I am a Korean Haircut Racist

26 Feb

I remember this one day back in middle school when I needed a haircut pretty bad. Me and my homie D were walking home when we saw a barbershop run by some old white dude. He had platinum white hair and thick frame glasses — your average old white guy running a regular old barbershop.

Now up until that point my mom used to take me to the Korean neighborhood to get haircuts by ajummas. But I was a big boy. All grown up. I could get haircut on my own, right? How bad could it be?

Worst hair decision of my life. He looked at my hair all confused and didn’t even know where to start cutting it. He just went straight for the buzzer and killed my hair along with teetering middle school confidence. One top of that he was yelling at his son on the phone the entire duration of the haircut (I am not joking, the entire haircut). Then he proceeded to yell at me for not knowing what I wanted with my hair. The entire time I was looking at my friend through the mirror with my WTF face. He was quite amused.

Now I’m all for cultural understanding. And I really enjoying trying new things in different cultures with different kinds of people. Really, I do. But when it comes to my hair? HELL NO. I will never let white people touch my hair ever again. I did get “ehh… ok” haircuts from these Russian dudes. But now that I’ve been getting haircuts by Korean people for Korean people? No way dude. I have become a straight haircut racist. I will not get my haircut by non-Asian people again. (I guess this is what non-asian people must feel like when they get their haircut in Korea ;)).

But seriously. It really matters. Korean people know Korean hair (or just Asian hair in general). But they probably wouldn’t know where to start with black dudes.

I was getting a bit sick of my hair, so I went today to change it up a bit. It was the least amount of hair that I’ve ever cut in my life. Here’s the video!

Who do you think gives the best haircuts?


37 Responses to “I am a Korean Haircut Racist”

  1. Erin February 26, 2013 at 9:27 PM #

    Dude, you’re so right. I’m a haircut racist too. I’m a white Aussie girl, and I got my hair cut in Malaysia once. It was incredibly cheap but… also kind of awful. Never again. I guess I just don’t have Asian hair.

    • Keith Kim February 26, 2013 at 11:53 PM #

      Hair is too important to be politically correct πŸ™‚

  2. Andreea February 26, 2013 at 11:10 PM #

    I’m also racist when it comes to my haircut! never again will I let my self cut my hair. worst decision ever :))
    on another note…..what video? there’s no video on this page..

    • Cassandra February 26, 2013 at 11:17 PM #

      I hear that, sister! Once I got drunk and decided that I could totally give myself some bangs. Worst decision EVER.

      • Jay February 26, 2013 at 11:22 PM #

        LOL. I just tried to “equalize” my hair yesterday. Uhm getting a fade in the back …in 1hr. O.o

  3. Cassandra February 26, 2013 at 11:10 PM #

    Gay men. That’s where the haircuts are at.

    By the by, the video that was meant to accompany this post is something like a unicorn: we have all heard of it, but we can’t see it….no one even knows if it really exists….

    • Jay February 26, 2013 at 11:23 PM #

      Vid’s on his twitter.

      • Cassandra February 27, 2013 at 12:00 AM #

        Thanks, Jay x

    • Keith Kim February 26, 2013 at 11:52 PM #

      Sorry. Video’s here now!

      • Cassandra February 26, 2013 at 11:59 PM #

        Haircut looks good. Like the scarf, too.

    • Keith Kim February 27, 2013 at 12:13 AM #

      yes, i can totally attest to gay hairsylists giving the best hair cuts

  4. Jay February 26, 2013 at 11:13 PM #

    Omg yep. Wanna get your hair done? Go to your own people.

  5. hegeshundHege February 27, 2013 at 12:06 AM #

    IΒ΄m the same! Though the other way around…
    Norwegian hair, asian hairdresser = omg! Hair never looked so bad! Haha!

  6. Cari 캐리 (@Caribearblue) February 27, 2013 at 12:38 AM #

    It’s okay, I love all Asians but I had a similar experience to what you had… I was 26 though. and I always got simple highlights/lowlights, nothing major. I had just moved to Dallas so I just randomly picked a shop and it was a young Asian woman so I actually was pretty excited. Little did I know that she had no idea what to do with my hair 😦 I have dirty blonde hair and I get simple highlights/lowlights so it doesn’t look so… blah. She literally made me look like a skunk 😦 My hair somehow ended up with black and almost white streaks… it was really traumatizing 😦

  7. Patricia Ramirez February 27, 2013 at 1:11 AM #

    I have been most fortunate: I am Latina (Mexican) and have almost always had my hair done by white people. Apparently, they know what to do with my hair because it’s almost always come out good. I usually stick with one stylist, though. So, whenever I move, I try several places until I find a stylist I like. One that listens to me, gives her opinions, explains what she’s going to do, and we work together to create my style. When I move again, it’s time to hunt for another stylist.

    • Keith Kim February 27, 2013 at 1:32 AM #

      I do the same thing. Just that I’ve never had a haircut I really liked by a non Asian person. Every where I go in Korea, they’re just so much better than what I got in America!

  8. John K. February 27, 2013 at 1:26 AM #

    Haha is “D” referring to Yao

  9. Jacqueline Ramirez February 27, 2013 at 2:03 AM #

    I had a similar experience but with a gay guy. He left my hair uneven and really short, I was very upset that day because I was growing my hair and I already had it very long, he gave me the worst haircut I’ve ever had, I guess he didn’t know what to do with my hair which is very weird because many people in my country have curly hair (or maybe he was a beginner). After that I went to a new hairstylist and she fixed my hair, I haven’t gone to another hairstylist again, she knows what I like and how to handle my hair.

  10. sterlingisme February 27, 2013 at 2:41 AM #

    In 7th grade I let my mom cut my hair with a “flowbee”. .. Yeah, it was bad.

  11. RebeccaC February 27, 2013 at 3:55 AM #

    While I don’t personally feel your pain, my husband does. He’s Asian and we live in upstate New York. We’ve been here almost 2 years, and he still hasn’t been able to find anyone who can cut his hair well.

  12. Rachel March 2, 2013 at 8:02 AM #

    I hear you. I have curly hair, and Asian stylists generally have no idea what to do except flat-iron the heck out of it. I’ve noticed in Kdramas, ugly girls generally have curly hair until they are magically transformed into straight-haired goddesses. Thus, I have started looking for stylists who have naturally curly hair themselves.

    • Nicole March 17, 2013 at 12:01 PM #

      I’ve noticed that in kdramas too, Rachel! How sad!

      I’ve got curly hair too, I’m half Greek. And I refuse to go to anyone but this one Greek woman that I’ve been going to forever. I’ve been following her around from salon to salon for over 10 years now. I didn’t realize until I read Keith’s hilarious thread that I was being haircut racist — but I totally am, lol πŸ™‚ Maybe they’ve got a ‘Greek Town’ area somewhere near you? Good luck!

  13. Denise March 21, 2013 at 11:11 PM #

    I am a haircut racist too. I am native american from the Southwest and there there are a lot of stylist that know native american hair. I moved to the Midwest where they don’t know ish about straight black hair. I told them, “fade it and thin out the top but be careful of the cowlick.” Not once in about a year did my boys walk out with nothing other then a buzz cut, smh. So I went and looked for either an asian or hispanic person with scissors. I loved it when they understood the word, fade.^^

  14. Annarosa March 24, 2013 at 7:00 AM #

    Dear Keith,

    Do please not change your hairstyle. I really love it. It is you! I like it like that. As simple.

    I understand why it is so difficult for you to get a haircut from a completely unprofessional white man. Well your hair is really….well very asian.
    But the thing is…here in my country Switzerland, most of the woman has short haircuts. They love to look boyish. The other women who are feminine they go to their very well known hairdresser.
    I travel for about 1 hour to go to my hairdresser and I pay at least 230-300$.
    I can not change of hairdresser because I would rather die, than to let someone touch my beautiful hair!
    I got amazing golden brown color with highlights in it.

    Before that I did have my natural dark brown hair, and every time I need to cut the long hair…it was like hell! Always after at home crying at the mirror…and being depressed for 2 weeks!

    And I am not the only one here πŸ˜€

    Thank you very much for your vids. They are so interesting and entertaining.


  15. Kristia March 24, 2013 at 1:32 PM #

    Oh. So. True. It’s not like I have dared myself to get a hair cut from a non-Asian hairstylist. Way too risky. But an American friend– he’s a big white guy– complained for having one done by an Asian and he went all ‘I will never again get my hair cut here in this country (in this context, Indonesia, but the stylist was a Chinese). So yea. It’s okay to be a racist in this context, I guess. hhh

  16. TKQ April 3, 2013 at 12:40 PM #

    I don’t know about that… I think a good hairstylist is a good hairstylist. I would probably not go to a Korean barber to get a haircut, but then again I wouldn’t go to a barber in the states either. I get my hair done in Korea at a beauty salon all the time, and it looks great. They even convinced me to start getting perms. And now I hate it when my hair isn’t permed. hahah

  17. Nira Jagadeesan (@nira_jagadeesan) April 21, 2013 at 4:44 PM #

    Your story reminds me of the time (5 years ago) I made the mistake of trying to get my hair straightened (it’s wavy) at a “black” salon. Bad move. I have Indian hair. The lady kept saying my hair was too soft and unmanageable. She’d comb it up and it’d just fall back down and she wasn’t smart enough to realise no amount of combing was going to make a single strand of my hair stand up straight on top of my head without the help of some really strong gel or static electricity. It got worse though. A chunk of my hair got stuck in the blow-dryer. You do NOT want to be 16 year old girl in that situation – ever!! When she couldn’t get it out, she wanted to cut it (mind you my hair hung to about my waist at that point). I threw a fit and she did painstakingly manage to get all my hair dislodged from the heating contraption. So, yeah… I learnt my lesson.

  18. dnguyen May 3, 2013 at 12:10 PM #

    Even amongst Korean haircutters, there’s a big difference. The best haircuts regardless came from the ones who use 100% scissors.

  19. Diane Marie Lopez-Moran May 11, 2013 at 10:57 PM #

    I’m Latin American female, with black thick straight hair, I only trust a Korean lady who’s salon is 30-45 minutes away. She only uses scissors and I love that, but I do wish her salon was closer. Everything in Texas is far and few good things in between.

  20. iphone repair subang jaya May 28, 2013 at 5:16 PM #

    It’s hard to come by educated people in this particular topic, but you sound like you know what you’re talking about!

  21. jubie June 19, 2013 at 12:16 PM #

    I so agree with you. I moved from New Jersey to Kentucky a few years ago, and I swear there isn’t a Korean hair salon in the entire state. I haven’t had a decent haircut in 4 years γ… γ… 

  22. daechoongmama September 2, 2013 at 5:44 PM #

    You speak truth. For me I always go to a Korean salon hands down. I moved to Hawaii 5 years ago and now I can go anywhere because Hawaii has so many Asians. But for girls the wost is makeup. I had my makeup done by an American person one time for a photo shoot and OMG, i came out looking like a drag queen. Several other times the same thing happened. The main tripping point is the eyes. Non Asians can’t figure out how to do makeup on Asian eyes so this one lady ended up making me look like a guy, trying to look like a girl.

    I recently blogged about hair cuts:

    I love your Seoulistic site! I really like the improvements and it has great information. I definitely see it going far. I hope you can check out my site as well!

  23. Cynthia October 3, 2013 at 9:27 AM #

    I had a horrible experience with a gay man that did not know how to cut curly hair!! OMG it was soo bad that I started to cut my own hair after that. Maybe once a year I will go to an expensive salon to get my layers done.

  24. Thuyenng November 23, 2013 at 4:39 AM #

    What you guys say above are correct, Aisian hair stylists know how to do Asian haircut. However, I don’t think American hair stylists or Latin hair stylist can’t do haircut for Asian people. Most of the time, I had my bang done by myself coz it wasn’t a hard job for me and cutting hair by myself saved me some money. I’ve had haircut by American White hairstylist, Latin hairstylist, Chinese hairstylist and Vietnames hairstylist before. Compare to Vietnamese and Chinese one, the White and Latin hairstylists were a lot better. I think the person knows you the best is yourself; when you go to have haircut, you should let your stylist know what kind of hair style you like, give them some diretion so that they can do their job well.

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