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Hair treatments in Singapore: Highlights, scalp treatments and blowouts – tried and tested by EL

Forever on a quest for sleek, frizz-free and perfectly coloured locks, members of the Expat Living team volunteered to try treatments at local hair salons. Read on for the results (and for more on great colourists around the island, head here).
 

Before (left) and after: Leanda Rathmell (Client Services Manager) 

Starting hair condition:
Uneven highlights with unsightly orange streaks and yellow patches.

Desired result:
Ash-blonde highlights.

Treatment of choice:
Full head of highlights at Visage Salon.

The procedure:
I’d recently visited my regular salon, and had made the grave mistake of agreeing to one of their junior staff members touching up my roots. What was meant to be a straightforward procedure turned into a disaster that left my hair orange-streaked, and me crying out for help.

I’m Eurasian, so my hair type can often be difficult for inexperienced colourists to handle, as it tends to react differently to treatments than pure Asian or Caucasian hair.

I had heard Dominic’s name on several occasions and was recommended to visit him for an emergency quick-fix. Despite being fully booked, he was incredibly accommodating and agreed to see me during his lunch hour. After his initial yelp of disbelief as I walked in, I explained to him the colour I was after – an ash-brown with subtle highlights, but no dreaded orange or red tints. He studied my hair carefully and suggested that as I had gone this far, I should try going blonde. Apprehensive of the tacky “blonde-Asian” look, I shared my concerns, but he assured me the outcome would look great, so I took a deep breath and let him work his magic.

Talking me through the process, Dominic used a high-lift lightener to remove the orange tones. By separating finer sections of hair for the highlights and adding a series of ash-brown low-lights in between, the thicker patches and uneven tones were successfully broken down to reveal a more natural look. Careful to eliminate all signs of orange, he reopened the foil and applied a second coat.

Final verdict: Once dried and styled, I was thrilled with the outcome. Despite being a few shades lighter, the appearance was far more natural, with the ash tones more suited to my skin tone. Thoroughly pleased!

Price:
For highlights:
• Full head from $250 onwards.
• Half head from $150 to $180 (depending on the number of foils used).

For colour:
• Full head, $190 to $200.
• Partial, $100 onwards.

Visage Salon. #02-12/14 Delfi Orchard, 402 Orchard Road, 6735 6357

 

The EL team offer up their 'before' and 'after' mug shots!

 

Starting hair condition:
Dull, washed-out blonde in need of a lift.

Desired result:
A full head of highlights (and that I won’t leave the salon resembling a Wotsit).

Treatment of choice:
A full head of blonde highlights at Trimmings, Loewen Gardens.

The procedure:
Being a blondie in Singapore is a struggle for many of us. I’m sure we’ve all heard the horror stories of orange tones, green tinges and frazzled locks. So I hadn’t had my hair coloured locally since moving here, but finally after two years I came to the conclusion that I couldn’t keep waiting till my next trip home for my highlights.

When I visited Trimmings at Loewen Gardens, my very reassuring colourist Marcus asked exactly what I was after as he inspected my current dye-job. He explained I need a slightly warmer ashy blonde against my skin tone, otherwise it’ll wash me out – that had not been pointed out to me before.

Producing three pots of different strength bleaches, masses of foil and two helpers, Marcus got to work on my mop. I’ll admit I’ve got thick tresses, but it took two hours to apply all of the razor-thin highlights, and I’m pretty sure I ended up with more foil in my hair than Cold Storage sells in a week. After two and a half hours, the foils were removed and I was already excited to see the results.

Next came a colour-saving treatment. This involved a foam product, an eighties velvet headband and a spaceship-like device positioned over my head which blasted my hair with cool moisture, all to seal the colour into the cuticles. After a second wash and quick trim, my newly coloured locks were blow-dried into soft waves.

Final verdict:
Three and half hours later, I skipped out of Trimmings with perfectly highlighted, silky hair that actually did suit my colouring. Breathe a sigh of relief, blondes, if your hair is in this salon’s hands.

Price:
• $280 and upwards for a full head of highlights on medium to long hair.
• $40 for the colour-saving treatment.

Trimmings @ Loewen Gardens, 75E Loewen Road, Tanglin Village, 6471 1922  

 

Before (left) and after: Rebecca Bisset (Editor in Chief) 

Starting hair condition:
I have very curly hair that I’m happy with up to a point, however there are lots of stubborn loose frizzy bits, so I struggle to make it look groomed and tidy. 

Desired result:
I always envy people with hair that has a smooth, healthy sheen, so I’d love to achieve something close to that.

Treatment of choice: 
A keratin protein treatment at Casey Salon.

The procedure:
To begin, the hair is cleansed thoroughly with a lovely wash and scalp massage so that the mixture has a better chance of being absorbed into the hair shaft. Next, the treatment is painted on to the hair and left for about 30 minutes. I’ll admit, it did sting a bit after a time, but then my scalp is quite sensitive.

After the treatment has been washed out, the hair is dried and then tonged to help the keratin to penetrate further into the hair shafts. At this point my hair looked dead straight and I was quite nervous, however it was very soft and shiny, which I was very happy with. Everyone in the office said it made me look years younger and my four-year-old grandnephew said I looked so beautiful – but then again he is biased.

Final verdict:
I washed my hair two days later and was very happy to see my curls come back, but the shine and the softness from the treatment remained. My fly-away hairs seem to have vanished, and it looks much neater even when I just leave it to air-dry – it’s even become a lot easier to blow-dry. I’m very pleased with the treatment and now realise why so many expat ladies have been getting it done while living here.

Price:
• For above shoulder-length hair, $375 to $480.
• For hair below the shoulders, $481 to $650.

Casey Salon, #02-08 Palais Renaissance , 390 Orchard Road, 6235 5328

Rebecca also tested out…

Starting hair condition:
For years I’ve been careful not to wash my hair too often, as it’s dry and there’s not a lot of it. My scalp reacts to certain shampoos and over the last year has been quite spotty especially on the crown. (Sounds lovely, I know.)

Desired result:
Given the opportunity to have a scalp exfoliating treatment, I jumped at it. I hadn’t known you could do something like that and was a bit apprehensive. We were joking in the office that I may return with no hair, but I was keen to do anything that stimulated the growth and sorted out the spots.

Treatment of choice:
The scalp exfoliation spa at Organic Hair Professional.

The procedure:
The first step is a scalp analysis involving a probe that lets you see your scalp at a huge magnification. It was very strange seeing all my individual hair follicles. The hairdresser explains that my scalp is very oily, but also that the skin is thin and pink in places, meaning that it’s quite sensitive. On the top of my head, most of the follicles have only one strand coming out where there should be two to three like on the rest of my head – the greasiness and poor state of the scalp is not conducive to good hair growth.

After the analysis, a gentle exfoliate was spread evenly on the scalp and massaged then rinsed. Then I was given a lovely blow-dry.

Final verdict:
Funnily enough, my head feels much lighter and my hair looks healthier. I’m told the hair doesn’t need much washing, but it’s important to give the scalp a good clean regularly. I’ve bought Organic Hair Professional’s organic shampoo and conditioner (even the bottle is completely recyclable and organic, apparently) so I can carry on caring for my sensitive scalp. I’m feeling optimistic that this routine will sort out my hair issues.

Price:
Coming in at $98 dollars including the blow-dry, I think this is something I will do regularly. They recommend that I come back once a month, but considering my schedule this will realistically be every two months. If it means having a fuller head of hair going into my “senior” years, it will be well worth it.

Organic Hair Professional, #03-15 Orchard Central, 181 Orchard Road, 6554 2188

 

Amy Greenburg (Health and Fitness, Arts and Leisure Editor) - pretty tricky to do a before and after for this one! 

Starting hair condition:
A dry, sometimes itchy scalp and gradually thinning hair.

Desired result:
A hydrated scalp and a fuller head of hair, please!

Treatment of choice:
The Kerastase Scalp Treatment Journey at Toni & Guy. This newly launched treatment programme is designed to remedy concerns like a dry or oily scalp, dandruff, thinning hair and hair loss. Using specially designed tools and a wide range of yummy-smelling Kerastase products, Kerastase Scalp Professionals customise treatment plans according to an individual’s specific scalp conditions.

The procedure:
First, I watched as my scalp expert Derek got up close and personal with my scalp, using a high-tech magnifying camera to assess the state of its surface and the hair follicles.

After diagnosing my skin type as dry with a couple of oily patches on the sides of my head, Derek was able to determine the best treatment programme. He explained that re-balancing and repairing my scalp’s condition would eliminate hair cuticle blockage – the cause of my hair thinning – and promote hair growth.

Our next course of action involved spraying water on my scalp to soften the dead skin cells, and then using a gentle scaling tool to slough them off. He then massaged my head with an exfoliation scrub before rinsing my hair. Next up was yet another massage, this time with a hydrating mask worked into my hair, along with a relaxing shoulder rub using essential oils; I peacefully drifted in and out of consciousness. After a final wash and an application of toning treatment, it was time for my “closing massage” – yes, another!

By the time Derek pulled out the high-tech gadget for a final inspection of my hair, we could already see that my scalp’s surface was less flaky and dry, and that my hair cuticles were no longer blocked. I was immediately on my way to a healthier head.

Final verdict:
Though this was only the first of eight treatments, I could already feel a difference in my scalp. I left feeling rejuvenated and looking forward to my next treatment.

Price:
$1,988 for eight treatments over three months.

Toni & Guy, 35 Rochester Drive #02-01, 6684 9338

 

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