Wednesday, January 14, 2009

$22 Haircut with da works @ Jun Salon (Chinatown, NY)


MULTIMEDIA: $22 'do with the works @ Jun Salon

"It's just hair."

This, from a card-carrying hairdressing salon owner. It's a statement that might freak some cashed-up coiffsters right out, and put others at ease - like me.

After umming and ahhing at spending $65-100+ on a trim in Manhattan I thought, there must be a cheaper, yet choosier, way.

I mean, look at our Asian hair - straight as the highway to hell and in any color you like as long as it's black - what's so hard about that?

I decided to try the well-reviewed-considering (see yelp.com) Jun Salon in Chinatown.

Jun is an unpretentious gal who reminds me of one of my favorite gal cousins. She says she use to do $105+ Uptown cuts before she went cheap'n'choosy - and many of her clients followed her, not minding having to pick their way along the cracked and cabbage-strewn sidewalks of Chinatown for their discount 'do.

There is something twee (we use the word 'daggy' downunder) about China town decor - the surgery-grade fluorescent lighting, hard white tiles, red lanterns and Taiwanese auto mechanic's calendars featuring off-duty Singapore girls ... yet as a Chinese descendent I find it strangely comforting as well.

Be prepared for a super lengthy shampoo and scalp massage. We're talking two different kinds of shiatsu and several sudses - "to relax the hair", said my attendant. Oh my god. Heaven. And to prove it, my movie got an inordinate number of hits on YouTube right after I posted it, from the shampoo kinky brigade. I wrote about this strange phenomenon here.

"What, you never seen Warren Beatty in Shampoo?" chided a friend.

Then followed a full service cut and blow dry ranging anywhere from a trim to a total transformation - all for just $22 ($18 for guy cut).

I've made a project of getting a cheap'n'whatever haircut in every country I visit - a $2 re-style in Peru, a trim in Cuba, a scissoring by an olde school 'dresser complete with those big boofy hairdryers that look like cranial MRI units in Dublin.

Results vary - my last cut was a disaster, and required styling with a brush and hair dryer, things I have no patience or room for when on the road. It was layeres and ended up like hippy dippy mama.

"You need wash and go," said Jun, showing me a bob style that was long at the sides and shorter at the back, exposing, dare I say, a little neck, "to make you look taller," she said.

When I hesitated, she said, "it's just hair. It will grow."

A bit of Zen and the art of pageboy maintenance never went astray ...

Afterwards, you can walk next door for terrific dim sum at Ping's, recommended by the Filipino client in the chair next to me.

What's not to love? Keep up the great work, Jun, by keeping down the great price!

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