Wang Weibu is one of the few remaining Chinese hairdressers practicing the ancient hair-cutting art of ‘Dahoujia’. The rather extreme technique involves the use of a pair of red hot metal tongs to burn hair off, instead of cutting it!
Weibu, 72, starts by heating the clamp in a wooden fire until it is red hot, and cooling it slightly in water. He then uses it like scissors to chop of the hair to the desired length. Later, he slides the hot metal all over the remaining hair. The technique is rather baffling – after all, who would want to walk around with a head of scorched hair? But surprisingly, the final effect is rather nice – sort of like a perm – and lasts for about three months.
Dahoujia used to be quite popular in China until it went out of fashion in the 1980s. “It’s not just a shortage of hairdressers offering the method, there are also not very many customers that are interested in it any more,” Weibu explained. “It is mainly older people that come to my shop nowadays. And, like me, one day they won’t be here any more either.”
But in spite of the low demand, Weibo says business is pretty good at the moment, at his shop in Jinshi, Sichuan Province. His customers seem to see merit in Dahoujia because once they have their hair done like that, the shape is retained for a long period of time without having to use any chemicals. The only drawback, according to Weibo, is the smell of burning hair, but many of his clients aren’t bothered by it. “My business is quite good,” he assured.
Dahoujia isn’t the only outlandish hair-styling technique we’ve covered on Oddity Central. In the past few years, we’ve written about a Vietnamese hairdresser who uses samurai swords, another who cuts hair with custom-made claws and even a kung-fu barber who practices his trade while standing on his head.