Tuesday, 12 July 2011

Getting a Haircut in Japan…

Before I start, perhaps I had better emphasise that the story I am about to tell you is specific to my current situation and hair type. I am sure there are plenty of fantastic hairdressers in Japan. This post is for foreigners living in Japan who are struggling to find a good one and are experiencing rebellious hair (like I was).

The problem with my hair is that it is naturally curly. The curl of my hair is very tight and defined. I decided a long time ago to start straightening my hair and wearing it straight all the time. I have gone back to curly a couple of times and decided ultimately that I do not like curly hair. Straightening my hair everyday whilst living in Australia was not too much of a problem; the weather was very dry and I used good products in combination with a GHD straightener so the style held and I was satisfied with the overall look. But now I am in Japan.

Here, the humidity can be as high as 80%. This is not good news for me who usually spends all morning tediously straightened my hair only to find upon trying to leave the house not fifteen minutes later that it has frizzed up again.

So I finally made the decision to get my hair permanently straightened. I did some research on the web as well as asking around my fellow gaijin friends for good recommendations of hairdressers. Not many of them had positive things to say about Japanese hairdressers that they had received cuts from. The overall concensus was that Japanese hairdressers tend to be very “scissor-happy” and cut “Japanese styles” which suit Japanese women, but not us westerners. Many a friend told me they had not been to a hairdresser in months because of this issue.

So what to do? Well, one of my gaijin friends raved about the Toni&Guy salon in Shizuoka City. The head stylist was trained in London. He understood Western styles and Western hair. I decided that he was my best bet for a successful straight perm.

So I turn up for my appointment at 1pm. I am greeted personally by the head stylist (bonus! He wants to practice his English!) and am told that my straight perm will take three applications (instead of the normal 2). My hair was washed, painted with solution, washed, painstakingly blow-dried and straightened, painted with solution again, washed, trimmed by the head stylist and blow-dried straight. It was by the time that I had received my third head massage while having my hair washed that I decided I wanted to live in the Toni&Guy salon and have them do nice things to my head everyday. The whole process took four hours and three Vogue magazines.

The result? Beautiful straight hair. No more labouring over it with my GHD in the morning. No more hiding it under a hat or in a ponytail. No more fighting futilely against the humidity. It was easily the best thing I have ever done for my hair. So if you are hesitant about getting a haircut in Japan, I highly recommend Toni&Guy. The overall experience was outstanding. The staff were amazingly kind, they used the best products, the head stylist was nowhere near “scissor-happy” and instead cut very sparingly and carefully (I told him I am trying to grow mine out). To top it all off, his English was amazing and we understood eachother perfectly. Prices are reasonable for the service provided. My bill came to 16,000yen.

You get 30% your first visit if you mention the name of the person who recommended you. They will record against your name in their files every time a customer says you recommended them. If you recommend a certain number of people, you get a discount on your next visit. I certainly hope you will give them a go!

Some helpful hairdressing lingo:

Yoyaku dekimasuka? (Can I make an appointment?)

…wo onegaishimasu. (I’d like a … )
  • ·         Burou (blow wave)
  • ·         Kara-ringu (colour)
  • ·         Heakatto (hair cut)
  • ·         Torimingu (trim)
Mijikaku kirisuginaide kudasai. (Please don’t cut it too short.)

Anata ni tanomanakereba yokata. (I’d have been better off if I had never let you near me!)

The results are in...

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