You may have feelings of uncertainty with a potential communication barrier if you don’t know the language. You may be unsure about the skill level of your hair stylist. What about the quality of product? Will they use a brand that makes your hair fall out?
As a long term traveler I’ve gotten my hair done abroad in several countries. I’ve taken my chances in Mexico, Thailand, Vietnam, and in El Salvador.
Has it always been a positive experience? For the most part, yes.
I’ve had my hair re-texturized in Thailand and Mexico. I’ve been satisfied with the results all five times. I can’t stand my curly frizzy hair. Getting my hair straightened professionally simplifies my life and prevents me from having to fuss with my hair when I should be focused on traveling.
I’ve gotten my hair cut twice in Thailand. I’m picky about haircuts generally but it did the trimming job. Nothing drastic so I survived.
I dyed my hair in Vietnam which washed out very quickly. Erica from OverYonderlust also does not recommend getting your hair dyed abroad, especially in bright, runny pink.
I’ve also gotten extensions taken out and re-placed in El Salvador. While it wasn’t the most professional job, it lasted me two months and was good enough for the bargain price. (I had a wedding to attend.)
Not too bad of a success rate!
At home, I’ve gone to a Korean salon to get my hair done for the past twelve years so I’m used to having a bit of a communication barrier holding me back from fully explaining my hair style desires. Accustomed to somewhat of a challenge, I’ve braved the world hair salons and can offer the following tips for girls looking to get their hair done while traveling:
1. Shop around. Ask several salons for pricing and products. It’s also good to have a peek at other customers to see their results.
2. If you’re planning a chemical treatment such as hair rebonding or Japanese straightening (more about this tomorrow) or dying your hair, go the day before and ask them what products they use. Hair salons have always been more than cooperative. Google the product when you get home and determine if it’s a reputable brand.
3. Bring pictures if possible or scope out their magazines to give them a detailed visual about what you want. We would do that at home too right?
4. Search online for customer recommendations. “Hair salons near me in Playa del Carmen” or “Salon websites and recommendations in Bangkok” should at least head you in the right direction. Bigger cities and tourist areas are probably a good place to give a hair treatment a shot. Rush.co.uk has a chain of salons in London. Lisa from We Said Go Travel learned the hard way and says her hair experience in the middle of Mongolia wasn’t the best.
5. Take a look at the cleanliness of the salon. It’s always a good sign about their professionalism and quality of service.
6. If you would tip your hair stylist at home, tip abroad. Hair stylists still work hard to get the end result you want. 10-20% is always appreciated
7. Have a good time and relax. It’s not very often when we do something girly and non-travel related on the road. Bring a good book or read some magazines. Even if they magazines are in another language you can never go wrong with pretty fashion pictures and beauty products!