Getting My Hair Done in Thailand

posted in: Asia, Destinations, RTW, Thailand, Travel | 2

In Thailand it an insult to touch a person’s head which is considered the most sacred part of the body. If touching the tresses is so taboo, then going to the hair salon should be an interesting experience.

At home, I go to the hairdresser about every six weeks to get my hair color touched up. When I told my hairdresser at home about my trip she was gracious enough to supply me with the color she uses on my hair. This was a huge relief as that had been a big question mark for me in pre-trip planning. I was hesitant to use a pharmacy hair color kit after spending so many years perfecting the highlights and tone of my hair. Also, there was the question of if I would be able to find a blonde color in Southeast Asia.

At over six weeks on the road I was working up the courage to color my own hair when a change of hotels landed us across from a hair salon. The price list outside listed hair color as 300 Bhat, ~$8 USD, for that price I figured I’ll bring my color in and have a professional apply it.

When I came for my appointment I left my sandals outside of the door as is customary in many Thai businesses. A bit unusual when there is cut hair on the floor to consider but I appeared to be the first customer of the day which was a relief.

I showed the hair dresser my tube of color and showed her a paper showing 2 ounces need to be mixed with 3 ounces of developer. She nodded and smiled and pinned my hair up. I looked back in the mirror to see her squeezing the last bits of the 3.5 ounce tube into a mixing bowl. Maybe she can just put in more developer I told myself.

Next, she mixed the color around and approached me. I then had to try to explain that there was an ingredient missing. I should have brought the developer I had with me but I was trying to preserve my limited supply thinking she would have industrial size dispenser.   She picked up on what I was trying to say and opened some color boxes which had tubes of developer in different volumes. We found the one I needed, she mixed the two together and it was show time.

She started applying the color at the nape of my neck which is opposite of where my hair dresser starts at home but was fortunate for me that day. Fortunate because she didn’t just apply to the root, she pulled it though the whole length of my hair. EEK! This $8 dye job was about to cost me all my highlights. Time to talk again. I mentioned highlights and signaled that I just want it on the roots. The next application, same thing. More hand signals and we came to an understanding, well that was until the end when she twisted all my hair together and pinned it up.

At that point the saran wrap came out. Hmm, this was new but I didn’t want to give this lady any more grief so I let her wrap my head like a mummy. Then I patiently waited to see the results.



-Fingers crossed!-

When the time came to wash out I was ushered over to the sink which was at the end of a padded table like you’d see in a doctor’s office but shorter.   I climbed up and laid down with my head over the sink and knees folded since my legs didn’t fit without hitting the wall. It was actually more comfortable on my neck than the chair and sink I was used to.

She dried and combed out my hair and the color matched, no glaring damages or missing patches. Phew! Now I had to get my bangs trimmed.

She had me make my part and then combed down my bangs. I showed her I wanted them cut right below my eyebrow. It took all of about 10 seconds for her to trim, the length was okay the technique was lacking. She didn’t sculpt the sides or feather, or even address all of my bangs. Best not to press, can’t fix them when they are too short. I thanked her and went back to the hotel room. Lucky for me it didn’t go worse.

I’ve put my Baby Bliss travel size hair dryer into commission to camouflage this bang hack job. I am lucky the color came out acceptable, but then again, I don’t have many mirrors at my disposal to take a 360 degree look. Needless to say, I will be paying a visit to my hairdresser when I get home for some damage control.

Next time I’ll watch some You Tube clips and work up the courage to do my own color. Wish me luck!


2 Responses

  1. Having gotten my haircut in Thailand and highlighted in Spain (which turned me platinum blonde per a loss in translation), I thoroughly enjoyed this post! It’s sort of a terrifying experience and likely to go wrong, but you handled the whole thing quite well. Bravo! If you ever find yourself in Chiang Mai for a haircut, go to New York City Salon just outside the walls!

    • Passport Penguin

      Hi Anne,
      Thanks for reading the post! Glad you can relate to the experience.

      Thanks for the tip. I had to laugh at the name of the salon you suggested…New York City Salon. Just like being home again!


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