One of the things I immediately felt concerned about when I moved to Norway was how to maintain my short haircut. It was easy to do in Seattle, if you knew where the hipster hairdressers were that offered $20-25 cuts you could easily crop your hair every couple months. But I walked around Bergen early on looking at the prices of hairsalons, and I felt that sinking feeling (often felt in the early days in Bergen), that the prices were awfully high for my student budget. Walking into one salon and being told women’s cuts were 600 made me immediately walk right back out. As I did so, I reflected upon an observation I’d had that a lot of Norwegian women keep their hair long… and I started to understand why they might do that.
Yes, indeedy, the requisite image of Norwegian women in their bunader. Image: http://mylittlenorway.com/2009/05/bunad-norwegian-traditional-costumes/
My friends and their expensive haircuts
This was not only my experience. One friend of mine had to pay kr 490 for her son’s haircut (I guess not even young boys get away with a cheap cut!). Another friend informed me she was generally spending about kr 1800 on her hair at Nikita, where she was getting ‘spendy’ highlights. She estimates a cut and color at a higher end salon will cost not less than kr 1200, could range as a high as kr 2500 depending on the salon, product purchases, and which treatments you choose. Given all this, it may not surprise you that according to the MailOnline, a Norwegian city, Oslo, got the dubious honor of being the most expensive city in the world for a woman’s haircut (about kr 615/$95.04 average). Certainly, the salon prices in Norway are high enough that even Norwegian natives may plan their haircuts for when they’re vacationing.
Maybe there are some reasonably priced options after all? Cutters advertises a kr 299 haircut. Walk-in haircuts. Check out their website to see how long the wait time may be. Located at Vetrlidsallmenningen 6. Photo: Stand Hiestand
While strolling around town, I have seen some signs advertising haircuts for men at kr 200, and women starting around kr 300/350 or so. But based on a couple misadventures (attempting to get a ‘cheap’ student cut for around kr 400), I gather that price is for the bare minimum ‘cut’ and you may be asked if you want to have your hair washed ahead of time (something that would come gratis in the US, for example) and you may be charged extra for that (I think it is assumed that you will know there is a fee – they don’t tell you in the moment). So, washing, styling and other extras… these might drive that ‘reasonable’ price back up.
Is there a magic way around all this hair-expense? Perhaps…
Student solutions for non-student pricing
One possible way around exorbitant hair costs, apart from growing your hair out long, is being a ‘hårmodell’ (‘hair model’), this just means you are a voluntary ‘head’ for frisørs (hair-stylists) in training to practice on – and the haircut itself is free or low cost. Whether you can be a hårmodell may depend on the type of haircuts the trainees need to practice. Also, keep in mind this may not be offered all year ’round, as trainees have similar breaks as us students do.
Back in the fall, a friend of mine, knowing of my general brokeness, noticed a sign in the window of a local Frisør looking for ‘short hair models’ and mentioned it to me (in this case, the salon in question was Ramsvik Frisør). I went in a few days later and they helped me set up an appointment. Luckily, the trainee I had was kind and patient with my lack of Norwegian language skills and willing to cut my hair. ‘faux-hawk style’, again in the future. It is possible to even get highlights or coloring done (you pay a nominal fee for the dye)… maybe next time!
So, how do you see if you’re the right fit for hårmodelling?
- You could call or go in person to Ramsvik Frisør and ask about opportunities.
- There’s also a facebook group for hårmodells. Check it out for other opportunities.
You can see the results of my own adventure below:
The cut will never be so dapper as it was here when my frisør styled it. Photo: Stand Hiestand
Have other questions about student life or how to deal with the cost of living in Norway? You can always comment below and ask me! Also, asking questions on other forums (especially on Facebook as it is an easy way to find activities, groups, events, and people in Bergen) is always a good idea:
Try out this Bergen Expats Group, for instance.