Rebecca has taught French and English as a Second Language (ESL). She has a master's degree in ESL. Rebecca currently lives in France.
Describing Your Hair in French
Picture this scenario: You're telling your friend Jules about a party you went to last night. While you were there, you ran into Victoria. When you mention Victoria's name, Jules can't seem to remember who she is. How can you help Jules remember who Victoria is?
You would probably try to describe Victoria so that Jules can remember her. Some of the ways we might do this in English are to describe Victoria's size, her personality, her eyes, or her hair. This lesson will give you some vocabulary to describe hair (cheveux) in French!
When describing cheveux, the most common categories to talk about are the hair's length, color, and texture. Keep reading for some vocabulary and phrases for each of these categories.
Hair Length in French
To keep it simple, let's focus on the three main categories of hair length: long, short, and mid-length. Since the word cheveux is masculine and plural, the adjectives used when describing it will be in their masculine, plural forms.
|les cheveux longs||long hair|
|les cheveux courts||short hair|
|les cheveux mi-longs||mid-length hair|
Let's use these in some simple sentences:
- Elle a les cheveux longs. ('She has long hair.')
- Vous avez les cheveux courts. ('You have short hair.')
- J'ai les cheveux mi-longs. ('I have mid-length hair.')
Hair Color in French
When describing hair color in French, there are two ways to go about it. You can either describe the colors of the strands themselves, or you can talk about the person in terms of hair color. We do the same thing in English. You can say that someone has brown hair, or you can refer to them as a brunette.
When talking about the strands themselves, here are some helpful phrases. Since the word cheveux is masculine and plural, the color adjectives will all be masculine and plural.
|les cheveux blonds||blonde hair|
|les cheveux bruns||brown hair|
|les cheveux gris||grey hair|
|les cheveux noirs||black hair|
|les cheveux roux||red hair|
Here are some examples of sentences describing the color of people's hair by talking about the color of the strands.
- Il a les cheveux blonds. ('He has blonde hair.')
- Elle a les cheveux noirs. ('She has black hair.')
- Ils ont les cheveux bruns. ('They have brown hair.')
You can also go the route of describing the person based on their hair color. Keep in mind that you'll have to adjust the color adjective to match the number and gender of the person or people you are talking about.
|French Masculine||French Feminine||English|
Let's take a look at these in some sentences:
- Elle est brune. ('She is a brunette.')
- Ils sont blonds. ('They are blonde.')
- Tu es roux. ('You are a redhead.')
Hair Texture in French
Let's take a look at how to say three common hair textures in French. As a reminder, since the word cheveux is masculine and plural, the adjectives are in their masculine, plural form.
|les cheveux lisses||straight hair|
|les cheveux ondulés||wavy hair|
|les cheveux bouclés||curly hair|
Here are some examples using these phrases in sentences:
- Nous avons les cheveux lisses. ('We have straight hair.')
- J'ai les cheveux ondulés. ('I have wavy hair.')
- Tu as les cheveux bouclés. ('You have curly hair.')
Now the million dollar question: What if you want to talk about more than just the color of someone's hair? Let's say you want to mention the color and the length and the texture. What do you do? When using more than one of the adjectives, they should be used in this word order: length, color, texture. Here are some examples.
- J'ai les cheveux mi-longs, blonds, et lisses. (I have mid-length, blonde, straight hair.')
- Tu as les cheveux courts, gris, et ondulés. ('You have short, grey, wavy hair.')
- Elle a les cheveux longs et bouclés. ('She has long, curly hair.')
- Nous avons les cheveux roux et lisses. ('We have red, straight hair.')
- Vous avez les cheveux mi-longs et noirs. ('You have medium-length, black hair.')
- Ils ont les cheveux courts et bouclés. ('You have short, curly hair.')
Describing a person's hair (cheveux) can be done in three main ways: by talking about the length, the color, and the texture. Since the word cheveux is masculine and plural, all adjectives describing it will be used in their masculine, plural forms. If you are describing the person's hair as opposed to the actual strands, you will need to modify the adjectives to match the gender and number to the person or people you are talking about. When using more than one of the adjectives for hair, they should be placed in the order of length, followed by color, followed by texture.
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