6 December, 2011

Sassy Review: Toni & Guy on Old Bailey Street

6 December, 2011

Having recently moved from the UK to Hong Kong and overwhelmed with all the move-related admin, I must confess that my own personal grooming had fallen to the wayside. OK, being completely honest, I have never been what you would call a particularly “high maintenance” girl. I seem to have translated various hairdressers’ advice to have my haircut every 6 weeks, to mean every 6 months. However, I finally bit the bullet, having decided that my straggly locks were giving people the wrong impression, I booked myself in for a haircut.

Now, Hong Kong has no shortage of hairdressing salons but as we all know, booking an appointment with a hairdresser you have never used before and have no personal recommendations for is akin to handing a child a pair of scissors and seeing how the haircut turns out. So with that in mind, and memories of wonky haircuts and perm like blowdrys weighing heavily on my mind, I decided to go with a brand name that as an English girl I am extremely familiar with and booked myself in with Rita Wong, a senior stylist at Toni & Guy on Old Bailey Street.

The salon environment is clean and stylish with impeccable service. That said, I did go during the daytime on a weekday so can’t vouch for peak periods. I was given a brief consultation by Rita who, despite cautiously eyeing up my dried out, split end infested follicular atrocity, held back judgment and instead politely and enthusiastically suggested the style of cut I should get to repair the damage without losing too much length. Her assured manner and lack of judgement meant that I trusted her entirely. Further discussion revealed that she actually did her training at Toni & Guy, being trained on Western hair. She explained how Western and Asian hair can be quite different to manage and made me realise the importance of choosing a hairdresser who specialises in your hair type – whether they be Western or Asian themselves.

An extremely amenable chap took me to have my hair washed in chairs that were new to me. You essentially lie flat on a softly cushioned day bed style chair. The upside of this unique take on hair-washing chairs is that you don’t strain your neck whilst your head is being pulled down in the opposite direction to its normal stance, but the downside is that the lack of barrier between head and neck allows a few stray drizzles to meander their way down your back. Feeling sufficiently relaxed from the head massage inspired hair wash, I took my seat and sat back whilst Rita worked her magic. Despite seeing myself as quite a sociable person, I tend to freeze up when hairdressers are overbearing or too in your face. But Rita was genuinely friendly, conversational and personable, enhancing the whole experience and making me feel totally at ease without feeling like I was being interviewed! Whilst she didn’t ask me how I would like my hair blow dried – I was intrigued by the hair twirling approach she took to the task. Previously blow drys go one of two ways for me; either I end up looking like a 1950’s throwback with a frizzy, curly do reminiscent of numerous characters from Grease (male and female!) or it is dried so dead straight it could have been ironed to my head. But the result of Rita’s drying was a relaxed wavy look that wasn’t overly manicured yet still retained a hint of glamour.

Overall, as you can see from the before and after pictures, my worries were unfounded and my haircut definitely rates of one of the most successful I have had in a number of years. Rita even avoided the hard sell at the end of the cut and instead of pushing me to come back in 6 weeks, she told me I could definitely leave it longer and simply handed me her card. Her laid back approach, skilful cut and blowdry and personal tips for how I should dry my hair and how to look after it better, mean that this newcomer to Hong Kong may have found herself a new hairdresser.

Jaime’s cut and blow-dry cost HK620 with a Senior Stylist.

Toni & Guy, Upper G/F, 3-5 Old Bailey Street, Soho, Central, Hong Kong, 2533 3833

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