Your hair is your crowing glory. © Michelle Chaplow
Your hair is your crowing glory.

Hairdressing in Andalucia

By Dee McMath

There is no excuse for having a 'bad hair day' in Andalucia! Back in the 70's and 80's Andalucia and particularly the Costa del Sol, were primarily quaint Spanish resorts and not where you would expect much sophistication. Over the last decade many British and other English speaking residents live all or a large part of the year in this area, bringing in their wake a new and improved service industry. Hairdressing and Beauty Salons have increased not only in quantity, but also in quality.

Its so 'last century' to wait until you're back in the UK to up-date your image and have your hair done! Indeed, for many people who live between the UK and Andalucia, the choice is often to visit a local salon in Spain, rather than pay high street prices in Britain. While the price will always depend on the particular hairdressing salon, there is a vast range to choose from in Andalucia.

Along the Costa del Sol, and particularly in the main towns, such as Marbella, Torremolinos, Benalmadena, Fuengirola, Nerja, etc. not only will you most likely find English speaking hairdressers, but many will indeed be British and British trained. Other nationalities in the industry are Danish, German, French, etc. with all the artistic flair and good training background that you would expect of any top class hairdresser. The standards have also improved in the Spanish sector and training courses are more accessible, some with government funding to encourage young people into a long term career path.

Having said all this, it is always best to check out the salon, rather than simply walk in off the street - especially if you are going for a major change or want to look good for a special occasion. If you are on holiday in the area, ask at your hotel or chat to someone who knows the area and ask for a recommendation.

Some of the hairdressing salons in the Marbella and Puerto Banus area can be pricey and not always because they are any better than some of the more modest establishments. Also, some of the Luxury 5 star hotels, Spas and Golf Hotels have a hair and beauty salon, which is designed to make you feel special. The running of all these businesses carries a high premium and you pay for the privilege and comfort of the surroundings, as much as for the service provided. For some people, the experience is as important at the haircut and can be just as rejuvenating. So check out the price list as well as the reputation of the salon before commit to the cut.

However, if you prefer to look good and pay normal prices, then there are some excellent salons to choose from, where you image will remain intact and the price is often surprisingly reasonable. This can be especially true when it comes to colouring.

There are some salons which can offer the 'works' - a whole 'makeover'. If you have a special occasion coming up, such as a wedding, anniversary or other major celebration or party and you want to look a million dollars, then ask at one of the larger salons. For example, at Nasari, a plush salon on Marbella's so-called Golden Mile, Danish owner Kimmie Birch could send you out looking and feeling fantastic. All under the same roof, you can have; body massage, facial, solarium, waxing, manicure and full hair styling, cutting and colour. Most of the products are specially selected and many are brought over from Denmark and the United States. Kimmie uses mainly organic and natural products and the effect is stunning and flattering for both men and women.

If you agree with the adage that 'Blonds have more fun' and you are going to spend more time in Andalucia, especially in the summer months, blond highlights last longer and shine brighter than in colder climes. It is good to remember this when having highlights, since you may do well to have less than normal, knowing that the sun will bleach them even more. Too many blond highlights can lead to higher maintenance costs to cover up the dark roots. A good hairdresser will advise you on this and other tips on hair care in the sun.

Some salons specialise in hair extensions, but since this is rather expensive and requires special expertise and training, it is especially important that you find out as much about the salon before you go for this option. As anyone who has ever had extensions will tell you, if you don't like the result and want to revert back to your old style, you might have a while to wait for your hair to grow back to its normal length again.

Although the dedicated 'Nail Bar' did not take off in Andalucia in the way it did in London and some of the other larger UK cities, there are many sculpted nail specialists within some of the larger and more up-market hairdressing salons and there are many beauty salons which offer manicure, sculpted nails and on-going maintenance.

Most of the hairdressing salons in Andalucia are unisex now, but you can still find more traditional men's Barber Salons, although these tend to be mainly Spanish run, with mainly Spanish spoken. However, sign language and a little English spoken by the barber will normally be enough to ensure that you have a successful trim, haircut or even a shave and at a fraction of the price of a top salon.

In short, there are many good hairdressing salons to choose from and the luxury areas and surroundings will be reflected in the price. Along the coast, you should not have any trouble finding a well trained English speaking hairdresser and there are many to choose from. However, unless you enjoy living dangerously - if you find yourself in a more traditional Spanish town or village and you don't speak Spanish, it might be better to wait until you are in the coastal areas or in a large town for any drastic changes to your hairstyle. The Costa del Sol and major cities like Seville and Malaga should still be a cut above the rest.
Living in Andalucia