I went to Hair and Joy in Hongdae, as recommended by pretty much ALL of the expats I know. I was told they had good prices, great English and excellent hairdressing skills (having trained in both Europe and Asia), which I suppose is actually the most important thing there.
There're fancy, stylish hairdressers in abundance in Bupyeong, a stone's throw away and all open until at least midnight that'll give me a good-looking haircut for pennies. But how to explain what I want if they don't speak much English? Ultimate stress, given my previous fear of having my hair cut. (Let's not talk about afro-gate)
So, anyone who knows me will know I do not take care of my hair. At all. My hair's CV in the past year or so looks like this:
- dyed red
- dyed green
- dye top-up
- dyed red again
- dyed brown in an attempt to go back to natural (forgetting how dark my hair actually is)
- bleached at the tips
- tips dyed green
|Green. Of course.|
|Here's me looking despondent about my awful hair and the rubbish "semi-permanent" dye from about 2 weeks ago.|
Let's not even talk about the time I did my regular fringe trim (something I'd been doing myself for a couple of months) and got the level wrong. Sure, an oddly short fringe seems to be in fashion now but it sure as heck wasn't back then!
So yeah, it's a strange, miscoloured, frazzly mess. Not sure how it is my hair grows so oddly that I managed to get a diagonal ombre, but okay.
In the past 6 or months I've been trying to fix this, getting regular haircuts, banning colour, giving it conditioning masks and basically just trying to grow out this hellish state its in. 3 months into my time in Korea, and I was finally at my stage 1 goal:
Cut it all off.
Now, I don't mean pixie cut style. I just mean, hack off all that old colour, reset to default settings.
I tried it out with hairpins and didn't HATE it, and Nick told me to try it if, at the very least, it'll heal up my hair a bit.
I explained pretty much all of this to Jason (my assigned stylist, after a fairly painless phonecall the day before. I'd been asked who I wanted to see and pretty much went "anyone") and he went to work.
And that's how I ended up like this:
It's so short.
There's still a random bit of the lighter brown on one side because, again, wonky hair. Jason told me he'd fix this when I go back for a trim. But it feels a lot thicker, smoother, healthier, and it's almost all one colour. It still takes forever to wash, oddly, but it's a lot quicker to dry. One downside is that in all this humidity, it gets greasy MUCH more quickly. Or it's more noticeable anyway. I used to get away with washing my hair once a week, maybe twice if I got sweaty or did a lot of smelly cooking. But now it's almost every other day otherwise I look like Snape's offspring.
It was a great experience, the salon played lots of calming music and it's the most extravagantly decorated hairdresser's I've ever been to. Combined with the fact I often had 2-3 people working on my hair at the same time, it was a pretty luxurious experience.
The chop itself was very satisfying. I mentioned I was a bit scared, and after that, at every step before a big change, we'd have a break and I'd be asked if I was 100% sure I wanted to do it, shown how it should look when it's done and assured it would be fine. That's something really lovely that I haven't really had before. I've had lovely stylists but none of that extra reassurance.
I was going to take a photo of my huge pile of hair after the initial big cut (which I was shown to prove IT'S ALL GONE. FOREVER. SORT OF.) but they were too efficient and it was gone in the next moment.
When it came to paying (a bit lightheaded because, well, my head was...a lot lighter.) I genuinely had a moment where I just stood and blinked with surprise.
"What was that, sorry?"
That's just under £18. I usually pay £20-25 and that's a CHEAP cut. Most people I know spend £30-50.
I apologised and tried to explain so that they knew it wasn't anything bad. The response?
A cheeky smile and "Oh. Can I ask for more then?"
Nope, too late. I've paid and I'm happy. My next goal is to grow it out nice and long again, but healthy.
My other joy is the fact that it's opened a whole new set of doors for me re: cosplay, as seen below with a sort of Kiki's Delivery Service closet cosplay.