It can be a daunting task to find a great cut, colour or treatment in a new home country, and a stylist that understands Singapore’s climate and the nuances of cutting Caucasian hair! So when we heard the team at Salon Kream were expat hair specialists, we decided to visit their bright, spacious salon at Holland Village and find out just how good they were for ourselves. Five EL staffers report back…
Katie Roberts, Editor, Life and Family
Problem: Neglected, dry hair
Daily swimming is great for my body, but not so much for my hair. I’ve never gotten around to applying conditioner before my swim, so my hair was quite dry and damaged and in desperate need of deep conditioning. It had also been seven weeks since my last cut, and my normally sleek bob was looking shabby.
Solution: A Kérastase strengthening treatment and moisturising mask (from $108) and a cut ($138 for Daven, price differs according to stylist).
After a consultation about my hair woes it was time for a thorough wash and a quick blow dry. My hair technician Tasha applied a moisturising ampoule from the Kérastase Fusio-Dose range, designed to condition and strengthen dry hair. She is an expert at mixing and matching different ampoules to suit different hair problems and says the Keratin mixture is very popular in this humid climate.
Once that was rinsed off, Daven Lau, International Director and stylist cut my hair loosely incorporating a graduated concave shape at the back, which was subtle, but stylish. For the last step Tasha applied a satisfyingly thick Kérastase moisturising mask and put a steamer device over my hair for 30 minutes, which delivered micro-mist (droplets smaller than regular steam) to aid absorption. Thanks to iPads fully loaded with current magazine issues, the time whizzed by. After washing the mask off Daven blow-dried my hair and put the finishing touches to the cut – confidentially sorted out my wispy fringe.
Verdict: My hair was visibly smoother, shinier and softer to touch. Keeping in mind my busy lifestyle and aversion to fuss, Daven recommended the application of a Kérastase mask at home on a weekly basis, which would maintain the shine and soft texture. I walked out of Kream after almost two hours feeling very happy with my chic cut and healthy, conditioned hair.
Karin Galley, Sales Manager
Problem: Thick, unruly hair that’s also damaged from heat styling
I have wavy, thick hair, which is difficult to tame. It’s impossible for me to air dry it and I use a lot of heating products to try and control the volume and frizz. All the blow drying on top of regular highlights has caused considerable distress for my hair over time. It was extremely dry when I came to Kream and dark roots were showing through.
Solution: Half head highlights with Olaplex ($200), Kérastase KeraTheraphy 2-Step Hair Repair Treatment ($203)
I first met Daven when he was working at another salon and I knew that I was in safe hands. He is an amazing artist and really helps you to find the best solution for your hair problems. Daven recommended a 2-Step Hair Repair Treatment by Kérastase that would work with the natural texture of my hair and make it softer and more manageable. To brighten up my highlights he suggested using a combination of darker and lighter shades to create a more natural look. He explained that bleach can be very taxing for the hair, and to minimise the damage, a conditioning treatment Olaplex was added to the colour mixture.
After my colour was rinsed out, it was time for the treatment. The first step was a protein mask, which helps to smooth the hair and is activated through warm steam. Step two is a hair mask that simultaneously repairs and strengthens the hair. Afterwards, I enjoyed a relaxing wash with a lovely head massage. The blowout that followed was an experience: every strand of my thick hair cajoled into bouncy, soft waves.
Verdict: My hair feels more healthy and moisturised now, and because of that it looks smooth, shiny and sleek. I am happy with the highlights, which look natural and have revived my overall colour beautifully. Oh and the blowout was simply amazing – maybe the best I have had in Singapore.
Emily Finch, Online Editor
Problem: Dry, unruly, over-processed hair, in need of some serious TLC
Years of highlights and my addiction to the weekly blow-dry, has left my locks pretty damaged. Every so often, I feel the need to get serious with my mane and put it through some intense repair work.
Solution: A combination of KeraTherapy and Discipline treatments under the Salon’s Signature range (from $188, depending on the length of hair
Recommended by Eric, senior stylist and manager of the salon, these would attempt to repair damage from years of colour processing and also tame the frizz factor. Eric talked me through the process: they only use Kérastase products here, which was reassuring. They’re part of my regular hair routine and they really do make a difference. It took two stylists (the shame!) to plough through my hair and prepare it to ‘take’ the treatment that followed.
The hair wash – by Eric’s assistant, again using Kérastase products throughout –was the most relaxing one I’ve had in a long time. Experienced fingers kneaded my scalp until I almost dozed off and it’s all part of the package!
Sipping on my ginger tea (I was offered an array of refreshments on arrival) the team applied treatment in sections, before wrapping it in cling film and putting me under the steamer for half an hour.
A few ginger teas later, my hair was unwrapped, combed through again and the treatment gently rinsed off. The blow dry that followed was finished with a few drops of Moroccan Oil to control frizz.
Verdict: I was super impressed with the results and a week later, the condition is still obvious and my hair feels so much healthier. Eric also educated me on the importance of regularly brushing my hair: Brushing stimulates hair follicle growth and allows room for new hair to grow properly. This is especially helpful when you’re in your 30s and age-related hair loss can start to rear its ugly head. I will now be brushing morning and night, just like my mother taught me to!
Rebecca Bisset, Editor in Chief
Problem: Fine, curly hair, prone to frizz and in need of a cut.
I had had a protein treatment about five months ago, but the effects were wearing off. My hair was definitely easier to maintain after the treatment – much easier to blow dry and stayed neater for longer – and I was looking for a similar treatment and results. I also needed a good inch of the length that was thin and straggly taken off, but needed it block cut instead of layered or point cut, which can make it look even finer and thinner.
Solution: The Tibolli Keratin range (between $350 to $480 depending on length), and a haircut by Eric ($88)
I was very impressed that Eric was used to cutting curly hair, and his technique was a slight layering but block cut. The treatment included ten minutes with your head in the basin while they use the Tibolli Craving Clean shampoo to wash your hair and remove any build up, followed by the Tibolli Keratin Treatment that gets left on your hair for 30 minutes. After the wash out, your hair is dried and flat ironed.
If you’ve got a wash and wear routine this treatment won’t do a huge amount to settle frizz – and it definitely relaxed the curl – which I didn’t really want. But when you blow-dry it, it stays ‘done’ for days – almost as if Singapore didn’t have any humidity to ruin the style.
If you have coloured hair like mine, the process does strip some of the colour from highlights and I am now a bit yellow. They suggest using Kérastase Discipline Bain Fluidealiste shampoo and conditioner that don’t contain any sulphates and will prolong the effect of the treatments. I am also to avoid any purple shampoos for a while.
Verdict: Two weeks into the treatment, I am much happier with the results than I was initially – it has settled and my hair doesn’t feel as dry. I think this treatment is better if your hair is thicker – it may have been a bit strong for my fine hair.
Katie Peace, Project Manager, Expat Living
Problem: Dry, frizzy hair with roots that needed touching up
I regularly get blond highlights, which dry out my hair and thanks to Singapore’s soaring humidity, my hair is prone to frizz. My brown roots were also showing through so I was hoping to have them touched up as well.
Solution: A full head of blond highlights and natural lowlights ($240), a cut and blowdry ($138) and their Kerastase Signature Services to deal with the dryness ($203 for mid-length hair).
My session started with the highlights. The stylist began applying colour while I browsed the Internet on the iPad provided – a great way to pass the time. Heat was then applied with a hair dryer to speed up the highlighting process – something I appreciate since as a mum of two, my time is like gold dust!
After washing the excess colour from my hair, they applied the Kérastase Signature Services. Comprising the Bain Satin 2 + Vita Cement + Booster + Oleo Fusion + Masque Discipline + Thermique Leave-in, its job was to moisturise and tame my unruly locks. The products were massaged into and combed through my hair and then plastic wrapped, before steam was applied. The whole process didn’t take long and I was soon getting my hair washed and ready for my cut and blow dry.
Verdict: The cut was quick and helped refresh my blunt lob and the blow-dry was expertly done, leaving my hair bouncy and soft. My hair felt and looked gorgeous and light after my visit and was silky-smooth from the moisturising treatment.
Salon image credit: Kevin Wong