It’s officially 12 weeks since I faced my fears, stepped into a Moroccan hairdresser (or coiffure as they call them) and got my ears lowered (also known as a haircut). Twelve weeks is something of a record as normally it’s six weeks between haircuts for me back home in New Zealand. I guess that’s an indication that barbers over there are not fans of long hair – and this includes hair in other places. Let me explain … and share the story of a Marrakesh haircut.
Normally I get a haircut before I travel – there’s something about the familiarity of sticking with a hairdresser you know, or at least one that speaks the same language. Not that I’m overly fussy when it comes to hairstyles – I’ve had the same type of cut for a few years now and it’s pretty easy to repeat each time I go back. So with that sort of hair-apathy and the fact that our departure date didn’t coincide with my haircut cycle I planned to get one overseas. Wild abandon is my middle name…
Finding a Marrakesh hairdresser
By the time my hair was ready for cutting back, we were in Morocco, which worked out well since I even after a short walk around our riad I could see there were plenty of barbers (the sign says coiffure, which basically means stylist in French, the language spoken by many here – don’t let that put you off, there’s not too much about most of these places that is high end).
I also knew prices would be relatively cheap, and in most cases negotiable.
So then there’s the question of which one to choose. There was no opportunity to compare reviews or ask someone (heck, just asking someone a simple question around here would probably cost me a few dirhams). I was going to let my generally lucky intuition guide me.
A few blocks from our riad we came into one of the business streets where there were a few barbers but since it was just after lunch most were closed – for napping or prayer time, or both. Anyway that left me with one guy who didn’t seem to have any customers (was this a bad sign?) and when I approached he motioned me to come inside. Ok, sure why not, this must be the one. When I asked how much he said 30 dirhams, which was only a few dollars so that sounded pretty good to a budget-conscious traveler.
If you’re struggling to find someone that meets your requirements check out this list of Marrakesh salons on Facebook – this is the closest most of these businesses will get to having their own website!
Moroccan hairdressers – More than a haircut
So I settle into the chair and he organises his tools (which seem many, varied and relatively clean – I think). Of course, my French is petit at best so I was basically like ‘do your thing … hopefully it’s obvious what I need’. This, by the way, is my normal approach to hairdressers – I trust you know what you’re doing…
Anyway, limited language skills aside he did his thing with scissors and razors (yep were talking cut-throat razors, talk about a trusting tourist…). At one point there was a bit of whoopsee while trimming the line at the back when he drew blood and rushed to his patch-up kit (obviously this happens on a regular basis because he didn’t see too phased).
In addition to cutting my hair, the travel beard got a tidy up plus nose and ear hair trimmed – talk about full service.
All up it took about 20 minutes so that was pretty efficient service. With all the extra add-ons I actually felt a bit mean just giving him 30 dirhams so I added an extra 10.
Would I get another Marrakesh haircut?
Absolutely! Sure I lost a little blood and I felt shorn as a september sheep but for 40 dirhams and the extra attention to detail I wasn’t expecting it was all worth it. Besides having a really short hairstyle is a definite bonus walking around in 40-something degree heat.
And while I wasn’t expecting high fashion hair, after the initial shorn shock, my hairstyle looked pretty good. That was the best value haircut ever!