adj.) - used to describe a person, especially an older person, who looks formal, stylish, or wise.
  • Grey (adj.) - having hair that has become grey or white, usually because of age.
  • Bald (adj.) - with little or no hair on the head.
  • To wear (verb) - to arrange your hair in a particular way.
  • Barber (noun) - a man whose job is cutting men's hair.
  • Barber's (noun) - a shop where a barber works.
  • Unmanageable (adj.) - impossible to deal with or manage.
  • To trim (verb) - to make something tidier or more level by cutting a small amount off it.
  • Wax (noun) - a solid substance containing a lot of fat that becomes soft and melts when warm.
  • To wax (verb) - to put a thin layer of wax on the surface of something, either to make it waterproof or to improve its appearance.
  • Pore (noun) - a very small hole in the skin of people or other animals, or a similar hole on the surface of plants or rocks.
  • Cleansing (adj.) - used to describe something that cleans or is used for cleaning.
  • Horrifying (adj.) - very shocking.
  • Haircut (noun) - the style in which someone's hair is cut, or an occasion of cutting the hair.
  • Mohawk (noun) - a hairstyle, often worn in punk fashion, in which the hair is removed from the sides of the head and a central strip is made to stand up from the head.
  • To shave (verb) - to remove hair from the body, especially a man's face, by cutting it close to the skin with a razor, so that the skin feels smooth.
  • Sensible (adj.) - based on or acting on good judgment and practical ideas or understanding.
Get exclusive episodes on IELTS Speaking parts 1, 2, and 3
Get exclusive episodes on IELTS Speaking parts 1, 2, and 3
Questions and answers
M: Do you like going to the hairdressers?

R: Well, I'm sort of in two minds about this one, because while it is nice to have a sort of short cut and get all the pampering that goes with hair, I always feel a bit sad afterward because it's so short, and I always think my hair looks really good with a side parting. And when it's been blow-dried into place.

M: Do you want to change your hair colour?

R: Well, I used to want to dye my hair and I actually did so quite frequently. But now I've come to terms with the fact that I'm a distinguished grey or I'm turning a distinguished grey. So that's not so bad. It could be much worse. I could be going bald, and I'm definitely not. So it's pretty good. It's a good compromise.

M: How often do you have a haircut?

R: I used to aim for about once a month. Although, to be honest, now after about eight weeks, I always think it's got a pretty decent length and it looks great when I wear it up. It's usually after the eight-week mark that I head off to the barber's and have it cut because it just gets unmanageable after that.

M: How long have you had this haircut?

R: About three weeks, I suppose. I went to my usual Turkish barber and they cut my hair along with doing everything like trimming my eyebrows, burning off the hair around my ears. And then... Oh yeah, they also decided that they would wax my nose hairs as well and do pore cleansing at the same time. Which sounds horrifying, but actually it's quite a nice refreshing feeling after it's finished.

M: Have you had a haircut you didn't like?

R: Oh, absolutely, yes. About four years ago, I got this really, really weird haircut. I don't even know what you call it. It was like a sort of fat Mohawk in the middle of my head and the sides were shaved. And that was not a good look. It's like one of the least sensible styles I ever had. And to make it worse, I didn't get my beard trimmed. I had it shaved as well. So it just it wasn't a good look.

M: Thank you, Rory, for your answers!

R: Hopefully they weren't too hair-raising.
Discussion
M: Yeah, dear listener, life is not perfect, but your hair can be. Let's invest in our hair.

R: Although it occurred to me while I was thinking about these questions, because I said at least I'm not going bald. But could you imagine if you were a bald person, and you went into the exam, and someone asked you these questions, you would be sitting there thinking, what?

M: Yeah, a bald person is a person without hair. So he's just bald, like no hair. Yeah, that would be horrible. But I think a bald person used to have some hair, right? Maybe like when they were a child. Maybe like at school? I don't know. So, yeah, some hair stories could be told. Rory, you said that I'm sort of in two minds about it. So I'm in two minds about it.

R: Yeah. So it's like there's, I'm a bit, I have positive feelings about it and I have negative feelings about it. Because while I really like having the fresh feeling of a new haircut, I also miss my old hair. And I think when you go to a hairdresser's or a barber's, they make a point of cutting it a little bit shorter than you wanted it, so that you'll grow into it, and it's not like it starts to get too long immediately. So there's that period afterwards where you're thinking, oh my god, this is too short, but maybe that's me. Maybe I just don't know my hair very well.

M: You go to the hair dresses to have your hair cut. For example, you can say I had my hair cut last month. So you didn't cut your hair. The stylist cut your hair. And Rory usually has short hair. So you said that I had a short cut.

R: Yes. And the same way you could say I got my hair cut as well. So I had and I got for things that were done for you. Oh, is this a grammar focus?

M: Oh, yes. Is this really nice grammar structure? I got my hair cut, or I got my hair dyed. Dyed - like change of colours, right? And we say like a haircut or haircuts, right? So can I say I got a new haircut?

R: Yes, absolutely.

M: Yeah. And also style, hairstyle, right? I decided to change my hairstyle, so I went to the hairdresser's.

R: We could do this for a lot of things, actually. So I had my hair cut, I had my hair styled, I, well... This isn't to do with haircuts. This is just something unique to Turkish barber's, I had my nose waxed. If you've never had this experience, then try it out and try not to die of a heart attack when they do it.

M: Yeah, ladies, so we usually say I had my nails done, right? I had my face cleaned.

R: I thought you're gonna say I had my face done.
M: I had my face done. Like they changed my nose. Yeah, so to have something done, right? I usually have my hair cut once a month or twice a week, for example.

R: How often do you have your hair cut?

M: Oh, I think once a month. Yeah, because I usually have it dyed as well. So you know, to have the best hairstyle ever, you should do it once a month. Yeah. If you have it dyed. Have it dyed. Hair - it. Okay? Hair is perfect. My hair is gorgeous. Right? So is, okay? What does it mean, if I say blow-dried? It's blow-dried.

R: Well, for me blow drying is when you use a hairdryer to dry your hair. But probably if you're a hairdresser, it means like a really specific thing. But for most people having your hair blow dry, it is with a hairdryer.

M: Yeah, speaking about colours. Again, the usual expression is I had my hair dyed, not coloured.

R: Not painted.

M: Not painted. No.

R: Oh, no, um, you can have your hair coloured. But most people just say you had your hair dyed but I think in Russia at least, and a lot of other European countries. It's painted, isn't it?

M: I think so. Yeah.

R: Yeah, the word translates as painted. Which is really funny.

M: I want to dye my hair. What? Your hair wants to die? No, no, no, change the colour. Yeah. And Rory, is your hair going grey?

R: Yes, it's turning grey, turning grey. And of course, this expression distinguished meaning I'm having trouble dealing with the fact I'm turning grey, so I'm going to say it's a positive thing instead of a negative thing.

M: Yeah, we say grey when a person has white hairs. And yes, I can say hairs, if it just like 1 hair, 2 hairs. So if just a couple of hairs on Rory's head are turning white.

R: And they're at the sides.
M: And a key phrasal verb is to pull it off. Yeah? It's a great one about hair and hairstyles. So how do we use it? For example, you can say, pull off a unique appearance. So I want to pull off a unique hairstyle. And you've just said it about what?

R: Well, it's difficult to pull off a mullet and look like good with it. So you pull something off in that sense, then it means that you've done it, successfully. Very successfully, actually.

M: Yeah. So if you want to go for a new hairstyle, to go for a new hairstyle, you can say also like, once I went to the hairdresser's, and I wanted to pull off a unique appearance. So I had my hair dyed blue. And what's the word order? I had my hair dyed blue? I had my hair dyed ginger?

R: Yes.

M: So the question could be about a haircut. And we say kind of a haircut or hairstyle, right? And are there any differences between I'd like to change my haircut, or I'd like to change my hairstyle?

R: Well, usually people use them to mean the same thing. But a haircut is usually to do with... Oh, how best to say this... It's to do with making hair shorter. And then hairstyle is to do with having it in particular positions. But again, that's really oversimplifying it. And I think most people would just say my haircut or my hairstyle to mean the same thing, which is how your hair looks.

M: And another synonym for the hairdresser or stylist, hairstylist is a barber. A barber, like a barbershop. But that's only for men. Right? Where do ladies go?

R: Well, I don't know. Um, ladies, I mean, like if you really want to simplify it, ladies go to the hairdresser and men go to the barber. But there's also like the salon as well. Lots of men, well, lots of women and increasing numbers of men are going to salons, which are not just focused on hair, but they're also focused on beauty treatments like manicures, pedicures, this kind of thing. However, I realized the other day and I realized just now, that because we're talking about Turkish barber's, they do a lot of male beauty treatments as well. Like the aforementioned getting your nose waxed kind of thing. I need to stop talking about it, but it was like a really horrifying experience when it happened to me because I was not expecting that to happen. I just thought oh, I'll get a haircut and it's just a little bit more expensive than I thought it was going to be. But then they got out these cotton buds in wax and just shoved them up my nose and I thought, oh, well, this is happening and then to make it worse while I was lying there thinking what's going on with my nose. The barber lit some paraffin on fire and started waving it around my ears to burn off the hair around there. I should point out I do not have excessively hairy ears, it's just like a little bit of grey but apparently, that was something that needed to go. And so I was sitting there thinking this is it, this is how I die, in a Turkish barber's on fire with wax up my nose. But I survived and it was nice. And now every time I go back home I have that done. And there you go, have it done, again.

M: Wow. Wow, poor you. Wow.

R: Initially, poor me, it was a good experience in the end.
M: You said that I nip off. Nip off to the barber's.

R: That's like saying I pop off to the barber's. So like just a quick, oh, I don't know, a quick journey to where you need to be.

M: Yeah, another super phrasal verb for you. And don't forget to check out our phrasal verb course. The link is in description. If you want to have these juicy phrasal verbs for, you know, the level of proficiency band 15 score. Nip off, you know, pop up, pop around, pull it off. Wow, this is amazing. And this is really sophisticated stuff, dear listener, for pretty much like advanced and proficiency levels. Perfecto. So Rory has his Turkish barber. It's a man, right?

R: It is, yeah. It's usually the same guy. I feel really bad. Because he doesn't speak English. But it's funny. It's always the same guy. But because he doesn't speak any English. And I don't speak any Turkish at all. Sorry, Turkish listeners. I don't, I can't, I have other languages to learn. But I don't know his name at all. But it's always the same guy. And he always waves and says, oh, hi, like, or, you know, motions hello, and then the usual and then we just get on with it. But it's a really strange experience because he's obviously very good at his job and knows what he's doing. But I have no idea anything about this man's life.

M: And Rory goes there to have full works.

R: The full works. That's what it's called.

M: Yeah, the full work at this Turkish barber's means that Rory gets his hair cut. He gets his beard trimmed. So trim.

R: Should we talk about the difference between cutting and trimming?

M: Yes, go ahead.

R: Okay, so trimming is for particularly short hairs being cut and cutting can be for any length of hair, but usually longer hairs. So for example, you have the hair on your head cut, but you have your beard trimmed.

M: And you can have your nose waxed. So at this place they wax Rory's nose. So they remove all this like... From the nose.

R: Oh, speaking of cutting and trimming, it's probably also a good idea to point out that cutting is done with scissors. And trimming is usually done with a trimmer. However, it's the idea of it being quite close in that's the thing, whereas cutting doesn't have this idea so much.

M: And also they can trim your eyebrows. So if you have like bushy eyebrows like this, so they like they trim, they trim your eyebrows.

R: Which I don't, I don't have bushy eyebrows. He just decided that I did. I guess, I suppose, I mean, I'm sounding like I'm blaming the person who's the barber, but probably he was thinking like, oh, he's paid for this. So probably he wants something done. But you know, he's obviously very optimistic about how much I know about getting haircuts because I know nothing about getting haircuts. I just sit there and say, make something happen.

M: Yeah, dear listener, even if you don't do this, the full work thing as Rory does, you can use this vocabulary to just show it off. Yeah, I go to the hairdresser's to have my eyebrows trimmed to have my nose waxed, to have my beard trimmed.

R: That might not be very convincing if you're sitting there with like a full beard and big bushy eyebrows.

M: Speaking about a hairstyle or a haircut that you didn't like. Oh, yeah, we've all had these stories. Yeah? And Rory, you told us that something was shaved off.

R: Oh, yeah. The hair on the sides of my head was shaved off. So if it's shaved, it's like very close to the skin. Do you remember this haircut?

M: No.

R: Oh, yes, you do. It was horrifying. In fact, if you go to our old workplace, I believe I still have this haircut on some of the marketing.

M: You can say it was horrifying. It was so horrible. I felt horrible. I felt devastated. I couldn't get out of my house. Yeah? And you also mentioned something like a fat Mohawk.
R: Oh, Mohawk. Yeah, that's like having a strip of hair in the middle of your head. I'm surprised you don't remember this, because it was... It was a very unique look.

M: I remember your torn, dirty, perhaps, jeans.

R: They were not dirty. They were torn.

M: Yeah, okay. They were torn. I remember your torn jeans.

R: Yes.

M: Yeah, maybe after that I just like, I stopped looking at you for some time.

R: Just glossed over. I still remember that conversation to this day. You don't look like you should be here.

M: I don't know what's gotten into me, Rory. I had this conversation with you, I left the room, and I was thinking to myself, oh, my God, how could you do this, woman? You are a horrible person.

R: You did not think that at all. You were like... I told him exactly what he needed to know. And then it only took, what, four years of badgering me before I actually managed to make myself look like a human being.

M: Oh, boy.

R: Let's face facts. It wasn't a good look back in the day.

M: Oh, boy. Those were the days. Yeah, dear listener, you can also mention that you've got curly hair, you've got straight hair, or you've got wavy hair. So different hair types. For example, Rory, what's your hair pattern? Straight, curly, curly, straight? Everything?

R: I think I have quite straight hair, to be honest with you. I will say it's straight because it's definitely not curly. That's for sure. Although, when it's really really long, it goes curly at the ends. Speaking of ends, if you're a lady, or if you're a man with very long hair, then you can talk about getting split ends, which is when the ends of your hair start to break up. And that is all I know about split ends because I've not had long hair in about 15 years. So... God only knows what it's like now.

M: Oh, wow. So once you did have long hair?

R: Once I did have long hair. We will not discuss this too much because it wasn't a good look. Everyone makes poor fashion decisions, when you're 16 years old. It's not, it wasn't great. And we're not getting pictures for that.

M: Also, we can say that I care for my hair. I use different hair care products? Care hair products?

R: Hair care products. Although, I'm not really sure if any of these questions would like come into it. Would they?

M: No, maybe you go to the hairdresser's to have these care hair procedures.

R: Hair care.

M: Hair care procedures. And also, when you talk about a hairstyle, my hairstyle could be stunning or gorgeous. So once I had a gorgeous hairstyle, or a gorgeous haircut, or a stunning. Stunning is like, oh, wow, it's so beautiful. So like these are two nice adjectives to use about hairstyles and haircuts.

R: Stunning and brave.

M: Gorgeous, like our gorgeous vocabulary today.

R: But that's pretty much it for hair. Hair today. Gone Tomorrow.

M: Thank you very much for listening! Thank you very much for being with us. If you want to support these free videos, and if you want to support my crazy hair, you can donate to us to just say thank you, to buy Rory a cup of coffee.

R: Or a sensible haircut.

M: Or a sensible, a sensible haircut. The link is in the description. Okay? Bye!

R: Bye-bye!
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