BEST #IWOKEUPLIKETHIS PERM: Mi Wonder Curls, from $319, Mi The Salon
The curls on our tester were looser than what she had expected, but she was pleasantly surprised that it ended up being a flattering look on her. The hairstylist explained the process of the perm well, and even suggested styling tips to incorporate into her routine to help the curls last as long as possible – for example, “twisting” her hair while it dries, for a bouncier look.
BEST NATURAL-LOOKING PERM: Michaela Signature Perm, $535, Hair Salon Tokyo Michaela
It was our tester’s first foray into perms, but the expertise of the salon team left her so at ease that she didn’t feel as if she was diving into something too foreign. Kenta, the head stylist, conducted an in-depth consultation on the type of perm that best suited our tester’s face shape and hair type, while Eunice, his assistant, took care to explain every product used. The result of the perm: bouncy, loose curls that were entirely frizz-free (despite our tester’s naturally frizzy hair).
BEST OUTRAGEOUS HAIR COLOURING SERVICE: Colouring, from $119, Be Salon
Photo: Instagram / @studiobesalon
Our tester initially wanted a simple brown, but walked out of the salon with both brown hair and vibrant red “underlights” (highlights on the inner layers of the hair). Her hairstylist recommended the look to add a twist to an otherwise “plain” request, and was so confident in his skills that she was sold. He had reference pictures to illustrate his vision, and explained in detail how to care for her hair so the colour would last longer. In fact, the dye used was great – her hair colour didn’t fade after a week despite washing twice daily. The hairstylist also gave her a relaxing scalp and neck massage during her hair wash.
MOST INNOVATIVE SALON CONCEPT: Chez Vous Hideaway
Step into the salon and you’ll know exactly what we mean when we say it’s most innovative. The place offers both an adventure and experience. Themed rooms cater to different needs – in the bright hairstyling area, the booths are positioned well apart so customers get their personal space. It’s nothing like the conventional crowded salon layout. The “wash cave” is dim, with an LED screen of floating jellyfish as a therapeutic graphic while you get your hair washed. You also get to customise your hair makeover experience: Pick from four essential oils (cedar wood, lavender, lemongrass and peppermint), and the scent you choose will be incorporated into your hair wash, heated shoulder pad and scalp massage.
BEST LOW-MAINTENANCE HAIR COLOUR: Colour and Multi-tone Highlight, $318, J’s Salon
Photo: Instagram / @jssalonsg
What our tester didn’t want from her colouring session: the fussy aftercare that comes with outrageously coloured hair. Senior hairstylist Vincent delivered. He gave her a chestnut brown shade (something different from her natural dark brown), with lighter ash and magenta-red highlights to add a subtle edginess to the look. The colour brightened up her complexion, and she didn’t need to alter or add anything to her usual haircare routine to prevent the colour from fading – and it hasn’t done so since the colouring session.
BEST STRENGTHENING TREATMENT FOR CHEMICALLY DAMAGED HAIR: Keratin Care (Protein Restoration Treatment), from $300, Be Salon
Post-treatment, our tester’s hair instantly felt softer, smoother and significantly less dry. Her previous perm had made her hair brittle and prone to breakage, but she noticed that the breakage happened less often after this treatment, because her hair didn’t tangle so easily. The treatment also helped to tame the frizz caused by the previous perm. Her hair is now more manageable. The effects of the treatment were long-lasting too; she reported that her hair still felt stronger even after six washes.
BEST SOOTHING TREATMENT FOR STRESSED HAIR: Double Treatment, from $240, Mi The Salon
Photo: Instagram / @mithesalon
Our tester thoroughly enjoyed her treatment from start to end. Hairstylists Ivan and Azim were able to accurately identify the problem areas of her heavily rebonded hair (frizz and brittleness) and took special care to treat them. They were meticulous throughout – Ivan explained in detail every step of the treatment and how it would benefit her damaged hair, and Azim gave her the “best scalp massage ever”. Her hair felt smoother and softer, and she noticed less breakage the next time she washed it.
BEST REPAIRING TREATMENT FOR CHEMICALLY DAMAGED HAIR: Red Carpet Hair Treatment, from $205, Chez Vous Hair Salon
A two-week-old colouring job had left our tester’s hair frizzy, tangled and dry. That changed after this treatment done by the salon’s associate director, Readen. He recommended a smoothing treatment that would target her concerns. She even managed to pick up easy haircare tips from him – like using a leave-in conditioner daily, and a blow-drying technique for flat hair. A week after the session, her husband was still complimenting her on her sleek, straight hair.
BEST DEEP-CLEANSING TREATMENT FOR CHEMICALLY DAMAGED HAIR: Deep Repair Hair Treatment, from $65, Dr Hair
The treatment helped to unclog and refresh our tester’s oily scalp as well as smooth her dry and brittle hair (a result of constant bleaching). Her consultant was patient in talking her through the pre-treatment scalp scan, and made the effort to understand her haircare routine to tailor the treatment to her concerns. The good results were apparent in the post-treatment scan, and she found the overall experience very enjoyable.
BEST SCALP-CLEANSING TREATMENT: Anti-stress Scalp Treatment, $450, Leonica K Trichology
Our tester was able to get away without washing her hair for two nights post-treatment – a luxury she couldn’t afford previously because of her oily scalp. Her scalp felt clean and refreshed after the treatment, thanks to the customised session that founder Leonica Kei arranges for customers. She incorporated tea tree oil into the treatment to cleanse and detox our tester’s oily scalp (the salon has different oils for different scalp concerns), and used an infrared machine to prolong the effects of the deep-cleanse.
BEST SCALP-REJUVENATING TREATMENT: Oxy-DH Hair Therapy, $160, Svenson
What sealed the deal for our tester were the oxygen shots. Streams of O2 were sprayed onto the scalp to recharge it – and the cooling sensation left her scalp feeling instantly refreshed. The post-treatment scan also revealed improvements to our tester’s weaker, more concave hair follicles. She left the salon with bouncy hair and a fresh-feeling scalp.
BEST SCALP TREATMENT FOR HAIR LOSS: Hair Defense Booster Therapy, $110, Svenson
What impressed our tester most about the treatment was how well it seemed to curb her hair loss – she reported shedding less than half the usual number of strands she normally lost while shampooing, post-treatment. The treatment aimed to boost blood circulation in her scalp and support her hair follicles to prevent breakage. The good effects lasted a week. She also said that her scalp felt significantly less oily, and took a longer time to feel greasy.
BEST SCALP-CLEANSING TREATMENT: Advanced Scalp Detox & Care Treatment, $352.03, TK Trichokare
What made our tester so pleased with her treatment was this: Her scalp didn’t feel greasy, and her hair didn’t feel limp for at least four days after her treatment – a never-before occurrence, given her oily scalp. Instead, she found that her scalp felt clean and fresh. Salon staff member Elaine explained the process to our tester in detail during the treatment, and gave her a relaxing scalp massage that left her wanting more.
BEST SCALP-WELLNESS TREATMENT Anti Hair Loss Scalp Treatment, $420, Dr Hair
The moment you sink into one of the leather massage chairs here, you’re served a small pot of Dr GL’s Glossilocks tea brewed with French rosebuds and lavender to relax you. Every step of the treatment is refined and well thought out, and you are always told what’s being done. The treatment left our tester’s scalp soothed, cleansed and refreshed.
BEST ANTI-GREY & HAIR-LOSS SCALP TREATMENT Fastgro Hair & Scalp Treatment, $300, Yun Nam Hair Care
The scalp-care salon chain is super-efficient. This is its most popular treatment for greying and thinning hair, for good reason. It is wholly herbal (when you step out of the salon, your hair will smell of the herbs until your next wash, but don’t worry – it’s not altogether unpleasant), and our tester felt that it gave instant results. She noticed that her hair felt stronger and more resilient, and had a healthy-looking gloss. She also reported noticeably less hair clogging the drain after shampooing at home.
BEST HAIR TREATMENT FOR VOLUMINOUS HAIR Michaela Scalp Treatment, $85.50, Hair Salon Tokyo Michaela
While our tester’s hair isn’t particularly flat, it is waist-long, easily tangled, and tends to weigh her down. During the treatment, assistant hairstylist Eunice took special care to detangle and unravel knots before applying any product to the hair. Post-treatment, our tester said her hair was less tangled, more manageable, looked voluminous, and felt airy. Her scalp felt a lot cleaner and fresher as well.