For a more updated blog post about this topic please visit www.jasonryanteacher.com and check out Where can I get a good hair cut in Seoul with foreign friendly, English speaking, western-style customer service? Hair & Joy (Honggik University Station, Exit #8)
Julianne and I went to Hongdae, Seoul this afternoon to get her hair cut. The last time Julianne got her hair cut it was a little nerve-wracking because we chose a small Korean hairstyling shop in Chuncheon, Gangwon province, and had to hope they wouldn’t do anything too extreme because neither the hairstylists, nor Julianne and I, could communicate much with each other.
A little while ago Julianne was walking around Changdeok Palace and a Korean handed her a magazine called “Maps and Guides” that has maps, lists of shops, touristy places, and other things for foreigners visiting and living in Korea. It’s probably the best info/map/tourist source I’ve ever seen on paper in Korea. In the magazine it recommended Hair & Joy as a good place for foreigners to get their hair cut and styled.
It looks like Seoul Selection produced the magazine, and if so they did an amazing job!
We decided to check Hair & Joy out. Julianne called the phone number in the magazine (02-363-4253) to see if she needed an appointment. The Korean who answered the phone could speak English, and Julianne made an appointment very easily. Not something that happens often in Korea–wow.
We arrived at Honggik University Station and went out Exit #8. UPDATE: Apologies for having the wrong exit here!
The map from the magazine was dead on the money, and after turning right at the side street immediately outside the exit we walked about 20 feet and then turned left. There was a small Y-intersection, and at first we weren’t sure where to go, but after seeing the mildly amusing Dokdo Tuna bar, we saw that the hair salon was to the left and about 50 feet away.
The entrance leading up to the salon is to the left of this coffee shop, once inside the doors turn left, and go up to the 2nd floor.
Walking into the hair salon we were greeted by a friendly Korean who spoke English. We asked if it was a problem that Julianne was 30 minutes early–no problem, and then they immediately offered to take Julianne’s coat for her–wow.
I was ushered over to a waiting area with nice modern looking plastic chairs and some couches. There was also a table with a computer and Internet access for people waiting for appointments to use (and in my case the boyfriend waiting while the girlfriend gets her hair cut–never a fun thing to do).
About 10 seconds after I sat down an assistant asked me if I’d like something to drink. I declined, but again was impressed.
About 3 minutes later I was asked again, and this time I accepted. Some of the choices were green tea, coffee, and orange juice. I chose orange juice. Oh yeah, and it was free.
Julianne got her hair washed in a clean and pleasant looking washing area, and the stylist then moved her over to a cutting station–also clean.
As I wrote my blog I kept walking over and snapping pictures, and checking that Julianne was happy and that the hairstylist hadn’t somehow decided Julianne needed a Sinead O’Connor cut.
The two girls working with Julianne were very friendly and also spoke English. Julianne asked me to show them exactly how much she wanted cut off the length of her hair. I think this was overkill in terms of explaining to the hairstylist what she wanted but we both still wanted to make sure everything was clear. Having seen how good the stylists were with all the other foreigners getting haircuts I’d say the next visit we’ll be much more relaxed.
The general atmosphere of the salon is extremely western English culture friendly, and they truly understand western cultural hospitality and customer service. Soft jazz and instrumental music play at a nice volume in the background, and all of the staff were comfortable interacting with foreign clients–male and female.
I strongly recommend any foreigners visiting Korea and/or living and working here to visit Hair & Joy if they need their hair taken care of by professionals who speak English and understand western culture customer service standards.
Oh, and the cost for a hair cut? 30,000won for a wash, cut and styling (for Julianne, I forgot to ask if it’s different for guys, sorry). Julianne asked about dyeing and was told it starts at 75,000won and depending on length and other factors it can increase slightly.
Go check it out.