Guest Blogger Kate Farr (Sassy’s intrepid hair experimentalist and correspondent) returns to tell us about her new discovery in Causeway Bay!
Whenever you meet someone for the first time in Hong Kong, the conversation will inevitably turn to two questions. The first is ‘where do you buy your clothes?’ and the second is ‘where do you get your hair done?’ For me, the second has proven much more complicated than the first, and I’ve been left high and dry on a few occasions when a stylist leaves town or a salon inexplicably closes without warning. I’ve often been less than satisfied with my cut, colour and the price for either but have returned to a salon because I don’t know where else to go.
Upon realising that my roots were getting beyond ridiculous, I sent an SOS to all my blonde friends to find out where they have their colour done. Although I’m not blonde, lighter shades tend to be the most difficult to get right here in HK, so I reasoned if they were happy, I would probably be ok with my highlighted brunette! I got some useful suggestions back, but most intriguing was The Upper Room in Causeway Bay, partly because it was right next door to my office, and hey, I’m lazy, but also because of the reasonable prices.
The Upper Room is the brainchild of Hong Kong-born, English-trained and super-friendly Ivy Sung. Having worked in large salons in both the UK and HK, Ivy grew tired of what she saw as the ‘production line’ process that most salons adopt. I’ve certainly been in situations where there have been different people washing, colouring and cutting my hair, or where a junior has actually done most of the work, only for the ‘Creative Director’ to add a couple of finishing touches at the end!
Ivy made the decision to set up on her own two years ago and now works from a one-woman salon in a commercial building just behind Times Square. She offers the service that you find in larger salons, but with the benefit of an entirely personal experience. As you are the only client in her salon at any time, you have her undivided attention. This means she is able to offer a very thorough consultation prior to your treatment, taking the time to really understand your requirements. Unusually for Hong Kong, Ivy loves working with blonde hair using Wella products, and gives honest feedback about what will and more importantly, won’t work for a client. Although blonde is her speciality, she is happy to work with all hair types and colours, and has great product knowledge, regularly sourcing new products from professional names in the UK and US that aren’t yet available in Hong Kong.
The salon itself is simple but cozy and offers nice touches like fashion magazines and a TV screen at the chair to watch movies. By keeping overheads low, Ivy is able to offer a cut and finish at $395, a full head of highlights at $995, and regrowth from just $495. Ivy hopes to be able to offer the Brazilian Blow Dry treatment at the Upper Room shortly.
The Upper Room is currently offering all new clients the special price of $550 for a half head, or $750 for a full head of high/lowlights (not including cut), which I think represents a great deal. I will certainly be visiting the Upper Room again, and am really happy to have finally found a reliable and reasonably priced hairdresser who clearly takes great pride in her work.
Kate is a Hong Kong based lifestyle writer and you can contact her at [email protected].