Riding the Korean wave: The best salons for Korean perms for men and women

PHOTO: Facebook/picassohairstudio

Besides addictive K-dramas and K-pop, the Korean wave has made waves in another industry: Hair perming. From C-curls to S-curls, the glamorously wavy tresses of Korean stars are inspiring serious hair envy, and salons in Singapore haven’t been slow to catch on.

If you’re dreaming of sporting the style of your fave actors, here’s everything you need to know about Korean perms: what they look like, and which salons in Singapore are doing it right.

What is Korean perm?

Korean perms are synonymous with soft, natural-looking waves – a far cry from the traditional tight curls that our mothers wore.

But compared to the subtlety of Japanese perms, Korean perms tend to be more defined, drawing on a mix of digital, ceramic, and body wave techniques to create bounce and volume. Not only is this face-slimming, it requires less day-to-day maintenance too.

For women, one of the hottest looks of the moment has to be the S-curl perm. As the name suggests, this style involves a stylish sea of S-shaped waves that swirl in every direction.

If you’re after a more low-key look, there’s also the C-curl perm popularized by Song Hye-kyo in Descendants of the Sun. Think curls that curve subtly inward at the ends of your hair, helping to contour your jawline.

Gents can rock a parting perm – a look you might recognise from leading men in many K-dramas, including Goblin‘s Gong Yoo.

This perm involves a clean two-block parting, complete with loose curls that curtain the forehead. Or opt for the tousled, super-curly bedhead look sported by the likes of Park Bo-gum and BTS’ V at various points.

Where to get Korean perms in Singapore

Leekaja beauty salon

Think Korean salons in Singapore and acclaimed South Korean import Leekaja leaps to mind. Part of the salon’s claim to fame comes from its spectacular hospitality, starting with free wifi and an in-house barista serving up complimentary coffee and cold-pressed juices. Settle into a cushy leather armchair and leave yourself in their team’s capable hands.

Many of their stylists have honed their chops working with South Korean models and celebs, and K-pop styles like C-curl perms and volume rebonding rank among their specialties. With an interior decked in lush foliage and rustic wood, it’s easy to zen out here.

Pricing: Cold wave perm from $150 and digital perm from $240

Leekaja beauty salon is located at 333A Orchard Road, #03-13 Mandarin Gallery, Singapore 238867, p. +65 8133 0818. Open Sat-Thurs 10am–8pm, Fri 10.30am–8pm.

The Space Korean hair salon

Tucked away in The Cathay is a minimalist white salon that resembles a glowing lightbox, complete with high ceilings and fluffy ‘clouds’ overhead. In this serene space, veteran Korean stylist Lee Han and team work their curling magic.

Lee Han is  known for his skills in customising perms to your hair condition, drawing on various types of perm cream to treat different areas of hair. What’s more, given that most of the perm options come with haircut included, you’ll find surprisingly value-for-money packages here.

Pricing : Korean cold perm + cut from $165 (men) and $175 (women); Korean digital perm + cut from S$275 for women.

The Space Korean hair salon is located at 2 Handy Rd, #04-06 The Cathay, Singapore 229233, p. +65 6737 0406. Open Mon-Fri 10.30am–8pm, Sat 10am–7.30pm, Sun 10am–7pm.

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STYLE NA Korean hair salon

Founded by respected Korean stylist Joel Park, STYLE NA’s passionate team of Korean stylists specialize in perms and rebonding.

Men, you’ll certainly be in good hands here – Creative Director Lala has won awards for men’s hairstyling back in Busan, while senior stylist Jenny has skill in men’s two-block styles and experience at top salons in Korea under her belt. Not sure what style suits you?

Senior stylist Jina can examine your head shape and recommend matches with the latest perm trends.

Pricing: Regular perm from $155 (men) and $185 (women); digital perm from $250.

STYLE NA Korean hair salon has outlets in Parkway Parade #02-67, 80 Marine Parade Road, Singapore 449269, p. +65 6348 8035, and Compass One #04-03, 1 Sengkang Square, Singapore 545078, p. +65 6388 4247.

Aqua Korean hair salon

With its rustic wood furnishings and warm lighting, it’s easy to feel at ease in Aqua Korean Hair Salon. The team of Korean hairstylists here boast decades of experience in Korea’s salons between them – senior hair designer Mina Baek has cared for the tresses of TV celebs in Korea, including stars on the long-running Gag Concert show.

If you’re dreaming of C-curl and S-curl perms that leave your hair sleek and bouncy, you’ve come to the right place – these are the salon’s signature services, along with volume rebonding.

Pricing: Perms from $150 (men) and $180 (women)

Aqua Korean hair salon is located at 402 Orchard Rd, #03-16 Delfi Orchard, Singapore 238876, p. +65 6732 8011. Open Mon-Fri 10.30am–7.30pm, Sat-Sun 11am–6pm.

Picasso hair studio

Decked in colourful paintings and quirky mirrors that resemble easels, Picasso Hair Studio is where art happens. This well-known salon has a team with decades of experience and multiple hairdressing awards to their names, and they’re uniquely equipped to deliver a bespoke perming experience.

By analysing your face shape – eyes, nose, mouth, chin – your hair designer will be able to customize the most complementary look for you, from type of curls to ideal tress length. Let’s just say you’ll leave looking like a work of art too.

Pricing: Korean wave perm from $215 and digital perm from $255.

Picasso hair studio has outlets in 1 Goldhill Plaza #01-49, Singapore 308899, p. +65 6224 0221, and 662 North Bridge Road, Singapore 188798, p. +65 6291 0691.

ALSO READ: From wielding knives in fights to cutting hair for stars: Hair salon owner speaks of his wake-up call at a police station

Do My Hair

You’d be hard-pressed to find a more pleasant place for a lengthy hair makeover than Do My Hair. A light-filled salon overlooking Orchard Road, Do My Hair’s floor-to-ceiling windows and peaceful wood tones will have the hours passing swiftly.

Despite its prime location, the salon’s pricing for its signature perming services stays fairly pocket-friendly – a Korean wave perm starts from just $135, while a digital perm for S-curls and C-curls is priced from $200. They also offer more unusual styles, such as pleat waves and plait perms.

Pricing: Korean wave perm from $135; ceramic and digital perm for S-curls and C-curls from $200.

Do My Hair is located at 181 Orchard Road, Orchard Central #04-13, Singapore 238896, p. +65 9722 8268. Open Mon-Fri 11.30am–8pm, Sat-Sun 11.30am–7pm.

The Wiz Korean hair salon

Founder and director stylist Bella Yoon has honed her skills in hair salons across Seoul for more than a decade, and now she’s bringing the best of Korean techniques to our shores.

Her salon The Wiz prides itself on keeping up with the latest in men’s and women’s K-beauty trends, so you can count on top-notch advice on everything from ideal perms for your hair type to maintenance methods.

Pricing : Basic perm from $150 (men) and $180 (women); digital perm from $250.

The Wiz Korean Hair Salon is located at Delfi Orchard #04-28, 402 Orchard Rd, Singapore 238876, p. +65 8328 8865. Open Tues-Sat 11am–7.30pm, Sun 11am–7pm. Closed Mon.

ALSO READ: The young, cool and creative 20-somethings that are giving the barber trade a fresh look

Be De Bon Salon

With three concepts rolled into one, we could easily spend the whole day at Be De Bon Salon. Besides hair services, there’s an in-salon café to keep you fuelled with sweets and drinks, along with a professional photography studio to capture your picture-perfect locks.

Did we mention they’ve got complimentary wifi and charging ports too? But it isn’t just the perks that keep their customers coming back, of course. The salon is famed for low-maintenance Korean-style perms, with a highly skilled team that includes stylists with experience on Korean movie sets.

Pricing : Cold perm from $155 and digital perm from $240.

Be De Bon Salon is located at #04-72 Plaza Singapura, 68 Orchard Road, Singapore 238839, p. +65 6238 8083. Open Mon-Fri 11am–8pm, Sat-Sun 11am–7pm.

This article was first published in City Nomads.

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