Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Haircuts as an expat

I've gotten 5 haircuts since I moved to Korea. They've all been unique experiences, but before I ever got one myself, I'd heard horror stories from girls who got nightmare-level haircuts. Now, there's always the possibility of a bad haircut from a new stylist, even in a familiar country but (like with most things) being a foreigner adds a new dimension. #KikinitinKorea got it right with this meme: you sit down in the salon chair and you pray... Jesus, just let it be not bad.

Because of the horror stories, I didn't get anything done my first 6 months or so. Finally, I couldn't put up with the split ends anymore and I went to get a really cheap trim. You get what you pay for. She didn't even wet it when she went in with her scissors and it was all kinds of frizzy-curly from being in a messy bun all day... Do I even need to say it was uneven? Whatever.

My next haircut was amaaaaaaazing! I went to a salon in Busan that has a great reputation among expats, called The Hair, and left feeling like a bombshell. Check out this review if you want to know more about the magic worked at Choi Young Na's salon. If it weren't so far away, I'd go there all the time!

A few months later, I asked my KBF (Korean best friend) Deborah to take me to her salon in Gwangju. That was a great experience. She translated. There were 3 girls working on my hair at the same time. I sipped tea the whole time. I felt like a princess. Hooray, I had found a reasonably-priced salon that did a good job in my town!

...then I moved. Then I went and got a horrible haircut in English-speaking Guam. I'm better off with the language barrier, I guess! Oh, I hated that haircut so much! 4 good inches gone... a year's worth of progress... horrible. Whatever. It'll grow.

Good news, though! I have a new salon that I'd recommend to anyone in Jeonju. I go to Haru Salon in Jungwhaseon-dong. My friend Naomi does a language exchange with the owner and he always does a great job on her hair, so with that vote of confidence I gave it a try back in May. I intended to get close to my natural light-brown-ish-red for the summer, since all my old color had grown out or faded to various shades of red and brown. I didn't end up with exactly what I expected, but I liked the finished product a lot more!


After my shampoo and facial treatment:

So the first dye job turned out... orange. Like, Carrot Top orange. Maybe it's cause my hair is lighter than Korean hair, so the difference from natural-to-dyed color was more, uh, drastic.

It wasn't a uniform orange, unfortunately, probably from dye leftovers. The roots were as orange as my dad's used to be, but the length was a darker auburn. I was not having that two-tone orange at all. The ombre trend is one thing, this was another.

My team of hair warriors pondering the problem. 

So we went for round two. I had NO clue what color hair I'd be walking out with, but I trusted that the team wouldn't let me leave looking a mess. They'd come highly recommended, after all.

My team of hair warriors tackling my locks once more. 
I took a sneaky pic of Seok Gon's tool belt. He had a whole slew of scissors and clips and tools at the ready. It was quite impressive.

The tool belt of a professional stylist!
Voila! The finished product!

After it was all said and done, Seok Gon and his team did a beautiful job! Like I said, I like how it turned out MUCH more than my original lighter intention.

In the sunlight, it still picked up a bit of red, but it was a dark dark reddish brown.

Inside, the red stayed hidden in favor of a deep chestnut.

**This haircut and color happened in May. It's not my current color, but thanks for the sweet comments, y'all!**

Y'all, I'm liking dark hair so much these days. Maybe it's living in Korea, where light hair stands out in stark contrast to natural dark Korean hair. Dying my hair lets me blend in just the tiniest bit. Sometimes a little bit of anonymity is nice... especially on *those days* where being a foreigner makes you want to throw things. I can put on long sleeves and sunglasses and it's just a little easier not to be noticed. Plus it just feels sophisticated. I don't know when (or if) it'll be light again. (Mayyybe in my next country.)

And there you have it! Almost feels like I wrote a haircut state of the union.

If you're an expat and you're nervous about haircuts while you live overseas, I recommend talking to friends. Your chances are better if you know someone who's had a good experience somewhere. Do a little research and good luck! 

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