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Only Joe King

A light-hearted look at life in Andalucía and Spain in general. Its good points and its bad. This blog doesn't pull any punches.

Hair Today; Gone Tomorrow – My Hair Care History in Spain
Monday, May 27, 2024 @ 8:22 AM

By Joe King

When I was a young lad my dad used to take me with him to his barber’s in Exeter (Devon) where we lived for a "short back and sides". When I was 14 or 15, I was allowed to go on my own. On that first occasion “flying solo”, as he was finishing up, Arthur asked me: “Something for the weekend, son?”. I didn’t know what he meant, so I politely declined. I later found out what he meant. Back then in the 60s, the barber’s was where men bought their “johnnies”; no blatant displays in the chemist’s like nowadays nor machines in pub toilets.

When I went away to university I grew my hair long and sported a rather splendid black beard, so no hairdresser required.


Early years

Before leaving for Spain for the first half of my year abroad, I got my hair cut short, then not again for ages, so I headed off to Germany for the second half once again with long hair.

After graduation, I went “smart” again for my PGCE in Sheffield, which included two teaching practices, so I thought I shouldn’t scare the natives.

So, my experience with barber’s is limited. As for Spain, where I spent a lot of time and where I now live, my visits to the peluqueria or barberia have been few and far between.






Iñaki - San Sebastián

My memory is hazy, after more than 50 years, but I’m pretty sure I had a haircut in the capital of Gipuzkoa back in the early 80s.

Then my wife took over.




From 2022 onwards I reverted to adolescence and grew a ponytail and a long beard and considered getting a tattoo and earrings (male menopause?), but I don’t like suffering pain, so rejected both.


Antonio - Frigiliana

50 years later I needed a trim, while I was on a mini-break in Frigiliana. My regular hairdresser, my wife, was away in Germany, so I popped into the only barber’s shop in the casco antiguo of this stunning pueblo blanco near Nerja (Malaga).

José did a good job of tidying my head up; I still had the ponytail, which I was keen to retain.









Lorena – Málaga

Last year we spent three days in the capital. It was the monthly dinner of the Club de Prensa Costa del Sol, of which I am a member, so we decided to make a mini-break out of it.


On the afternoon before the dinner, Rita announced that she wouldn’t be attending the dinner UNLESS I GOT MY HAIR CUT. I believed her threat, so off I went to the hairdresser around the corner from our hotel.

Lorena was a “looker” with tats and piercings and lots of chat. She did a great job, she even gave me my shorn ponytail, which had fused together, as a souvenir.


José – San Rafael, Ronda

I’d spotted this barberia in the San Rafael district and called in on the off chance, He had a gap right there and then before his next appointment. He was very attentive, kept checking exactly what I wanted and did a great job. Just 8€.  I gave him 10.

When I tried there again last Thursday evening he was fully booked, all day Friday also. He doesn’t open on a Saturday morning.




Hernán – Calle Lauria, Ronda

I needed a cut before a trip to Germany for Christmas. I tried a few places – all busy, but Hernán fitted me in. Great. Also 10€ with tip.








Vicki's Academia de Peluqueria y Belleza – Calle Pozo, Ronda

I had been invited to the confirmation of the son of a Spanish friend, so I wanted to be smart. I fancied being trimmed by a lady again, so went to Vicki’s hair salon. I didn’t get a lady, but Hugo, a young lad who turned out to be a trainee.

He was extremely diligent, even trimming my eyebrows, the tufts growing out of my ears and washing my hair to get rid of the hairs.

“¿Que te debo? I asked, after he finished “hairdrying” my shirt which had got wet during the washing.

“Nada”, he replied. You get a free haircut if it’s a trainee.

I tipped him generously instead (5€). He seemed surprised but was clearly grateful. Me too.



Hair care is not a problem in Spain. There are lots of salons in Ronda and also when we go away. And cheap!


© Only Joe King




Hey Joe

Paul Whitelock



Antonio. barber, barberia, barbero, Exeter, Frigiliana, Guipuzkoa, Hernan, Iñaki, Jose, Malaga, Paul Whitelock, peluqueria, Ronda, San Sebastian, short back and sides, Paul Whitelock, Vicki

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