My first hair cut in Costa Rica

After living in Costa Rica for over 14 months now, and having trimmed my hair twice myself (yikes!) –  it was time to get a professional hair cut.   My hair needed it and deserved it.  I dearly miss my hair dresser in Dallas – KYLE!!  But since I won’t be going back to the States till at least the Spring of next year, something needed to be done in the interim.

Enter mi amiga vecina (my neighbor friend) – Sophia – who just turned sweet 16, and has been learning English for the last couple of years.  She is beautiful, sweet and has lovely layered hair.  So I asked her the other day where she gets her hair cut, “Just down the road, in Los Angeles.  Do you want to come with me to get your hair cut?”.  Um, YES!!  Count me IN!

So Wednesday she made an appointment for us, and Thursday (yesterday) we went to get our hair cut!  Here we are with our “before” hair:

photo 1

We took the bus down the hill to Los Angeles (about 2-3 miles down the road from where I live).  We got off and walked to a house, and I met the hair dresser – Yesenia.  She took us upstairs to her salon, which was very professional – she had a mirror, hair cutting chair, cape, etc.  She also does manicures and pedicures and massages.  Yesenia spoke no English, so I relied heavily on my pal Sofia to translate what I wanted.

Sofia got her hair cut first, and I watched Yesenia carefully and took in her hair cutting style.  It was different from what I’m used to in the States, for sure – but at the same time – she seemed to know what she was doing.  She did not wash the hair or wet it before hand, but cut it dry (I know you’re cringing, Kyle!).  But she paid close attention to measuring both sides, and really seemed to do a good job on Sofia.

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And the resident dog (“Princessa”) looked very cute as well – hot pink ribbons in her hair, and hot pink nail polish on her nails!  She kept coming over by me and begging to be petted – she was really sweet:

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Sometimes in Costa Rica – it’s interesting.  Like when I first met Yesenia, she seemed very shy, and slightly standoffish.  But after she started cutting Sofia’s hair and they chatted in Spanish for a while, she then started to slowly become interested in me.  She started asking me questions through Sofia, and giving me eye contact and smiling at me more often – was my hair naturally blond (yes, but I would call it dirty blond), how old was I (oh surely not that old! I thought you were much younger – in your late 30’s!), you do not have any chemicals in you hair? (really, I do not, 100% natural).  She went on about how cool my “blond” color was – so different from all the ‘same o, same o’ Tica dark color.  I tried to tell Sofia – are you guys crazy?  Your Costa Rican dark hair is GORGEOUS.  They would have none of that, just kept saying how pretty my (dirty) blond hair was.  Well, if you insist.  🙂

Then my turn came.  I was slightly nervous, but Yesenia and Sofia were very gracious to ask me lots of questions and they were very concerned about doing exactly what I wanted.  Such are Costa Ricans here in general – they aim to please.   Yesenia went to work on me, asking me questions from time to time, and did wet my hair slightly before starting to cut.

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And the cost, ladies and gentlemen?  Are you ready?  $4.00 (c2,000)!  Yes, that’s right.  I tipped her $2 on top of that, and she did not want to take it, was almost arguing with me about it. WOW.  I insisted she keep the tip, and asked Sofia later if that was OK, and she agreed that it was.  FYI – Sofia got her hair trimmed and “ironed” (straightened) and hers cost c3,000 ($6.00).  Thank you Yesenia, you did an awesome job!

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Here is me & Sofia afterwards:

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And here’s my “before” and “after” side by side for you!:


Many thanks to my pal Sofia for taking me with her – I appreciate you mi amiga!

Ciao! — Jen

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22 Responses to My first hair cut in Costa Rica

  1. Thanks for all the information that you are providing for me! The time will come when I will follow in your footsteps! The haircut looks great!

  2. Fantastic! Do you know if they do hair color? My daughter is about to turn 14 and would like to put some funky color in her hair. We are looking for a place in Tilaran or Los Angeles to do it.

    Thanks for the info!

    • I’m not sure Allisa, but I think so (Yesenia – the hair dresser showed me her blond highlights in her own hair – which matched mine!). 🙂

  3. Hello Jen,
    Yesenia did a great job!! nice hair cut!! and the price, wow!!! nobody can beat it!!! and thanks for the info 🙂

  4. Thanks for sharing this; I wondered about the daily activities like this. I would be interested in an account/blog of how a day’s activities go. I am wondering if being retired might get boring after awhile.

    • Doug – In over a year of being here, I have never ONCE gotten bored. Your life is what you make of it. There’s so much to do and enjoy here.

  5. FOUR DOLLARS?!! Oh, my godfathers, Jen. And such a beautiful job to boot. It must feel wonderful to make lovely new friends and be able to be generous with your thanks on top of it all. $4 to walk out of a salon feeling like a million bucks–I’d say it was a pretty good day down south.

  6. Wow. Your hair looked nice before and looks great after!You are a brave soul. It is hard to change to a new hairdresser in the states without having major anxiety about it. You are so laid back about it all. I think that is great. Keep sharing your wonderful stories about doing the simple things in life in Costa Rica. I enjoy reading about them. They give me a good idea about life in CR in preparation for our own soon-to-be move there.

    • Thank you so much Renee!! Well, I definitely had my facts together first, and support from my Tica friend before I could feel confident about going – that all helped a lot (as I am pretty darn picky about my hair). I’m so glad you are enjoying reading my blog – thanks so much!

  7. Jen,

    This was great, but I’m really sorry we did not get to admire your
    self cut hair…. I’ve done that to myself, and even with the humidity here in PZ, it was kinda hard on the eyes!
    PS — please read my carton wine review: Thinking Inside the Box on
    Inside Costa Rica, Community Reports. Have a great weekend! Carol

    • Thanks Carol! I’ve trimmed my layers twice since I’ve been here – turned out ok, really, as I think my hair looked good. But not “perfectly” cut by any means – so it was time! 🙂 I found your “Thinking Inside the Box” – great post – and I was happy to see Uvita on there! 🙂 I’ll have to look for those other 2 brands, but I haven’t seen so far here in Grecia… Thanks!

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