No, it’s not what you’re thinking… this post is not about where to go in Singapore or what to see, but rather, this post is truly about having highlights done in Singapore and why I won’t be having them done here ever again. I knew that this day would come sooner or later, but I was not prepared for what the outcome would be.
I typically do my hair every 3 months. Finding a reliable hair dresser is never a fun feat. So when it came time to do my hair in Singapore, I knew that some research would need to be done… and that’s what I did. I searched high and low all throughout this tiny island, simply looking for someone who would specialize in doing “Expat’s hair”, as that’s what having light hair is referred to here. After about a week of researching on the internet, I narrowed it down to 3 salons based on the following few things: 1) they have a decent looking website that is in English, 2) have writing somewhere that says “specializing in Expat hair”, 3) 1 or 2 reviews from fellow Expats. Finally, I decided on one.
I made an appointment and then trekked over to them. The place was about an hour and a half from my house on the bus… but hey, not to worry, I will be leaving there with beautiful hair! (sure)
Once I got off the bus, I began my additional 25 minute walking trek to the place, as they are at the end of the hill… mind you, this must have been one of the hottest days in Singapore. Drenched in sweat, I arrived at the main gate.
At first glance, it did not look like a hair salon… mainly because it wasn’t. As it turns out, the salon shares the lot with one of the International schools. So, you literally have to walk through the school, see all the kids, and then get to the very end of the school yard to where the cafeteria is, pass that, and then you see a tiny little building. That’s the salon! This should have been my first indication that this was not going to end up with a happy ending.
Greeting me at the door were two cats (yes random, but apparently the salon has 2 cats). I walked in and there were about 5 salon chairs and not one Expat or local there! I was the only one in this salon with the 5 hair dressers. Again, this should have been a sign. But, I was so excited to do my hair, I was so in need of doing my hair, and I had just spent about 2 hours getting there, so doing my hair was what I was determined to do!
Soon, one of the hairdressers came over. He looked at my hair, made some comments, and asked me what I wanted to do to it. I told him, “please make my hair lighter, it’s the summer, so I’d like to go as light as possible”. He then quoted me an outrageous price (like double what I pay in the states). I argued a bit and he lowered it, but just by a tiny bit. (I guess I was having to pay for the other 4 hairdresser’s salaries that day). Then, he got started.
I grabbed a few magazines and tried to relax. As he was going through the process of highlighting my hair, I noticed a few things that did not seem right… like, the fact that he was only putting tinfoil on the top of my hair. I started to freak out a little bit, but I told myself to relax and get out of my head. “This must be the way they do it in Singapore”, I thought.
After about 3 hours of this process, he was finally finished. He washed my hair and that’s when I first noticed! My hair was the weirdest color I have ever seen… like you know the color that cockroaches have…like a brownish/yellowish.. that was my hair color!! Not to mention, only the top portion of my hair that had this color! My hair was like a flag.. it started out one color on the top, then it was another color in the middle, and lastly another color at the tips! Unhappily, I paid and tried to hold back my tears. He then proceeded to ask me “so do you like it”. “Oh buddy, you should not have asked”, I thought to myself. “actually it is not what I asked for”, I told him. “what do you mean”, he asked with a very dumbfounded face. “well, I asked to make my hair lighter and it’s actually darker than it was when I came in”, I told him.
He then smiled and told me, “It looks great… it’s actually a new style called Hombre. I did Hombre on you without even meaning to. It was a mistake but it looks great! Next time I can use bleach if you like to go lighter”.
I seriously was lost for comments… hombre? next time? mistake? looks great?
I literally wanted to run out of that place, as fast as I could, and that’s what I did. Then, I had to think about the 2 hours trek it would take me to get back home…no way! I called a taxi, which made this hair experience even more expensive and I went home to cry.
Lesson learned: do not trust a hair dresser in Singapore.
Now, after this experience, the more I look around, the more I notice that blonde hair is really an anomaly here. Living in LA, San Diego, and Miami made me take for granted what having blonde hair is really all about. Now, I will have to wait until I go back to the USA to have someone fix this Hombre mess that I have on my head!