I've always trusted the very salon that I've been faithful to for so many years, introducing so many people and even creating some level of awareness for their stylist to the public. Something that has been painstakingly built up has just been crushed in just one simple event that left my tresses in ruin (once again).
Blame it on my nature to explore possibilities of great heights into hair technology as the culprit to my damaged hair. It's not the worst that I ever gotten but it's one hell of an ugly hair. The so call air wave perm (to be launched soon) was said to have some high tech machine that causes less damage in a perm, giving you the bouncy set curls that every girl dreams about. (My Foot!) I felt cheated by the claims and I have stated my reasons to the mgmt that I was fully aware of perms being dry but there was no excuse to have limp, lifeless hair with literally zero curls at all. It was a horrid mess when I left the salon and the silence that the stylist gave me after the hair was toweled dry.. well.. I pretty much got the response or reaction about the failed result. She was blabbering to her other stylist about how they should position the curl to create the directions, etc. It all sounded convincing and I could not say there was no truth to her words but somehow at the end of it all, she was just quiet about how bad it turned out.
I emailed the mgmt about the matter and we were still exchanging emails on a daily basis before the incident. Somehow, it so happened that there no longer was a response from the very same "spontaneous" mail address. No acknowledgement, no replies and no advice on how I should deal with the mess they left me with - not to mention any form of compensation. Right! It was free and I supposed they might have felt that I should suck up to that.. Yeah! H*ll no! So I shall publicise this out on my blog to share my experience (since I've always have shared my experiences on the forum about hair services) to those who are not aware of it.
Air wave perm as some may call it has been available in Japan and the pictures of the perm looked very much like the ones we see on the Jap magazines. This is similar to the Japanese perm that has been around for quite a long time. These are classified as cold perms. As you can see in the picture, there is a machine used in the process and I mistakenly thought that it was a hot perm. Digital perm (the one with the alien looking machine filled with wires) is a hot perm.. the one that has so far created Japanese bouncy curls similar to the ones you see on the magazines. I never had problems with digital perm and I totally love it to bits.
As I sat at the chair, I asked the stylist what the difference and she told me that digital perm was more damaged due to the heat and the new perm was able to produce bouncy set curls through the help of the machine. With her 15 years of experience and M (as I shall call her, a mgmt within the "L" group) recommendation won me over. Not to mention, even when once my hair went wrong - they rectified it well. It is this commitment to a customer that has left me loyal and worthy of my trust.
Gorgeous? Yes? Do you want it? Who doesn't? I share that very same desire of wanting that curl and I can only warn you that in no way can you get it through a cold perm.
As the process started, I was amazed at how friendly the staff was with Miss C (stylist and manager of the branch). Maybe it was the neighbourhood feeling that draws a different sense of atmosphere to the salon. I was always in the Marina Sq branch where the stylist were friendly but a certain level of seniority was respected from the juniors within the salon. However, the juniors in the HDB branch was constantly "suaning" aka disturbing the manager in an attempt of pure fun and what followed, initially felt funny but soon turned skeptical.
Incident 1, the manager (Miss C) started mentioning about a stylist who challenged her into some difficult task. The conversation went on and she constantly told them that it was ok to challenge her and she was up to it. Sounds harmless, yes? I thought so too. It was nice to know that the stylist was up to challenges and we all know that it was how we could learn new things and surpass our abilities.
After a few hours later, a certain young girl and her mum entered the salon hoping to have her haircut. The younger stylist approached her to assist her and I heard the girl asking to see some hair pictures to decide on the haircut. After some discussion, the young stylist came by to the manager who was still busy with my hair to ask her about the haircut she wanted. Inbetween the conversation, I sort of got the idea that he wanted the manager to handle her but she was busy. So, she suggested another stylist to do it instead. Still don't see anything wrong with it, right? That was when my bells triggered and she suddenly made a comment in chinese loud enough for the people around us to hear.
Young stylist, "她要這個髮型，可是要更女性化一點。”
Miss M, "叫她去陣容現再說啦！”
At this point, I smiled but felt taken aback from her impolite comment. It never came across her mind that non-chinese could sometimes understand chinese.
Miss M, "叫她拿照片來啊。等一下剪錯了怎麼辦？”
(other racist jokes were shared but I shall not mentioned it as it would be too obvious already)
I had to agree that sometimes it was hard to imagine what the customer wanted but I think she could have explained it nicely to the customer and not to put it in such sacastical tones. The girl was only a secondary school girl who wanted to have a change of hairstyle and the stylist should have been more professional about her job integrity. I bet that when I left with that ugly hair, they probably might have discussed amongst themselves about it and mentioned that it was my fault to be perming my hair since it was dry to begin with.
Maybe it is hard for the so call "professionals" to willingly admit their mistakes and find ways to rectify the problem. Somehow they do not mind letting their customers leave the salon with ugly hair that was done with their very own hands.
Incident 2, the phrase about her being challenged was constantly brought up and even as they pushed her to serve the non-chinese customer, she was still feeling proud in taking up that challenge to meet her so call demands. It was only later she told me and another customer, "他門啊。換一毛，要一萬的服務。” I cannot clearly state the detail to that phrase but I shall summarise it for those who do not understand. She was passing a racist remark about how certain race groups have that sort of mentality and often it was hard to please them for the peanut prices paid. I would not agree on that as I always believed that the true service professionals were those who could handle all sorts of customers. Even if you were not able to fulfill her requests, you should still show your sincerity and integrity towards your work.
Ok, I side tracked a little.. back to what I wanted to state was the young stylist were not technically challenging her. I started to have this gut feeling that they were pushing all the tough clients to her so they could easily whiz pass the not so demanding customers. Yet, I could not believe that Miss M was openly encouraging them to do so and still felt proud that she could handle it. Sadly, that made me ponder onto the next point.
Incident 3, talk is cheap.. She talked with so much confidence and experience. No doubt she might have them but sadly, through the way she dealed with the last customer and my terrible tresses - I knew she was all talk but no action. Once a customer's hair was damaged, she only quietly touched my hair. Even as she styled, I could see her loosening it without much difference no matter how hard she tried.
As I started testing the stylist with questions, I realised their incapabilities. I mentioned to her that my hair colour faded quite a bit with the chemicals from the perm. (it's common knowledge for that to happen...) She brushed it off and said that my hair was light to begin with.. Yes it was light but it was in a chestnut brown shade. At the end of it all, the hair was clearly blonde...
Following that, the young stylist as he was undoing my hair. He still said that he could see that the curl would turn out looking really pretty. How? He then proceed to try to explain why. He took up a bundle of the wet permed hair and twirled it round. It was crazy.. Firstly, there was still perm lotion on it and by doing that action, the lotion got onto my face. Secondly, when you twirl a bundle of wet hair in a circular motion, what are the chances of it creating a round circular shape? 101%. After he twirled, he said that was how I could tell if the curl would turn out nice or not. -.-"'
Incident 4, the last straw was when Miss C remained quiet throughout the time she tried to style my hair and she kept trying to loosen the hair when it was already done. Sadly, no matter how hard she tried, the hair was horrendous.
I would love to quote what my regular stylist said after I sent him the mms, "damn ugly!". It is such honesty that I loved going to him for years but Miss C, clearly did not bother if I am returning or not.
She finished styling and told me to wait for the junior staff to take the finish picture for me. Then she went to another customer and left me alone. Nothing about how I should care for the perm, how I should style it.. zero.. no word of advice whatsoever. Maybe it was so horrid that she just wanted to get away from it. I was quite embarassed to be seen in that hair as customers in the store took notice of it. I knew it was not a style to be proudly flaunting around in the store. So, all I could do was to quickly proceed onto the photo taking.. making it look like as if it was some strange hairdo to be done for a hair show, all the while hoping people would not think that I actually wanted it. The road out of the salon was painstaking as I walked lightening fast to the nearest toilet. The short 1 minute walk felt like the worse path I've walked through and without any hesitation, I bun it up with my small little claw clip that I used for my fringe earlier.
Lastly, I can only openly declare to them that I shall no longer trust your brand but only the person who has showed me honesty and professionalism throughout the years (well at least till he screws my hair up, LOL!). It's not the end of the world and yes I have a wedding in a couple of months but I'm more concern about the present hair condition. I'm not a firm believer that short hair girls can't have fun in their wedding hairstyles. Since my hair was quite long, I could afford to cut off a bit of it. the stylist chopped off like 2 inches instead of the so call little bit. I hate her for that.. oh and it was weird for her to actually cut my end straight (horizontally straight!). I have no idea what she was thinking when she did not and it was ugly for perm hair to have straight ends.
Anyway, I'll be working hard to get it back in shape and hopefully I could let down my hair soon (again). It's so bad that I resort to bunning up my hair everyday.. including my fringe coz she went to perm my fringe and I soon realised that it went in the right direction as she blowed it that way.
It's ok, I shall get it work out fine. :) Nothing is too hard for me! To C, this is what you call a CHALLENGE. tsk tsk!