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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Brightening Up Your Autumn

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???????????: highlighting (hair)

Moscow is beginning its slow, gloomy, muddy descent into winter. The news from all over is so depressing that you wish you'd never gotten cable television. The holidays are not festive and the festive holidays are a long ways away. On top of everything else, your last trip to the hair salon was when you were home on vacation and you are seriously considering a turban as a viable fashion alternative. Meanwhile, your best Russian friend's hair looks great, but her stylist is named ????? and you're not sure your Russian is up to the challenge.

Don't despair; your friendly bilingual beauty consultant comes to the rescue.

The first thing you need to do is get an appointment with brilliant Vadim. Call the salon and say: ??? ???????? ?? ?????????? ?? ??????? ? ???????. (I'd like an appointment for a cut and styling.) Or you can also try: ??? ????? ???????????/???????????. (I want to get my hair highlighted/colored.) Or: ?????? ???????, ? ????? ????????? ?????. (My hair has grown out and I need to touch up the roots.) My stylist tells me that perms are out (though if you need one, ask for ??????? or ?????????? ???????). On the other hand, hair straightening is in. '??? ?????????? ?? ???????????. (I'd like an appointment to straighten my hair.)

A highly unscientific survey of hair stylists in Moscow shows that most foreign female clients come in to have their hair colored. If they want a cut, they just want a trim: ?????????, ??????????, ?? ???? ?????????. (Could you trim it by a centimeter?) Or: ???????? ?????, ??????????. (Just tidy it up, please.)

If you want your hair colored, the stylist will ask: ??? ?? ????????? ? ????????? ???? (What coloring did you use the last time?) This is apparently, a veeerry important question, since incompatible dyes may produce the wrong color hair -- the really wrong color hair. Once you establish color compatibility, you might say: ? ???? ??????????? ???????, ??????? ? ????????????? ????? ???? ?????. (I want a natural shade close to the original color of my hair.) If Vadim asks, ???????? ??? ?????? (literally, shall I bring you the card?), he means the card with little tufts of hair dyed various colors. Say yes and be prepared to utter serious phrases like ???, ???? ??????? ??????? ???????? ... ??? ???????? ????? ?????? ???? ... ? ??? -- ??????, ?????? ????? ???? ??????? ... (No, that shade is too cold... I look better with a warmer color ... that one's good, but I need it a little bit lighter ...)

All women know the ??????? (styling) after the coloring and cut is the most terrifying moment; if the stylist goes wild, you walk out looking like Doris Day or worse -- like a newscaster on a local television station. To control the process, try saying, ?????? ????? ????????, ??????????. (Just blow it dry please.) Or: ?? ???? ???????? ????? ??? ???. (Please don't use mousse or hair spray.)

Sometimes expat women need a fancy hairdo for a major event. You should make an appointment for ???????? ???????? (an evening hair style). Vadim and the gang say it's hard even for native speakers to describe a style: ????????? ?????????? ?? ????????. (Bring photos from magazines.)

You might also avail yourself of other services, like ??????? (manicure), in which case you will be asked: ????? ????? -- ???????? ??? ????????? (What shape -- oval or straight?) Sometimes you are asked the mysterious question, ???????? ??? ???? This means: Do you want your cuticles trimmed or just pushed back?

If you are feeling adventurous and trust the salon, you could ask for: ??????? ???? (facial), ?????????? ?????? (chemical peeling), ???????? (depilation, in Russian also called ???????? ?????), ??????? ?????? (eyelash coloring) or even ?????????? ??????? ?????? (eyelash perms).

Or save your money and wear a turban and dark glasses until your next trip home.

Michele A. Berdy is a Moscow-based translator and interpreter.