22: Beauty & Haircare


Good hair and beauty salons are numerous in Toulouse and the suburbs. In communities where there is a high density of English-speaking people you will no doubt find that hairdressers and beauticians are more accustomed to, and more patient with, ‘our’ translation of hairdressing terms. This is less likely to be the case elsewhere.

Hair salons work with hair only and do not do any beauty treatments such as nails or facials. Most hair salons take appointments, except those in the shopping centers, where a walk-in policy prevails. If you are new to the area and need a haircut, these shopping center salons are perfect.

Beauty salons (institut de beauté, salon d’esthétique) are usually connected to a parfumerie and do basic beauty treatments (which are very good here) such as facials, waxing (hot and cold), manicures, pedicures, tanning and massages. Some shopping centers, such as Labège, have small beauty centers that do nothing but beauty treatments.

Beauty Therapist

Bernadette Broadley    Fonsorbes

(A fully-qualified English-speaking beauty therapist who offers a complete range of standard and specialized beauty treatments.)


Having your hair cut, permed or colored in a new country, where you may not know the language, can be an interesting experience indeed! Ask others for referrals to salons where they have had good service. Also, you may want to ask someone who speaks French better than you do, to go with you the first time. Take photographs if you want a new style, and try to be as flexible as possible by giving the salon several tries before changing to a new one. If you want the same style you can just say, or write on a piece of paper, le même style, or la même chose, meaning ‘the same thing’.

If no one in the salon speaks English, remember to speak slowly and use simple words like “cut the same” or “short here, not here.” English is a second language for them (as French is for you) and they will not understand many words or slang expressions you would routinely use at home. Most important, be patient and take your time. All the salons seem to want to please foreigners, and they try very hard to do so. Even if the service isn’t to your liking, try to be pleasant and make the salon feel as if they have done their best.

Charges for services can be confusing. If the charge for a shampooing, coupe et brushing (shampoo, cut and style) is advertised for a set amount, that is what you will be charged. However, if there is no combined service amount advertised, you will be charged for the shampoo, cut, style and many times, for the products used. This can become very expensive, so be sure and look at the advertised prices before making an appointment. Normally, the bill will include a service charge so tipping is not necessary, unless you receive very good service. A tip of 1€ or 2€ will let the stylist know you appreciated the extra attention and time.

HAIRCUT Vocabulary

I would like an appointment with……………………   Je voudrais un rendez-vous avec

A cut:                                      Une coupe
Cut a little:                               Coupez un petit peu
Cut the ends:                          Faites les pointes
Cut very short :                      Coupez très court
Blow-dry :                              Un brushing
Coloring (permanent) :            Une couleur
A perm :                                  Une permanente
A curly perm:                          Une permanente bouclée
A tight perm :                          Une permanente frisée
Frosting / streaks:                  Des mèches
Light frosting / highlights:       Un balayage
A shampoo :                           Un shampooing
A set in curlers :                     Mise en plis
Cream rinse:                           Une crème, un soin
Deep conditioner :                   Un masque capillaire
Center parting :                       Une raie au milieu
Left parting :                           Une raie à gauche
Right parting :                         Une raie à droite
Hairspray :                              La laque
Layered :                                Dégradé
A razor cut :                           La coupe au rasoir
Thinned :                                 Désépaissi
Bangs/fringe :                        Une frange

MANICURE Vocabulary

Basecoat :                            Vernis de base
Cuticle :                                 Cuticle
Emery board:                        Lime d’emeri
Handcream :                        Crème pour les mains
Polish, varnish:                    Vernis
Polish remover:                    Dissolvant
Topcoat:                               Fixateur