Bahasa 101: A Guide to Have Conversations At Indonesian Salons

As a personally prized possession, the hair is considered by many people as both a vocal and a defining point of themselves and their uniqueness. That is also true for Indonesians. Going to the salon or barbershop are among some of the things that Indonesians are willing to pay close attention to. If you’re also like Indonesians when it comes to things related to the well-being of your hair and you’re wanting to go to an Indonesian salon but you don’t quite know the important words or phrases, well, here we help you learn some of those words and phrases you ought to know in Bahasa Indonesia for your time in the salon or barbershop!

read more: Insider Beauty Spots in Jakarta



The word means short as in ‘short hair’. The way you pronounce it is by saying ‘pan’ and ‘deck’.


The word means long as in ‘long hair’.

Kurang panjang/pendek

The words mean ‘not long/short enough’. You can use the former to tell the barber or hairdresser to cut less or use the latter to tell them to cut more. You know the drill.


The word means hair and the way you pronounce it approximately combining ‘rum’ as in the alcoholic beverage and ‘boot’.


The word means ‘price’. You can also use the alternative ‘biaya’ but the latter is more formal than the former.


The word means ‘bangs’ in the context for things head hair related. It can also be used to denote ‘a pony’ too as in ‘kuda poni’.


The word means ‘thin’ and you can use the word to ask for when you want to only have a thin amount of hair length left.


The words here mean ‘the front/the back/the side’, respectively. You can use these, of course, specify which part of your hair that you would like to cut, for example. The ways to say it are ‘rambut depan’, ‘rambut belakang’, ‘rambut samping’


The word means ‘massage’. Hairdressers and barbers from all over Indonesia would usually give you one even if you were to go to the ones that are cheaper.


The closest direct translation for the word is ‘hair spa’ but it is actually more complicated than that because it is arguably a quite recent Indonesian invention. It was made by the famous Rudi Hadisuwarno and was an invention for circumventing the damaging effects of the then famous chemicals that were used by many Indonesian women. The function of a cream bath is to give better blood circulation that would then yield better absorption of the cream that is used in the process. It also involves way more massaging to give way for better blood circulation and uses hair steaming or how towel for the later part of the process. The result will be a healthier hair that isn’t greasy and flat. To make it simple, it’s like a hair treatment.


The word means to denote a hairstyle that is particularly shorter than your average ‘formal short’. Like the really short style that Ronaldo sometimes has on the side of his hair. Its consider a hairstyle that is close to bald.

Jenggot, Kumis, Brewok

These words are especially important for when you men are going to the barbershop and wanting to get your facial hair cut. The words mean ‘beard, mustache, and sideburns’ respectively.

want to more about misconception about Indonesia? click here


(Saya) mau potong sependek ini

The sentence translates to ‘(I) want it to be this short’ which you can use to better explain the approximation of the shortening of your hair especially when you have no picture to explain it with.

Rapikan saja

The sentence approximately translates to ‘just tidy it up’ which you can use when you’re one of those people that just want a tidy, business looking, no-nonsense type of hairstyle. Particularly a favorite sentence for men and boys in Indonesia.

Sedikit lagi

The sentence means ‘a bit more’ which you can use when the hairdresser or barber asks you whether or not the shortening of your hair is already enough.

Ditipiskan saja

The sentence translates to ‘make it thin’, or ‘thin it’ especially when you want your hair to be really short or not as thick as usual by cutting them.

Sudah cukup

The sentence can be understood as ‘that’s enough’ or ‘enough’. Especially helpful for those hairdressers or barber that are really careful and slow in shortening hair.

(Saya) mau yang seperti ini + (show a hairstyle)

The sentence translates to ‘(I) want it like this + (show a hairstyle) which is by far the safer and more direct way to ask the barber or hairdresser on what you want. So don’t forget to take a snap of yourself whenever you feel like your hair is just right.

(Saya) mau warnai rambut

The sentence translates to ‘(I) want to color my hair’ which would be particularly helpful if you want a new and improved shade of color for your hair or just want to darken your auburn hair.


Mau perawatan apa?

The question means ‘what treatment do you want?’ which will be easier if you remember that the word ‘perawatan’ means ‘treatment’ and if the tone sounds like an Indonesian way for questioning, then just say what you want.

Kalau + (insert treatment here) + bisa?

The question means ‘can I have + (insert treatment here)’ which would be especially helpful to the ladies that have a specific set of requests on it.

Potong seberapa?

The question can be understood as ‘how much should it be cut?’ which you can then reply just by approximating the length that you want or try to explain the way that you want it to be cut.

Shampoonya pakai apa?

The question translates to ‘what shampoo do you use?’ which you can use when you are curious about the wonderful shampoo that the salon is using on you.

Antri berapa?

The question translates to ‘how long is the queue’ which is especially helpful when you don’t have that much time or are not in the mood for waiting and want to know how far down the queue you are.

Harganya berapa?

The question translates to ‘how much is it?’ relating to price.

Tutup jam berapa?

The question translates to ‘what time do you close’.

find out more about Indonesian Most Common Texting Slang

These are some of the things that can guide your initial service in an Indonesian salon or barbershop. But because this concerns something that would be hard or take long to be undone, it might be best if you bring a translation app along or your friends to accompany you. We all know how bad hair can ruin a day!

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