Finding a new hair stylist in Hong Kong can be almost as difficult and intimidating as finding a new apartment! If you’re new to Hong Kong and don’t know where to start OR you are looking for a change from your current hair stylist, finding the right stylist can be a challenging and expensive exercise.
Hair horror stories and how to avoid them
As a salon owner, I’ve heard lots of stories – many new clients come to Glow Salon after they have experimented with a new salon and a new stylist only to walk out with unexpected bangs, a mumsie bob, a clipper cut that is way too short, stripy highlights or damaged hair and scalp from unnecessary chemical treatments or from the use of fake products. Let’s face it, these hair errors can be expensive and may take months to grow out and recover from.
With these experiences and stories in mind, I have put together a collection of tips and tricks to help guide anyone who is looking for a new hairstylist or a new salon in Hong Kong.
Identity and self esteem… why hair matters
Our hair is a reflection of our identity, it makes a statement about our personal style, our lifestyle, our health and for some, it can also be a reflection of one’s creativity. Your hair is the accessory you wear all the time, your personal style on display to the public every time you venture out. Your hair reflects your femininity/masculinity, and is often strongly linked with a person’s self esteem.
Many people develop a deep personal relationship with their stylist, this can make it very difficult when you move to a new city and have to find someone who can look after you as well as your stylist at home.
Step 1: Don’t be shy, ask around!
Often, the best way to find a salon that employs talented, capable and trusted stylists is to simply ask around. If you see a color or a cut that you love on a friend or acquaintance (or even a perfect stranger), ask them which salon they go to and who they see. Most people in Hong Kong love to share their insider knowledge. Even if you don’t end up going to the recommended stylist or salon – asking a friend can be a great place to start.
At Glow Salon, our stylists love getting referrals and we have lots of great reviews on our social media pages that we invite our clients to read. It is a real confidence boost to hear that our work has been admired and that the client is happy and comfortable to recommend our stylists.
Always let your stylist know who has made the referral, especially if you like your friends cut or colour and would like something similar, this gives the stylist an insight into what you are looking for and allows the stylist to personally thank your friend for the referral.
In Hong Kong, there are many discussion forums on Facebook as well as related blogs and websites to follow. Social media sites area great place to ask for referrals, and get recommendations. Many salons have client reviews on their Facebook page and this is a great place to get a good feel for the salon.
At Glow, we actively update our social media pages with our latest work, promotions, new products and special offers that are available. It is always a good idea to check out our Facebook and Instagram account to check out the latest styles, trends and to see if there are any promotions to take advantage of or new products you may like to try.
Step 3: Get to know them first
Once you have a salon in mind and perhaps a stylist, give the salon a call and book a consultation. A great salon will have a knowledgeable receptionist, who can point you in the direction of a stylist who may be the most suitable stylist for you. For example, if you have curly hair, ask for someone experienced and with a reputation for good curly cuts. Blondes in need of colour treatments should always take special care to find a someone that has experience in handling blonde hair, not every Hong Kong salon has this expertise. If you are looking for a particular technique, ask the salon if there is a specialist in that technique, if you have a specific budget check that your appointment is booked with someone in your price range.
Ask for a free consultation
A consultation is a great way to see the salon, get a feel for the atmosphere, have a chat with the stylists and make sure the salon is somewhere you are comfortable with.
At Glow, we encourage our clients to come in and meet us, we are more than happy to chat with you about styling services that suit you, make recommendations, show you some of our work and make sure that we meet your budget requirements. Our stylists work as a team, so if you are looking for something that is outside of the stylist’s skill set, then they are always happy to refer you to another stylist who is better suited for your requirements.
Remember, not every salon in Hong Kong offer free consultations, so make sure you check this before you make a booking.
Go for a shampoo & blow dry
If you prefer, book a shampoo and blow dry with the stylist of your choice first, this is another great way to get to know your stylist, ask for tips and advice, get a feel for the salon, take a look around at what other clients are doing and make sure you are happy and comfortable at the salon.
In my experience, a modern, clean environment with a good atmosphere, where you can see that the stylists and salon team care about the quality of their work and they are cared for by their employer, i.e. they have all of the products and tools they need, will allow the stylist to work to their full potential and deliver the very best service for you.
Step 4: Ask about products & staff training
Unfortunately, there are salons in Hong Kong that use copy or fake products, and salons that skimp on product, or ‘mix their own’ solutions. So, it is worth asking about the products the stylist will use and where they come from. Most salons have certificates or letters from their distributors stating the official distribution rights to specific products.
If a salon is reluctant to answer your questions about the products they use, where they are sourced and the type and frequency of their staff training, then this should ring alarm bells.
At Glow, we welcome any questions about the products we use and we only use the highest quality products, that are sourced directly from the distributors or we import directly ourselves. We never dilute our products and we never use copy or fake brands sourced from China.
Our salon team make sure that all treatments are applied, using the correct quantities, and as per the recommended guidelines from the manufacturer to ensure you get the very best result possible.
Step 5: Book an appointment
Whether you book for just a consultation OR you book your hair styling appointment, every appointment at Glow starts with a thorough consultation and every consultation should include the following key elements.
If you’re not made welcome, walk away
First, your stylist should start with a warm and welcoming introduction, offer you a beverage and make sure you are comfortable before you start. The stylist should always ask you to take your hair out if you have it tied back, they should feel your hair texture, lift it up and let it fall to get an idea of how the hair moves, and where it naturally falls.
If you arrive at your new salon and you are walked to the wash basin before you have spoken with your new stylist I would suggest leaving immediately, as it’s unlikely you will leave your hair appointment happy. It’s essential that your new stylist see you and discuss your requirements before any washing or treatments are started.
A good stylist asks questions – lots of questions!
At Glow, our stylists will ask many questions, including questions about your lifestyle, how much time you are prepared to spend each day styling, the frequency with which you wash your hair, how recently you straightened or curled your hair and when you last had any chemical or keratin treatments. All our stylists will ask you about the good cuts and the poor cuts you have experienced and why each worked for you. This is a good time to point out any strange or difficult hair problems you may have, like your cowlick curl or your curly roots, or your unusual hairline.
The key to an excellent consultation is that the stylist is listening to you. This is especially important in Hong Kong, particularly if you or your stylist or both of you are trying to communicate in a second language, patience and clarification is essential.
A good stylist will love it when you to bring in photos, this makes understanding what you want that much easier, and these days it is pretty easy to have a few photo’s on your phone. This is very important if you are looking for a specific colour and even more so if you want a particular cut. Unlike many salons in Hong Kong, the stylists at Glow work as a team, and we regularly collaborate and ask each other for second opinions on color blends, styling approach, best treatments etc, whatever it takes to get the very best results for your hair.
Whilst your stylist is asking you lots of questions and trying to get to know you and your hair, it’s always a good opportunity for you to ask your stylist questions, test their knowledge, ask about the ongoing maintenance of your new style and clarify their understanding of your requirements.
Step 6: Work with your new stylist
Whilst all great stylists will try to get it right the first time, and usually do, this may not always happen. Every effort is made, however, if you are not 100% happy, talk with your stylist. It is likely to be just a small correction that could be done immediately or a small change in colour or technique to be applied at the next visit.
At Glow we are happy for you to make contact with us within the first couple of weeks after your appointment and we gladly, tidy up the cut or correct the colour if required.
As the owner of the salon, I am always available to our clients, whilst the team and I always try to do everything possible to make sure our clients leave the salon delighted with their new cut and/or colour, I will always be available to listen and find a solution if your experience has not met your expectations.
Please note, that not all salons in Hong Kong offer this service and many salons charge for corrections, so make sure you check this with your new stylist at your consultation.
The challenge of being on point and on budget
Wherever you are, going cheap can be very expensive and Hong Kong is no exception in this regard. We regularly see new clients at Glow who have had their hair ruined in an effort to keep costs down.
At Glow, we want to know about your budget, and about the time and investment you are prepared to make in your hair. We have stylists at various levels of experience and price point and we can usually find a stylist that meets your style and financial expectations. We will be realistic with you about what is possible within your budget and we can offer alternative and solutions to make sure you get the very best look and hairstyle without breaking the bank!
Maybe your new favourite hair stylist is at Glow Salon?
Our friendly, expert team at Glow Salon would love to meet you for a free consultation, drop us an email at [email protected] or call us on 2525 5198, or come in and see us at 9/F, Parker House, 72 Queen’s Rd, Central.