If you’re plotting a brave new hairdo, North Korea is probably not the place to get it done.

The Communist State has a strict hairstyle policy with menus of state-approved options available at most salons.

The images below were photographed by The Associated Press and are currently hanging in salons and barber shops in Pyongyang.

north korean hairstyles for women

This is how we do it: State-sanctioned hairstyles on display at a salon in Pyongyang, North Korea

The origins of North Korea’s coiffure rules can be traced back to a state TV show launched in 2005, entitled ‘Let us trim our hair in accordance with Socialist lifestyle’.

The catchily titled show promoted short hair among the male populace and generally frowned on those “untidy” foreign styles.

NK News recalls how the show sent out: “Teams with hidden cameras to catch Pyongyangites who were falling foul of recommended hair-styles.

“Upon confronting these individuals, the programme makers dramatically went on to broadcast their full names, professions and addresses, in the hope of influencing viewers to stick with orthodoxy.”

north korea male hair styles

Men are advised to keep their barnets to a length of 5cm (with 2cm leeway for balding men over 50)

The show also pushed the idea that long hair robbed the brain of energy, advising men to keep their barnets shorter than 5cm and have it cut every 15 days. (Balding men over 50 are allowed to stretch to 7cm, btw).

Come 2009, women’s hairstyles came under scrutiny too.

Ruling party newspaper Rodong Sinmum stated: “To keep your hair tidy and simple… is a very important matter for setting the ethos of a sound lifestyle in the country,” The Guardian reported.

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Seoul-based publication Good Friends said the ruling came from Kim Jong Il himself.

It quoted officials as saying the Dear Leader had taken exception to what he saw as the foreign hairstyle of a female sales clerk.

“Is she really our own Korean woman? Why is giving up our own traditional beauty and choosing to model bad foreign habits of the capitalist,” the newsletter quoted him as saying.

A feature on hair styles published in Korea Bang points out the differentiation in styles for married and unmarried woman in North Korea. It points out that if a middle aged woman were to wear her hair long and loose in South Korea it would also be considered "awkward" and unattractive.

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  • An undated picture released from North K

    An undated picture released from North Korea's official Korean Central News Agency on November 25, 2009 shows North Korean leader Kim Jong Il inspecting the Ryangchaek Bearing Factory in North Pyongan province. AFP PHOTO / KCNA via KNS (Photo credit should read KNS/AFP/Getty Images)

  • HANDOUT RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE AND

    HANDOUT RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE AND EDITORIAL SALES - MANDATORY CREDIT AFP PHOTO / KNS-KCNA This picture recieved from North Korea's official Korean Central News Agency on December 3, 2010 shows North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il (C) visiting the Hamhung Disabled Soldiers' Essential Plastic Goods Factory. HANDOUT RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE AND EDITORIAL SALES - MANDATORY CREDIT AFP PHOTO / KNS-KCNA (Photo credit should read KNS/AFP/Getty Images)

  • HANDOUT RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE AND

    HANDOUT RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE AND EDITORIAL SALES - MANDATORY CREDIT AFP PHOTO / KNS-KCNA This picture recieved from North Korea's official Korean Central News Agency on December 3, 2010 shows North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il (C) visiting the Hamhung Disabled Soldiers' Essential Plastic Goods Factory. HANDOUT RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE AND EDITORIAL SALES - MANDATORY CREDIT AFP PHOTO / KNS-KCNA (Photo credit should read KNS/AFP/Getty Images)

  • HANDOUT RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE AND

    HANDOUT RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE AND EDITORIAL SALES - MANDATORY CREDIT AFP PHOTO / KNS-KCNA This picture recieved from North Korea's official Korean Central News Agency on December 3, 2010 shows North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il (R) visiting the Hamhung University of Hydraulic Engineering. HANDOUT RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE AND EDITORIAL SALES - MANDATORY CREDIT AFP PHOTO / KNS-KCNA (Photo credit should read KNS/AFP/Getty Images)

  • HANDOUT RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE AND

    HANDOUT RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE AND EDITORIAL SALES - MANDATORY CREDIT AFP PHOTO / KNS-KCNA This picture recieved from North Korea's official Korean Central News Agency on December 3, 2010 shows North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il (C) visiting the Hamhung University of Hydraulic Engineering. HANDOUT RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE AND EDITORIAL SALES - MANDATORY CREDIT AFP PHOTO / KNS-KCNA (Photo credit should read KNS/AFP/Getty Images)

  • HANDOUT RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE AND

    HANDOUT RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE AND EDITORIAL SALES - MANDATORY CREDIT AFP PHOTO / KNS-KCNA This picture recieved from North Korea's official Korean Central News Agency on December 3, 2010 shows North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il (2nd R) visiting the construction site of Tanchon Port. HANDOUT RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE AND EDITORIAL SALES - MANDATORY CREDIT AFP PHOTO / KNS-KCNA (Photo credit should read KNS/AFP/Getty Images)

  • HANDOUT RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE AND

    HANDOUT RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE AND EDITORIAL SALES - MANDATORY CREDIT AFP PHOTO / KNS-KCNA This picture recieved from North Korea's official Korean Central News Agency on December 3, 2010 shows North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il (4th L) visiting the Tanchon Mining Machine Plant. HANDOUT RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE AND EDITORIAL SALES - MANDATORY CREDIT AFP PHOTO / KNS-KCNA (Photo credit should read KNS/AFP/Getty Images)

  • This undated picture released by Korean

    This undated picture released by Korean Central News Agency on January 17, 2009 shows North Korean leader Kim Jong Il (C) inspecting the Pyongyang Silk Mill factory during a visit to the light industrial establishments in the North Korean capital. North Korea said January 17, it may keep its nuclear weapons even after normalising relations with the United States, staking out a tough position three days before President-elect Barack Obama takes office. AFP PHOTO / KCNA via KNS (Photo credit should read STR/AFP/Getty Images)

  • HANDOUT RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE AND

    HANDOUT RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE AND EDITORIAL SALES - MANDATORY CREDIT AFP PHOTO / KNS-KCNA This picture recieved from North Korea's official Korean Central News Agency on December 3, 2010 shows North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il (C) visiting the Paekunsan Combined Foodstuff Factory. HANDOUT RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE AND EDITORIAL SALES - MANDATORY CREDIT AFP PHOTO / KNS-KCNA (Photo credit should read KNS/AFP/Getty Images)

  • HANDOUT RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE AND

    HANDOUT RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE AND EDITORIAL SALES - MANDATORY CREDIT AFP PHOTO / KNS-KCNA This picture recieved from North Korea's official Korean Central News Agency on December 3, 2010 shows North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il (C) visiting the Paekunsan Combined Foodstuff Factory. HANDOUT RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE AND EDITORIAL SALES - MANDATORY CREDIT AFP PHOTO / KNS-KCNA (Photo credit should read KNS/AFP/Getty Images)

  • This undated photo released by North Kor

    This undated photo released by North Korea's official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on February 8, 2010 shows North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il (C) visiting the Vinalon Complex in Hambung City, South Hamgyong Province. North Korea has said it had a secret strike force to counter what it called South Korean plots to topple the regime in Pyongyang. The communist North, which often claims that Seoul's conservative government is plotting against it, said such attempts have 'recently gone beyond the danger line.' AFP PHOTO/KCNA via KNS (Photo credit should read KNS/AFP/Getty Images)

  • This undated picture released from North

    This undated picture released from North Korea's official Korean Central News Agency on February 4, 2010 shows North Korean laeder Kim Jong Il inspecting the Wonphyong Taehung Fishery Station in Kumya County, South Hamgyong Province in North Korea. AFP PHOTO / KCNA via KNS (Photo credit should read KNS/AFP/Getty Images)

  • This undated picture, released from Nort

    This undated picture, released from North Korea's official Korean Central News Agency on March 11, 2010 shows North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il (C) visiting the Kumsugol revolutionary site in Huichon city in Chagang province of North Korea. North Korea, which habitually protests war games in the democratic South, put its 1.2 million-strong military on alert and said it was abandoning efforts toward nuclear disarmament in response to the start of US joint exercises with South Korea. AFP PHOTO / KCNA via KNS (Photo credit should read KNS/AFP/Getty Images)

  • This undated picture released from North

    This undated picture released from North Korea's official Korean Central News Agency on February 4, 2010 shows North Korean laeder Kim Jong Il inspecting the Wonphyong Taehung Fishery Station in Kumya County, South Hamgyong Province in North Korea. AFP PHOTO / KCNA via KNS (Photo credit should read KNS/AFP/Getty Images)

  • This undated picture released from North

    This undated picture released from North Korea's official Korean Central News Agency on February 4, 2010 shows North Korean laeder Kim Jong Il inspecting the Wonphyong Taehung Fishery Station in Kumya County, South Hamgyong Province in North Korea. AFP PHOTO / KCNA via KNS (Photo credit should read KNS/AFP/Getty Images)

  • This undated picture released from North

    This undated picture released from North Korea's official Korean Central News Agency on November 28, 2009 shows North Korean leader Kim Jong Il inspecting the Command of Navy Combined Unit 587 at undisclosed location in North Korea. AFP PHOTO / KCNA via KNS (Photo credit should read KNS/AFP/Getty Images)

  • This undated picture released from North

    This undated picture released from North Korea's official Korean Central News Agency on January 13, 2010 shows North Korean leader Kim Jong Il inspecting a pig farm built by Large Combined Unit 313 of the Korean People's Army at an undisclosed location in North Korea. AFP PHOTO / KCNA via KNS (Photo credit should read KNS/AFP/Getty Images)

  • This undated photo released by North Kor

    This undated photo released by North Korea's official Korean Central News Agency on January 11, 2010 shows North Korean leader Kim Jong Il (C) inspecting the Kangdong Weak-current Apparatus Factory in Pyingyang. Kim has admitted failing to deliver an acceptable standard of living for the communist nation's people, state media reported January 9, 2010. AFP PHOTO / KCNA via KNS (Photo credit should read KNS/AFP/Getty Images)

  • This undated picture released from North

    This undated picture released from North Korea's official Korean Central News Agency on November 28, 2009 shows North Korean leader Kim Jong Il inspecting the Oguk Co-op Farm in Anak County in South Hwanghae province. AFP PHOTO / KCNA via KNS (Photo credit should read KNS/AFP/Getty Images)

  • This undated photo released by North Kor

    This undated photo released by North Korea's official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on February 8, 2010 shows North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il (C) visiting the Vinalon Complex in Hambung City, South Hamgyong Province. North Korea has said it had a secret strike force to counter what it called South Korean plots to topple the regime in Pyongyang. The communist North, which often claims that Seoul's conservative government is plotting against it, said such attempts have 'recently gone beyond the danger line.' AFP PHOTO/KCNA via KNS (Photo credit should read KNS/AFP/Getty Images)

  • This undated picture released from North

    This undated picture released from North Korea's official Korean Central News Agency on November 28, 2009 shows North Korean leader Kim Jong Il inspecting the Oguk Co-op Farm in Anak County in South Hwanghae province. AFP PHOTO / KCNA via KNS (Photo credit should read KNS/AFP/Getty Images)

  • This undated picture, released from Nort

    This undated picture, released from North Korea's official Korean Central News Agency on November 28, 2009 shows North Korean leader Kim Jong Il inspecting the Oguk Co-op Farm in Anak County in South Hwanghae province. AFP PHOTO / KCNA via KNS (Photo credit should read KNS/AFP/Getty Images)

  • This undated picture released from North

    This undated picture released from North Korea's official Korean Central News Agency on November 25, 2009 shows North Korean leader Kim Jong Il inpsecting the Sinuiju Shoes Factory in North Pyongan province. AFP PHOTO / KCNA via KNS (Photo credit should read KNS/AFP/Getty Images)

  • This undated picture released from North

    This undated picture released from North Korea's official Korean Central News Agency on November 25, 2009 shows North Korean leader Kim Jong Il wearing a straw hat as he visits a factory in North Pyongan province. AFP PHOTO / KCNA via KNS (Photo credit should read KNS/AFP/Getty Images)

  • This undated picture released from North

    This undated picture released from North Korea's official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on March 5, 2009 shows North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il (C) inspecting the lodging house of visitors and cultural and welfare facilities, newly built at the side of Lake Samji in the area of Samjiyon in Ryanggang province. Meanwhile China and the US agreed on March 4, 2009 that North Korea should not go ahead with a missile launch, a US envoy said after talks with Chinese officials in Beijing. AFP PHOTO / KCNA via KNS (Photo credit should read KNS/AFP/Getty Images)

  • This undated picture released from North

    This undated picture released from North Korea's official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) via KNS on March 1, 2009 shows North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il (R) visiting the Manpho restaurant in the city of Manpho, in Jagang province. Meanwhile, North Korea on February 28 warned US troops stationed in South Korea to stop 'provocations' in the buffer zone dividing the two Koreas or face a 'resolute counteraction.' AFP PHOTO/KCNA via KNS (Photo credit should read KNS/AFP/Getty Images)

  • This recent undated picture released fro

    This recent undated picture released from North Korea's official Korean Central News Agency on February 25, 2009 shows North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il (R) looking at a statue of his mother Kim Jong-Suk as he visits her birthplace in Hoeryong in North Hamkyong province in North Korea. Kim Jong-Il visited several venues in the northeastern province of North Hamkyong where preparations for a controversial rocket launch are under way, state media reported. AFP PHOTO / KCNA via KNS (Photo credit should read KNS/AFP/Getty Images)

  • This undated picture released from North

    This undated picture released from North Korea's official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) via KNS on March 1, 2009 shows North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il visiting the Manpho Smeltery in the city of Manpho, in Jagang province. Meanwhile, North Korea on February 28 warned US troops stationed in South Korea to stop 'provocations' in the buffer zone dividing the two Koreas or face a 'resolute counteraction.' AFP PHOTO/KCNA via KNS (Photo credit should read KNS/AFP/Getty Images)

  • This undated picture released from North

    This undated picture released from North Korea's official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) via KNS on March 1, 2009 shows North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il (C) inspecting the Manpho spinning mill in the city of Manpho, in Jagang province. Meanwhile, North Korea on February 28 warned US troops stationed in South Korea to stop 'provocations' in the buffer zone dividing the two Koreas or face a 'resolute counteraction.' AFP PHOTO/KCNA via KNS (Photo credit should read KNS/AFP/Getty Images)

  • This recent undated picture released fro

    This recent undated picture released from North Korea's official Korean Central News Agency on February 25, 2009 shows North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il (C) visiting his mother Kim Jong Suk's birthplace in Hoeryong in North Hamkyong province in North Korea. Kim Jong-Il visited several venues in the northeastern province of North Hamkyong where preparations for a controversial rocket launch are under way, state media reported. Kim also visited the birthplace in Hoeryong town of his mother Kim Jong-Suk, who died in 1949 when he was seven. AFP PHOTO / KCNA via KNS (Photo credit should read KNS/AFP/Getty Images)

  • This recent undated picture released fro

    This recent undated picture released from North Korea's official Korean Central News Agency on February 25, 2009 shows North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il (R) standing infront of a statue of his mother Kim Jong-Suk as he visits her birthplace in Hoeryong in North Hamkyong province in North Korea. Kim Jong-Il visited several venues in the northeastern province of North Hamkyong where preparations for a controversial rocket launch are under way, state media reported. AFP PHOTO / KCNA via KNS (Photo credit should read KNS/AFP/Getty Images)

Loading Slideshow...
  • The Body

    Kim Jong Il lies in state during his massive funeral.

  • A 3-second exposure of the motion at the 100,000 person Mass Games performance. The background is made up of 30,000 kids holding sign boards. (<a href="http://www.samgellman.com" target="_hplink">Sam Gellman Photography</a>)

  • Women re-enact the birth of Eternal Leader Kim Il Sung at the Mass Games performance. (<a href="http://www.samgellman.com" target="_hplink">Sam Gellman Photography</a>)

  • Human pixels. Kids hold signs creating an image of a North Korean flag. (<a href="http://www.samgellman.com" target="_hplink">Sam Gellman Photography</a>)

  • Rows of performers. Mass Games. (<a href="http://www.samgellman.com" target="_hplink">Sam Gellman Photography</a>)

  • Women dancers performing at the Mass Games. (<a href="http://www.samgellman.com" target="_hplink">Sam Gellman Photography</a>)

  • Soldiers watching the Mass games. (<a href="http://www.samgellman.com" target="_hplink">Sam Gellman Photography</a>)

  • A tribute to Kim Il Sung at the Mass Games. (<a href="http://www.samgellman.com" target="_hplink">Sam Gellman Photography</a>)

  • Rows of apartments in Pyongyang. (<a href="http://www.samgellman.com" target="_hplink">Sam Gellman Photography</a>)

  • Adults in North Korea are required to wear a pin with the image of Kim Il Sung. (<a href="http://www.samgellman.com" target="_hplink">Sam Gellman Photography</a>)

  • A North Korean soldier at the De-militarization zone (DMZ) in Kaesong. (<a href="http://www.samgellman.com" target="_hplink">Sam Gellman Photography</a>)

  • A young boy dressed in his pioneer uniform. Taken at the Pyongyang Fun Fare. (<a href="http://www.samgellman.com" target="_hplink">Sam Gellman Photography</a>)

  • A soldier rides a bumper car at a Fun Fare at night in Pyongyang. (<a href="http://www.samgellman.com" target="_hplink">Sam Gellman Photography</a>)

  • Symmetry. (Sam Gellman Photography)

  • A kid plays in front of a tram in Pyongyang. The statue of Kim Il Sung is in the background. (<a href="http://www.samgellman.com" target="_hplink">Sam Gellman Photography</a>)

  • Kids being kids, in downtown Pyongyang. (<a href="http://www.samgellman.com" target="_hplink">Sam Gellman Photography</a>)

  • Big streets, few people. An afternoon in Kaesong. (<a href="http://www.samgellman.com" target="_hplink">Sam Gellman Photography</a>)