Getting a haircut in Lima [YQrtw Day 115 Aug 3]

YQ gets a haircut

Location: Lima, Peru

As I said yesterday, I don’t have any thing planned for Lima so I decided to get a haircut today. So much for doing my own hair, huh.

Below my hostel is a nail salon and a proper hair salon. The salon was closed when I was going out so I walked along the street looking for another hair salon. (I later found out that they also do hair jobs in the nail salon.)

I got my hair cut in the shop on the left
I got my hair cut in the shop on the left

I found a little place called Gladys. It was the name of my host mother in Arequipa so I thought that it was a good sign.

When I went in, there was only another customer doing her nails. The owner, employee and customer were all watching a volleyball match on TV between Peru and China. I interrupted them, asking if I could get a haircut.

The only chairs were taken by the customer so I didn’t think that I could get my hair done. However, the owner told me that there were haircuts so I stayed.

The owner dragged a chair from behind the counter and put it in front of the mirror above the sofa. That was my makeshift hair cut chair.

While she was getting her tools ready, she excitedly pointed at the TV and then to me. “China,” she said. I replied, “Soy de Malasia.” (I’m from Malaysia.)

I thumbed through a few hair catalogues and pointed to a short bob. The hairdresser looked at it and shook her head.

She got out another book and showed me other hairstyles. I chose one that looked very much like the last one. Fortunately, she agreed.

She started snipping away. And she even used a fun-looking razor. It was a razor covered on one side with a teeth-shaped plastic.

I was kind of worried that my hair was cut too short. The problem with my hair is that if it’s too short, it will start to stand vertically. When I was a baby, my hair defied gravity all the time.

Halfway through the hair cut, the result of the volleyball match was announced. China won and Peru was “among the top 4”.

I was really worried that the hairdresser might wreck my hair because China won. (Chinese-looking person == China == Gals who beat Peru.)

Fortunately, I was still alive by the end of the haircut. I don’t hate my new hair but I suspect they will be doing some gravity-defying stunts when I get back to humid Southeast Asia.

It was only 10 soles for the cut (about S$5) so I won’t complain!

YQ gets a haircut
YQ gets a haircut

Rest of the day:

Took the bus one from one end to another. The areas away from the city center reminded me a lot of Indonesia.

Scene from Lima's street
Scene from Lima’s street

Lunched at a Foursquare-recommended place. Had seafood soup.

Seafood soup in Lima
Seafood soup in Lima

Took bus to Miraflores. Drank coffee.

Went grocery shopping before heading back to hostel.

Had a pedicure in the nail salon downstairs.

How I do my hair for long-term travel

YQ on a bad hair day

While I was planning my round-the-world trip, I had thought seriously about shaving my head before going on the trip. I reasoned that it would cost me less shampoo (but more sun block) and would repulse any potential harasser (along with suitors, I suppose but that is alright).

I googled a few questions to figure out how women can take care of a shaved head. Nothing much appeared as most posts were dedicated to male head shaving and praising the bravery of women who shear their hair for charity.

Alas, I did not shave my head. My mother advised that a bald head will be terribly cold in winter. I also thought that it might attract bad sort of attention, seeing a female person with no hair.

I did not shave my head but went for a really short hair cut. This was for many reasons:

  1. Less drying time
  2. Less grooming time (I don’t even use a comb that much)
  3. Less shampoo
  4. According to a hoax that is repeatedly circulated on my Facebook wall by others, rapists rarely not target women with short hair. (Pretty bullshit but what the heck.)
One of the very few photogenic photos of me.
One of the very few photogenic photos of me.

Even though I thought the hair style would keep for 4 months, by the end of the second month, my hair was growing past acceptable lengths for short hair.

I looked like I was wearing a ball of iron wool with my tough black hair.

Fringe too long.
Fringe too long.

CIY: Cut-it-yourself

Instead of heading to a hairdresser’s, I decided to do it myself.

YQ trims her bangs while mom takes photos.
YQ trims her bangs while mom takes photos.

As you can see, I was using a regular ole scissors which did its job of sniping away the ends. My bangs are still thick now but at least they do not cover my eyes.

Trim it with a razor

One day, I realized that the hair at the back of my neck had crept out and turned into a mini mullet.

Mini mullet
Mini mullet

The hair was too short to tie up so I decided to snip it off. However, when I was in the hostel bathroom, I realized that I did not bring my scissors. The only sharp thing I had was a razor so I used that instead.

It’s rather difficult using a razor on the back of my head. Many times, I had to look back into the mirror to double check my hair length. But the best way to determine if my hair was cut in a straight line was to feel it.

After felling my neck, I chopped off more hair and now I have a bob again.

After razoring off my mullet.
After razoring off my mullet.

Color it yourself

If you want to change your hair color while travelling, here’s a step-by-step post on dying your hair in a hostel.

Further reading:

Go Girl’s Guide post on doing hair for long term travel.

What hairstyle is travel friendly? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!

How to dye your hair in a hostel [YQrtw Day 80 Jun 25]

hair color

Imagine that you are travelling. One day, you thought that your old hair color is kind of boring but you do not have extra cash to go to the saloon to get it colored.

What do you do? DIY (Do-It-Yourself), of course.

Step 1: Buy hair dye

How to die your hair in a hostel: Buy hair dye
How to die your hair in a hostel: Buy hair dye

This is the simplest part. Head to the nearest supermarket near you to pick up a bottle of hair dye.

Please note that the hair color displayed on the box will probably not be the result that appears on your hair, especially if you have ink black hair with the texture of iron string.

While you are at the supermarket, it’s good to pick up a few cheap towels for your post-dye hair drying.

Step 2: Read instructions

Read the instructions even if you don't know the language
Read the instructions even if you don’t know the language

This part is very important. If your instructions are in a foreign language, get your dictionary out. Or try interpreting the pictures on the instructions, they make sense most of the time.

Step 3: Test for allergic reaction

It’s best to test if you are allergic to the dye mixture. Do this by opening the mixtures and putting a few drops on the inside of your elbow.

If you get rashes, do not use the hair dye solution. Instead, get a new one or don’t dye your hair at all.

If no allergies appear, it’s probably safe for you to use the dye. Give about 24 hours before you start dying your hair to see if any allergic reaction occurs.

Step 4: Prepare your instruments


Besides the hair dye, you should have newspaper or plastic bags as well as dark colored towels around. The newspaper and plastic is to protect the floor from getting stained while the dark colored towel hides dye stains when you dry your hair.

Ask the hostel people if they have dark colored towels. If you are lucky, they might have discolored but clean towels for you to dry your hair with.

Lay the newspaper on the floor or on the sink to prevent the hair dye from coloring anything but your hair.

Use protection
Use protection

Step 5: Start the dye job

Follow the instructions in your manual for steps to dye your hair. You might need to shake the dye mixture together or gently slosh them around.

Cover your hair with the mixture and let it sit for as long as the instruction requires you to. During this time, you can read or play games on your smartphone.

Step 6: Rinse it out

When the time is up, rinse off the dye. Rinse until the water from your hair is clear. If the dye comes with conditioner, apply as instructed.

However, no matter how much water you splash on your head, some hairdye will cling to your strands. That is why you need dark colored towels.

Step 7: Admire the result

Since this is the first day of the dye job, you might see a darker color than what was depicted on the box. If you use your imagination enough, the hair color might look like what the box promised.

If that does not work, just let it be and be satisfied that you actually turned your hair from the same tone to the same tone but with dark lowlights.

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Have you ever dyed your hair in a hostel? How did it turn out?