Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Hair Perming Experience in Seoul

All wired up for perming!

I used to have a soft, curly hair when I was young...until my nanny decide to chop them off! I was 6 when my hair transformed to Moe in The Three Stooges! From then on, my locks become straight and blah for years to come. Come to think about it, I couldn't blame 100% on that incident since my sisters have straight hair too! LOL!

Don't you just love this?

Looking at most K-Pop girls with their mild and soft curls, I gotta say, I want one of those (back)! I could just grab my hair curler or use the paper curling technique, but who got the time! Normal perm at a proper professional salon would cost around RM200 - 300, or could be more. Then there's Groupon discount that offers perming for less than RM100, but I wouldn't risk having my hair messed up on some unknown hair salon.

So...what a girl to do in Seoul beside shopping and sightseeing? Do what every women do in Korea? 

Get your hair done, honey!

10,000 won (RM 27) for a bag.
Any bags from man-bag, handbag, purse, backpacks...
This bag place is just next to the hair salon I went to.

One day, I decided to travel alone to Ewha Women Univ station after hearing many feedbacks that this is the place where students usually shop (aka thrift shopping).  As I hopped out the subway, I could see massive amount of clothing shops and more shop stretches to one end to another. Everything from men and women clothing, 10,000 won (RM 27) worth of bags, wedding clothes and cosmetics are here. After going around the shopping districts in Dongdaemun, Namdaemun, Itaewon, Myeongdong and even Hongdae, nothing beats the quality and price you will get at Ewha. Will explain to you more on price guide while shopping in Seoul soon.

40,000 krw for Perming at Soonsu salon at Ewha. That's only RM 110.

So here's the golden question? How in the world to communicate with the local hair stylist when you only know some basic Hangul/Korean language? This happens to me and I gotta tell you I am still laughing at this incident as I'm tapping my keyboard...

Another interesting salon in Ewha called Orang Hair.
I have no idea how much perming would cost at this nifty place.

You just have to get creative with what you know and if that's not enough, use hand gestures. Its always easy if you can ask them for a hair menu or magazines. In which case, they have presented me with a folder of permed Korean hair. Ooohh, goodie!

There was a time of 'lost in translation' where he showed me two different hair rods as he utter things in Korean which I assume its how. With the aid of the hair menu, its all in the pointing. I still have a few Korean language app on my iPhone, so that also helps me to communicate. These are the most spoken words I have used to assist the hair stylist. 

Iko: This one or 'Ne' for Yes
Used this to point to what hair you prefer. I pointed at the 'out of bed', soft curls figures.

Anniyo: No
Used this to point out which hair you don't prefer. I pointed to the ones where the hair curls get a bit too 80's for my style, where the curls is too tight and curly. Don't worry about your hair looking like a poodle at first...in long term, the curls will tame down eventually. 

The end result - SATISFYING!
Hair perm works more effectively if your hair has not been chemically treated yet.
In the other words, perming first, color later!

The hair stylist also showed me some tips on how to blow dry my hair. He showed me by curling the strands of my hair with his index fingers and roll inwards as I blow dry them. He did that over and over again, from left to right side of my hair. He was speaking Korean the whole time, but I knew what he's trying to show me. Just nod and say 'ne' (yes) or 'ihae haesseoyo' (I understand).

Guess how long the perming takes time? About 3 hours! Thankfully I got myself a bubble tea before hand and most of the hair salon in Seoul will have at least some coffee vending machine somewhere.

This is where the magic begins at Soonsu .
Here is the Foursquare link to the salon.

Now, two months later.

How's my perm behaving these days?
Its been more than two months since the perm and with on and off attention to my hair. Best way to keep it bouncy and healthy is to limit the use of harsh chemicals and only use products that are meant for perm or chemically treated hair and just let it fly. I would say my soft curls has its ups and downs. Since I opt for a mild curl, chances that the curl will easily died down a lil faster than those who made their curl more tighter aka Nicole Kidman early hair.  So if you want a long lasting curl (provided if you take good care of them), do choose for a tighter 80's looking curl. It will poodle you up at first, but it will tame down eventually.

Most of the time, I let my hair dry naturally (towel dry) since it creates more wave as it dries out. It is best not to comb out your hair like you do normally after hair wash and instead only do that while you condition your hair in the shower with a wide tooth comb (I use my fingers, haha). 

Summary of permed hair care

1. No to brushing hair. Yes to combing with a wide tooth comb while you condition your hair in the shower. I find that this is the time when my hair shed the most. It sucks to give up brushing for awhile.
2. Only use shampoo and conditioner for perm hair. I am currently using Hairmomatherapy from C. Michael that I just found in Jusco supermarket and can be found in Watson if I'm not mistaken. If I'm mistaken this only retails at RM14 or RM15 per bottle which is quite affordable.
3. Let hair dry naturally or blow dry them using the finger-spiralling technique and give it a shine with hair serum, mousse or those hair spray for curly hair. But best not to use these that often.
4. Only use fabric hairband instead of the elastic ones.

Would love to hear if you have had experience on hair perming and your personal tips to take care of them. I'd love to hear it from you! 
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