They call your hair your crowning glory for a reason - your 'do can make you look younger or older, slenderer or curvier, and even broadcast aspects of your personality. It's no wonder many of us wouldn't trust just any salon with their locks, and would prefer the best salon in Singapore.
Of course, which salon is best really depends on which fits your priorities and needs. Different stylists specialise in different hair types, and some clients want a complete pampering experience from their hair service, whereas others want to get a high-speed makeover so they can hoof it to their next appointment. It can be confusing finding your perfect fit out of the multitude of available choices. And that's why we've assembled a guide to finding the best salon in Singapore - for you.
While some of us go to the hairdressers and just surrender ourselves to their style judgment, others have some idea of how they want to look when stepping out of the salon. Crave a colour change, a perm, straightening, a treatment to increase smoothness and shine, or just a really good cut? Whittle down your salon selection to those which are skilled in the service you are looking for.
Want some cushy curls? Check out our list of best Singapore salons for perms in 2020. It features dependable Korean perm establishments such as The Space Korean Hair Salon @ The Cathay, with its classic K-Drama worthy curls...
Image courtesy of The Space Korean Hair Salon
...Or Koinonia Hair Salon @ Tiong Bahru, which also has stylists skilled in edgier curl styles.
Image courtesy of Koinonia Hair Salon
Your search is simplified if you're as specific with your desires as possible - if you want soft natural colours for example, you might seek out different expert colourists from someone who wanted an audacious anime-style dye job. Japanese establishments like Art Noise Japanese Hair Salon @ Holland Village are generally fantastic at designing subtle, work-friendly colour styles which are also pretty hair-healthy:
Image courtesy of Art Noise Japanese Hair Salon
Meanwhile, the lovely folk at Eri Su Salon @ Bugis are great at whipping up statement colour concoctions, as seen worn by actress Gloria Tan.
While The Fluxus House does some kickass two-tone hair!
Image courtesy of The Fluxus House @ Outram Park
Dreaming of a super-precise, natural, low maintenance cut that will keep its spunky shape for months and months? The super-personalised Izumi Hair Salon @ The Central SOHO might be your pick.
Image courtesy of Izumi Hair Salon
Or would you prefer to rock runway-worthy hair designs? Yann Beyrie Salon has a stunning lookbook ready.
The Beauty Emporium by The Urban Aesthetics is also incredible for personality-filled precision cuts.
Want people who understand and celebrate natural spirals, rather than trying to flatten them out? Ann's Studio @ The Adelphi is the choice of many curly girls.
Image courtesy of Ann's Studio
While it's a given that you want good results, also think about the time you'll be investing to get them. What are non-negotiables when it comes to making your hour(s) at the salon pleasant, so that you don't leave feeling that your day is ruined even if your hair is saved?
Some people want their salon visit to be a well-earned pampering session. In non-pandemic times, Branche Hair Salon @ City Hall offers champagne to customers, as you are served by sharply-dressed staff all in suits or snazzy formal dress. Don't like alcohol? Their bar has also been known to whip up treats like matcha lattes or hand-roasted artisan coffees, though those might keep you from falling asleep on their super plush reclining beds at the hair-wash area. They also offer nail and lash services just next door for a total refresh and revamp.
Mode Studio @ Wheelock Place also has a bar well-stocked with champagne and wines, that even your companions can benefit from while waiting for your 'do to be, well, done.
Image courtesy of Mode Studio
Or maybe a super relaxing hair-wash is what really wins you over? Other than being an incredible stylist, we understand that Ken from Threes Japanese Hair Salon @ Clarke Quay throws a brief to-die-for massage into his hair-wash sessions.
Image courtesy of Threes Japanese Hair Salon
But why stop at head massages? For guests who show up 15 minutes early, Chez Vous Hair Salon @ Ngee Ann City has a relaxation lounge where you can access an oxygen bar, OSIM massage chairs and even self-operated red-light lasers for your scalp.
Image courtesy of Chez Vous Hair Salon
At Walking On Sunshine @ Orchard Gateway, every client gets a free 5-minute shoulder and neck massage and a chicken breast salad box. And if you get your nails done there too, you'll be sitting in a massage chair for the duration of your nail service.
Image courtesy of Walking On Sunshine
Maybe you delight in being surrounded by gorgeous spaces, which also serve as fantastic backdrops to that post-makeover shot. LeeKaJa Korean Beauty Salon @ Mandarin Gallery is a great bet, with its stunning wood and nature-themed surrounds. As a bonus, the integrated venue also offers nail services for a complete beauty day.
Image courtesy of LeeKaJa Korean Beauty Salon
Flamingo Japanese Hair Salon @ Tiong Bahru is also pretty darn lovely.
Image courtesy of Flamingo Japanese Hair Salon
While Do My Hair @ Orchard Central has high ceilings and a stunning full-length view of Orchard Road.
Image courtesy of Do My Hair
Does substandard service get your goat? Japanese Hair Salons are a great bet, since their stylists often provide personalised, one-to-one attention throughout your visit, as opposed to other salons where hairdressers might two or three-time you with other customers, leaving you with hair assistants for long stretches instead. They also pride themselves on omotenashi or super-sincere service.
Perhaps you care most about getting in and out of the salon chair as fast as possible so you can go about your tasks. The Bund @ Ang Mo Kio salon, with its glass walls looking out into a park, may look like the picture of leisure, but has methods of doing super quick perms, so that its customers only need to take just over an hour for their service.
Image courtesy of The Bund
Read more about their speedy, sexy perms here.
Now that you've identified your dream hair experience, it's time to think prices. Even the most delightful beauty retreat loses its charm if it you're distressed immediately after, thinking about how to pay for your other expenses.
Thankfully, there are ways to cut the overall costs - you can slash travel expenses by heading to salons near you instead of in town, for example. If you live in the West, No. 8 Hair Studio near Jurong East MRT is known for their incredible colours and face-contouring cuts.
Image courtesy of No. 8 Hair Studio
Image courtesy of Pro Trim Korean Salon
While Katong is home to the stellar COVO Japanese Hair Salon @ Katong.
Image courtesy of COVO Japanese Hair Salon
Being located out of central Singapore also helps cut down their rental costs. Of course, even those salons in town can be surprisingly affordable. Act Point Salon @ Midpoint Orchard is known for its very reasonable prices, and is possibly the cheapest high quality perm salon in town.
Image courtesy of Act Point Salon
If you consider things like an extensive drinks list and a stunning view to be frills, then you'll be able to find salons that charge less. But keep in mind that paying more for quality cuts, colours and chemical treatments during your visit could save you money in the long term, because you cut down the need for multiple touch-ups. That's why there is a never-ending stream of customers looking for the $175 cuts at Izumi's.
If you'd rather still not shell out so much at a pop, consider refining your hair goals - you had a balayage in mind, but is your ultimate destination just a change in hair colour? A single shade will set you back less than dye designs like Balayage or Airtouch highlights (though make sure to choose or good stylist, or a single colour may require touchups much more regularly). Getting a chemical treatment but happy to go without repairing products like Olaplex? If your stylist examines your hair quality and gives the okay, that's another way to save.
Of course, all this is contingent on your stylist not being out to milk you for everything you've got. You can check out Beauty Undercover's stories about salons that don't upsell, like this article here.
Also look out for bargains with our articles to fit various budgets, such as this one and this one, and our constantly updating list of salon promotions where you can find premium services for a paltry price.
By this point, you've probably identified the salon you'll be going to. The next step is to pick your stylist, since different staff have different proficiencies. The person who is best at rebonding might be different from the one who is best at straightening Keratin treatments, for example, so you want to go with the one who is skilled at your chosen service.
Also, since you'll be spending quite a while with this person, you might want to go for someone whose personality complements yours - if you're not big on casual conversation, look for someone who focuses on the task at hand, but if you'd love someone to shoot the breeze with or who can tell you fascinating stories, look for a chatty, well-travelled one.
And of course, if you expect quite a lot of precision in your request, the stylist's language ability is also important - can they speak your preferred tongue, and are they fluent in it? Articles like this will help you answer that question.
One easy way to find out more about stylists is to go to their salon sites and read up on the stylist profiles. You can also suss out their portfolios to see if you vibe with their styles - hairstylists are artists who leave their personal imprint on each 'do, so it's great to see their overall body of work.
Been reading articles on BU.sg already? While we're careful to only feature the best, most dependable salons, you don't have to just take our word for it - the site also features reviews for each salon by independent, unbiased customers. Google reviews and Facebook are also great resources.
Finally, remember that time spent on salon/stylist research beforehand can save lots of time, money and heartache in the long run, so don't scrimp on this process.
Wishing all of you a Phase 3 free of bad hair days!
Have you chosen a hair salon? Share your experience on BU.sg!