I’m a blonde (I mean my hair color!). At least I used to be. By now, my blonde needs a little bit of maintenance, if you understand, and also some highlights to lighten up the mutt color. No big deal, right? That’s what I thought.
Hit and miss of coloring hair in Beijing
After I ran out of the do-it-yourself hair color that I brought from the US, I asked around a bit, chatting up blonde women in the age group that may have their hair dyed, and came away with a few recommendations. One was in my price range and an expat area I knew well enough.
At the salon, they spoke very little English but used the French brand Wella. My first experience there went without a hitch. The refreshed blonde came out like I wanted it. When I went back again I few weeks later I was confident. Boy, was I wrong!
When the hair dye was washed out, my hair looking yellowish white! Panic! I called for the attention of a more senior looking and acting hair stylist, who sprung to action right away. Apparently he shared my panicked reaction. He had a new color mixed and put on my head immediately, with two people working furiously.
After this second color was washed out, my hair was not yellowish anymore. Thank goodness! Now it was more like an ash blonde. Not quite what I wanted but much better than before. During the whole experience I didn’t know if I should laugh or cry.
They took great care blow drying my hear and apologizing about the mishap. I still had to pay for the coloring but they told me that the “blowjob” was free. Now I couldn’t help but laugh!
Thankfully a friend was traveling to the US and brought me my usual DIY color from there. Now I’m back to my normal blonde.
So how do you avoid an hair color nightmare like this in Beijing?
Besides bringing a big supply of do-it-yourself color from your home country, you have a few other options for getting your hair dyed in Beijing.
Two salons with great reputation among westerners for cut and color are Catherine de France and Z Hairdressing (Scarlet). They are in the same stretch of Xindong Lu in Sanlitun. Both Catherine and Scarlet are European and blonde. They and their staff know what they are doing but these skills come with a price. Expect to pay around 1,000 RMB for cut and blow-dry, around 600 for color. (They often have specials going on, so you may get it a bit cheaper.) I can only recommend them by hearsay, not from my own experience. It’s just not my price range.
For cheaper options, look in the Russian area around Ritan and Chaoyangmen. There are some hair salons that target the Russian clientele, so they are also used to working with blonde hair. I went to a guy called David, who speaks fluent Russian and pretty good English. He gave me a great haircut including blow-dry for 100 RMB. I didn’t do color there, but I heard from a gorgeous blonde Russian woman who does. I’d probably go to him next time I run out of my own stuff.
If you have your own stories or recommendations to share, or want contact info for any of the salons I mentioned, please leave a comment.
PS: I take no responsibility if you try out one of the places I mention and are not happy with the result. I know women who never are 😉