I am usually pretty hesitant about trying new places to get my hair cut, but I was having one of those days where I just couldn’t wait any longer! The time had come for my first Italian haircut. I went to the office at my school and had them help me call and set up an appointment. I would have tried calling myself, but everyone here only speaks Italian, and my Italian is not good enough yet to make my own appointment!
The next evening after school, I was on my way to the hair appointment. In preparation for this appointment I had a photo of how I wanted my hair, along with an entire dialogue in Italian to explain. I also packed my own shampoo and conditioner. I know how to say “I am allergic,” but I was not sure if they would understand why I couldn’t use their shampoo and conditioner. I figured it would be even more complicated to ask to read the ingredients, so the safest and easiest thing to do was to just bring my own.
The street names here can be confusing, and since all I had was a hand drawn map from another teacher, I did a lot of wandering before finally finding the salon on a windy, cobblestone side road in the quaint, historic section of the city. As I was asking two older women sitting outside, “Dove Winter?” I turned around and there it was! I walked into the salon and told the man at the counter, “Mi chiama Allie.”
As he brought me over to wash my hair, I started explaining in my broken Italian that I brought my own shampoo and conditioner. There was one other man working there, and between the two of them, they were able to figure it out! I was so relieved that they understood. I have had a difficult enough time explaining that in English in the U.S., never mind trying to do it in Italian.
The only other point where I had to remind him about my allergies was when he want to put a product in my hair. He handed me the bottle to look at the ingredients, which were fine. I never usually put anything in my hair, but since the ingredients were okay, I didn’t want to confuse him even more.
The experience was really quite hilarious, between my terrible Italian and his barely broken English! Thankfully I had a picture to show, so he cut my hair just right. Phewww! Now at least I have a salon I know I can go to. It was quite an adventure to say the least!
General Salon Tips:
- Call ahead of time to explain the allergy
- Bring your own shampoo and conditioner just in case ingredients are not okay
- Advocate if there are any concerns or if other products need to be read beforehand