Yesterday I went and had my hair cut. I was terrified- I had read through the posts on the no poo community and the way that some of those women got treated for choosing not to use shampoo is quite something. And, there is my eczema. I had bangs before I came to Malaysia though, which I’d grown out and wanted back. I was planning on going to my usual place in the UK when I got back but researched places in Malaysia on a whim one day, and when I stumbled upon this salon and realized I could a fancy cut at a fancy salon for what it would cost in the UK for a very average haircut at a very average place, well, I was sold. I was nervous but at the same time my curiosity won out and I booked an appointment close to when I was going to Japan- so I could look pretty for my holiday!
The place I went to was number76. They are a Japanese salon, tucked in a very strange, hard to find corner of north point in midvalley (before this, I had no idea there was this place called northpoint, which was probably why it was no hard to find for me) I got there about 5:20pm to find my online booking had not gone though but thankfully the salon was quiet and they could fit me in. They gave me a form to fill out with my details and there it was- a place asking for allergies. I took a deep breath and wrote can’t use shampoo. By this point I was a bundle of nerves and was fighting the urge to flee.
The stylist greeted me and asked me how I’d found the place to which I gave an utterly random answer, that did not answer the question in the slightest. At that point I knew that this was going to be very embarrassing. Once I start saying weird things, I cannot stop, only get worse. I stumbled through my explanation for what I wanted- just bangs straight-across and a trim, and some layers. I had toyed with the idea of cutting my hair off in a drastic change, but at the end of the day as much as I think about a mature, easy to manage bob, I long for waist length hair still. He asked about the not using shampoo thing, too and I nervously admitted I had eczema. OK, was what he basically said. Nothing else- just calm acceptance and they readily agreed to just rinse my hair in water. Another girl came and took me to the rows of basins they had. Let me confess- I’ve never had my hair washed at a salon. Seriously. This was the first time going to the hair dresser in about 4 years, and the first time ever going to a place this nice. I sat down where I was told and awkwardly arranged myself with lots of guidance, nervous as hell and feeling completely like a fish out of water. The girl followed through- rinsing my hair with hot water and massaging my scalp. Just that. it was…nice. I took note of what she was doing, as I’ve often wondered what the best technique is for no poo water only- I think after this that I may be too rough with my fingers when I scritch or whatever you call washing your hair with no shampoo. After that my hair was gently wrapped in a towel and I was led back to the chair, still in a nervous daze, with no real clue of what was coming next.
Next was, of course the cut. The stylist started, then announced he was going to give me a fancy scalp treatment for free- and this was the only time I felt a bit embarrassed about the no poo thing, as I think he did this as he did not think my hair was clean. Nonetheless, I got a RM50 treatment for free, so I cannot really complain. It was a pretty cool treatment- no chemicals, just using carbonated water to clean my hair in the same fashion as when they were rinsing it before. Midway he showed me some of the water with all the gunk floating on top- gross, but fascinating. Then it was back to the chair where he rubbed some product in my scalp, with my permission, to replace whatever was lost in the treatment (I think). Before blow drying my hair.
He asked me if I blow dried my hair and I had to admit, never. This was the only point he gave me any advice or pushed for anything and it was not a product or anything, just the friendly comment that I should consider blow drying my hair more. And I contemplated it, too. As it felt really nice. Again, I noted what they were doing, filing it away if I ever do get a blow dryer. I was really finding it all quite fascinating. Then he started to cut again. I could not help but stare at my hair and remark “it looks like its been shampooed” Absolutely amazed. Because my hair was squeaky clean, glossy and smooth but without using chemicals, and well, my scalp felt great too. He told me that you can actually do this at home using pure carbonated water, and mimed something to do with using a basin too. As I live alone next year I think I can play around with trying to do just that. I also need to look into the product he used to and see if it salon only, or if I can pick it up in Japan. Sometime during the past however long I had been there my scalp, which had been freaking out for some reason (mostly stress) had actually stopped itching, with only a little tingling here and there. I hadn’t felt itch free for so long in years. It will be a little annoying if after various medicines, shampoos, herbs, teas, essential oils and what not its freaking carbonated water that works with my eczema but hey, as long as it works. I hope I can make it work at home.
Anyway,soon he was finished and then this was where it got weird- he wanted photos. I was already in a state of heightened anxiety and I’m fairly sure none of them are good pictures- but he spent some time arranging my hair so it was just so, and that’s all that matters.
Overall it was a very awkward experience, I felt slightly embarrassed and very self conscious throughout, but the results are amazing. I came back and popped by my friend and she was so amazed at the results, that she is thinking of going herself! The cut is not drastic, I think even the stylist was surprised at my simple request, but I was not going for a drastic cut, I was going for the experience. Because I was curious, really. And the results are more than I was expecting. (To be honest, all I was expecting they would refuse to cut it or force me to shampoo…) my hair looks beautiful now- it has such a different, interesting texture to it and I love having bangs again. And I loved the whole professional salon experience. Yes, I felt awkward but I also felt really pampered and grown up. I mostly really appreciated how, faced with a shy, awkward girl who does not use shampoo and has eczema even, the stylist remained friendly and professional. It helped me to relax, if only just a little. (The awkward small talk kept me from relaxing fully, as indeed, I kept saying strange things and coming across as a wierdo. Yes, my embarrassment came more from knowing I was making a terrible impression when the stylist was being so nice more than anything else)
Today my hair still looks amazing, and I still love having bangs. And my scalp still feels amazing- it’s an incredible feeling not to be itchy. Well, not as itchy. (Yes, there is a difference between itchy and itchy) I’m so glad I gathered courage and went for it. It’s a pity I’ll probably never be able to go there again.
(I hope it is obvious that this is not paid/sponsered…)