Getting a Men's Haircut in Turkey
Experience the art and culture of a Turkish haircut
A good way to experience the unique Turkish culture is to get a men's haircut in Turkey. It is a form of art and a national treasure!
Turks are very hospitable and friendly people. Walk into any barber shop in Turkey and you will be welcomed and made to feel like a king.
Discover all about the wonderful experience of getting a men's haircut in Turkey. Watch out for the fire!
Turkey: Must do list
Shop in the bazaar
Get a men's haircut!
A national treasure
A skilled profession
Turks take hair very seriously. So seriously that it is considered a national art form and foreigners are not allowed to be employed as barbers in Turkey.
The apprentices spend many hours just watching, cleaning and preparing equipment before they are even allowed to touch the hair.
Enjoy the hospitality
Time to relax before your haircut
In Turkey, a typical men's haircut requires about two hours. The first hour is spent waiting while other customers have their hair done. During this time you are offered çay (Turkish tea). You can chat, read the local newspapers or watch the Turkish television. Sometimes you get a shoulder or arm massage from one of the assistants.
the barber dips a ball of cotton wool in methylated spirits... they then set fire to this and ...
Before: An old Turkish haircut! ... and after: a new Turkish haircut!
The artist at work
Earth - Water - Wind - Fire
When you are seated, the barber will wash your hair if necessary then dry it. A cape is fastened around your neck and you are asked how you would like your hair done. The first step is carefully trimming the area just around the ears and at the back. Several different combs on the electric trimmers will be used to get it just right.
This is followed by a wet cut.
If you have a beard or mustache, this is trimmed and shaped if required. Plenty of shaving cream with the long handled razors.
Any extra hair on the face is either waxed with a pine resin, pulled out with tweezers or string. A cotton thread is twisted and the resulting loop is opened and closed over the hair to be removed. Nose hair is trimmed with small scissors.
Perhaps the most interesting part of the haircut is when the barber dips a ball of cotton wool in methylated spirits. Perhaps you think this is for cleaning something? Not exactly. It depends on how you define cleaning. They then set fire to this and flick the flames into your ears to burn the hairs. Also any stray hairs on your face.
Finally the hair is washed. Then blow dried. Then gel is applied. Followed by hair spray and deodorants.
My recent look - From my usual barbers, but a different Turkish haircut for me
I have had more haircuts from different barbers since these photos, but the style is still the same.
When everything is complete, you pay and the barber will say "Sıhhatler olsun" meaning "May it be healthy".
An appropriate response might be "Elinize sağlık" - "Health to your hands".
You will probably get a lot of compliments from people about your hair - mostly "Sıhhatler olsun". This should not be confused with similar sounding phrases: "Saatler olsun" which means may you have lots of clocks; or "Saçlar olsun" meaning may you have many hairs.
Video of one of my Turkish haircuts
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I really enjoy a Turkish haircut, but I tend to let my hair grow long in the winter to avoid the cold. Some people prefer my hair short, some think longer is better. What do you think?
What is the best hair length for me?
If you have a local Turkish barber, please provide their location. When there are a few entries, I will add a map. I am particularly interested in finding barbers outside of Turkey. My own barber however, will remain secret - I don't want everyone crowding into his little shop and making the queue for haircuts longer than it is.
© 2007 Peter Murray