Some of us have deeply rooted relationships with our hair professional and therefore, one of the most frightening things about moving to a foreign country is finding someone you trust to cut, colour and style your hair. While it’s difficult to give in to the fact that our beloved stylist, who understands our hair, is no longer with us, the inevitable reality is just around the corner. Before you know it, you are going to be in a hair frenzy and need a touch up in colour or a trim, so muster up some courage because it is time to find a foreign hair friendly salon in Beijing that suits you.
1) Beijing Hair Professionals
Not every hair professional is a master of all trades. It is possible that you will find someone who is excellent with colour, but maybe they aren’t so good at cutting and vice versa. Also, there are many foreign salons with Chinese stylist and colour technicians and while most of them have been trained extensively on how to work with foreign hair, not all of them have this luxury which could be fatal for your hair. Don’t let this deter you from a Chinese hair professional as you will find that many of them are excellent with foreign hair but make sure ask if and where they trained. Some of them train abroad, some of them train within China, but with international salon specialists some of them are training before your eyes. Yikes!
2) Don’t Be a Guinea Pig: Get the professionalism you pay
Some foreign salons have been guilty of hiring low-labour staff and using the current employees to train them. It is not uncommon to see a hair professional instructing as a local Chinese mixes and applies colour, determines when it should be rinsed out and even cuts the hair, etc. There is a huge difference between someone who is an apprentice and someone who is experimenting. While it is understandable that a person must start somewhere, hair professionals, much like medical professionals, must first go through formal training for a period of time before they undergo an apprenticeship.
There is an appropriate time and place for hair experimentation and in most foreign countries we call it, beautician school. Brave souls or those on a very limited budget can go to these schools for cheaper services, understanding that a novice is dealing with their hair. The problem in Beijing is that the salons don’t ask or warn you, so you call and schedule an appointment with a highly recommended stylist only to have some unknown local, with no foreign hair experience, go to work on you with scissors or colour. And if that isn’t bad enough, they will then charge you the price of the master stylist when they should be paying you an experimental fee instead. Watch out, it’s rare but possible! Always insist on the professional you are paying for.
3) Texture and Colour Makes a Difference
Most Chinese have black or reddish color hair and usually it is even a different texture than most westerners’ hair. This will make a huge difference in the way your hair lays when cut and styled and the way your hair receives color or chemical treatments. Therefore, when you visit a foreign salon make sure that not only the stylist/colourist has experience with your hair type but also, if you colour your hair, it is important to know what kind of colour they use. As in many Chinese salons, the colour is a different brand than we are used to from home and it may also be tailored to Chinese hair texture and colour. Don’t allow them to fool you with known brands either. Some salons will claim to carry well known professional grade like, L’Oreal, and you later realize it is nothing more than a rinse you could buy at Wal-Mart and apply yourself. The bad news is that it will only become obvious after its coloured but the somewhat good news is that it will rinse out and fade quicker. If you are in doubt, ask them to show you the hair colour.
4) The Price of Beauty
It can be expensive to receive hair services from foreign salons in Beijing. They know how important our hair is to us and they know we are willing to pay the price for gorgeous locks. It’s a monopoly of an industry and I wish I could tell you that you could bargain your way out of this one but unfortunately, it isn’t the market we are dealing with so you will probably pay more for hair services than in your home country.
Below is a list of some of the most popular hair salons within the expat community:
1) Julie’s Salon View In Map
Started providing beauty services for expatriate women in the mid 1990’s and has had a successful following since then. The service and prices are unbeatable for foreign stylists in Beijing. They are excellent with colour and cuts. While most men are well suited to pop in a local Chinese salon and get an army-style haircut for 30 RMB, Julie’s Salon will fix you up without cutting it close with the trimmers for about 50 RMB. And for all the blondes in Beijing, this is an excellent place for a colour safe experience.
Add: Gongti East gate, between doors 9 and 10, Chaoyang District, Beijing
Tel: 136 0137 1790
2) Eric Paris Salon 爱丽克美容美发
This very chic, French-style salon is equipped with foreign stylists who know what it means to have fabulous hair. With three locations and an entire English speaking staff, the quality is as superior as you’ll find in a nation with little expertise on foreign hair. In terms of price, all foreign salons are rather expensive but Eric Paris is probably the least expensive of the well-known foreign hair salons in the city. They have a pretty fantastic pedicure as well as other spa treatments. And for all you Beijingers who like a little colour year around or if you’re simply lacking vitamin D due to the limited sun exposure in the hazy city, they have a sun tanning-bed too. See venue info here.
3) Toni & Guy 托尼英盖View In Map
This is a well known U.K. salon. With several locations in Beijing and an English speaking staff, which have usually been extensively trained by Toni & Guy professionals either within China or abroad, you are sure to get some awesome cuts and colour from one their hair professionals. They are on the expensive side but if you find someone that suits you, it’s worth it. They are more likely than some of the smaller independent shops to carry real professional colour as well.
Add: Room 105-106, Tower F, Sunshine 100, 2 Guanghua Lu, Chaoyang District, Beijing,
Tel: 010 6585 9288
Opening hours: Daily, 10:00-22:00
There are other foreign hair salons in Beijing such as Catherine de France, a French salon with two locations, and Kobo, which is a Japanese hair salon and if you know anything about Japanese culture, fashion and hair are at the top of their “important” list. Tony Studio is a Chinese salon but many foreigners go here for decent cuts but there is little to no English so carry pictures if you don’t speak Chinese.
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Keywords: where to cut hair Beijing foreign friendly hair salons Beijing best foreign hair salons Beijing Beijing hair salons
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As I’m leaving Shanghai im writing some reviews as I remember how hard it was when I first arrived 4 years ago.. My saving grace was Gillian Farrell. After having my hair done in Tony and guy and Benson (both were a very mad experience, which they left me with yellow and burnt off. I then found Gillian, amazing stylist from Ireland. She now is part of the Alize chain she runs the The salon on XinHui road. She has been looking after my whole family the last four years. With her skills and understanding of what I always want ive never been disappointed ive have beautiful golden locks for the past 4 years. And now in her new shop she does keratin straight also 100%Formaldehyde Free. Heres her website www.gillianalizeshanghai.com has all the contact information needed.
Mar 19, 2015 18:08 Report Abuse
I went to Julies Salon and am sooo impressed. Blonde (grey really!!!) wavy hair have always had trouble with cuts & colour no matter where I have lived................ this time I am loving the colour & the cut!!!! Absolutely recommend Julie's!
Sep 16, 2014 21:41 Report Abuse
Can't believe this site recommended Toni and Guy! Stupidly expensive even much more then London without half the standards! The colourist was arrogant and lazy. He spent most of the time bullying the trainee. £100 for full head of highlights no cut no treatment no blow dry and it looks nothing like what I wanted could seriously cry. I won't be using any Toni and Guy franchise ever again in any country. If they can put their name to this shit they deserve to be shut down!
Jun 17, 2014 18:37 Report Abuse
Dear Friends and Valued Clients,
We at ERIC Paris, founded in China in 1996, are dedicated to the best hair services possible. I am delighted that we are listed here.
We stand behind our services and our staff. We look forward to welcoming you to our salons in Beijing. There are 17 total salons around China in our chain to provide you with the best and most convenient service possible.
Should you need anything special or want additional salon support, please email email@example.com.
We look forward to welcoming you in our salons.
Callie Harris, Intern
Jun 08, 2011 00:31 Report Abuse