Editor’s Note: I went into this review without much thought initially – it was just a haircut after all – however with much introspection I realised what an impact it has made, so bear with me!
It’s not easy to live with problem hair or problem skin. You’d think that by opening like that, I mean that as general, sweeping terms. But those who have known me, knew I had my troubles in the past. Yes, you’d think someone in an Editor’s position is somehow immune from skin or hair woes. But when it comes to being dealt the short straw in genes, if you must know, in my late teens/early twenties I developed adult acne and for some reason, thinning hair.
As a girl, naturally, I’d always loved make-up, skincare, experimenting with my hair, everything. There were those rebel days – dying my hair at 15 and getting sent home from school because who was allowed to have chestnut highlights in any Sekolah Kebangsaan? (Sorry Mum, Dad …) Plus, every girl had the early 2000s Rachel cut, with similar-coloured streaks in their hair.
Then it was the eighteenth birthday which opened up a whole new world – suddenly legal and an adult. Every weekend (well, maybe four times a week) there were plans to hit the clubs so life was about dressing up, making up and heading out with the girls. Then things grinded to a halt – University meant having to think and behave like an adult (sure) and passing law exams seemed insurmountable. Then it hit; the hormonal changes and what came with it: terrible acne and thin hair.
Perhaps it was a combination of all the above – stress, hormonal changes, age, food, genes, I still don’t know for sure (I’ve tried doctors, blood tests, natural remedies, treatments, too). So the thing is, things had not always been that way, and the way I’ve been managing it, is by managing it.
Fast forward to today, and thankfully my skin is completely fine (it just went away … If you’re reading this and battling acne – you’ll be fine. Trust me.) and my hair, better. Not back to normal, but better. My hair can grow to a reasonable length and look okay, but I always preferred it short so it looks like I have more volume.
So when it came to having a hair makeover, nothing held me back. I’ve had pixie cuts in the past (think Halle Berry early-2000s), asymmetrical bobs (also another hair review in my previous job; I was the only one with guts to lob off my locks!). And when it’s part of our job to try treatments to see if they really work, sometimes you just have to be brave enough. And I had no qualms, as soon as I step foot into Hairquarters.
I had the pleasure to meet the owner of Hairquarters in Publika, Janice. She had been in the business for about 10 years, having been trained in Singapore, London and Shanghai. She started Hairquarters in 2007 over in Solaris Mont Kiara then opened in Publika in 2011. You’ll know it as soon as you see it — it’s the one that’s located maybe 20 metres from Ben’s Independent Grocer. A great spot for foot traffic, plus it has a dashing interior which is abuzz with her bevy of well-trained staff.
Now at this point you’d probably also thinking, “What if you already have a stylist you go to? Wouldn’t that be … Cheating on him/her? How do you trust someone with your hair when it’s the very first time?” Well, it’s the nature of the work to try salons and spas to see if they do work. As soon as I started chatting with Janice, I knew I was in good hands. Her specialty, according to her, is cutting hair and colouring, which seemed a little humble, because she was so adept at her skill, with the years of training really shining through.
Despite my hair texture and weight, she knew exactly what to do. She took time to meticulously piece section by section to make sure she got the measurement of each part right, taking into account the shape of my head and what the end result was going to be. We decided on an asymmetrical cut that starts really short on my left side, then gradates to a longer length on the other.
Just to pass the time, we chatted about hair trends. “The coming trends for 2016 and 2017? I reckon they’ll be around the same. But for colour trends, right now you see dip dye, but the future may be the total opposite, where the base is lighter than the highlight. We never know, but I like to give customers what’s presentable and easy to manage.” And her favourite haircare product of all time? “The Redken Colour Extend range can really deliver a light shining effect — unlike other colour haircare products that weigh hair down.”
When you see the finished product, you’ll know why I fell in love with it…
It was all I could ask for in a hair cut, especially when I wanted to ensure I had volume and shape for relatively fine locks. And I had just that! The short side was totally edgy and androgynous, which was what I wanted, but it was neatly rounded off with a feminine touch with the longer “bob” side. I walked out of the salon so liberated, I never felt happier with my hair than I was at that moment.
After about a month or so, I noticed how everyone I met on the job commented on it, saying how much they liked it any how much it suited me (thanks, I know!). The best part was that I could part it on either side, and get a totally different look. (I can be ready in under 15 minutes too, which is just perfect for a busy girl like me.
Hairquarters is opening a new salon some time hopefully in November, over in Pavilion. I’m about to make time to call for a follow-up trim …
Drop by their salon, or call 03-6205 4366 for a reservation. You can find Hairquarters at Lot 78 & 79, Level UG, Publika Shopping Gallery.