A great haircut is a good thing. But it can only go so far. To get great hair every day, you need to use the right styling products and tools at home too.
BEST FRIZZ-CONTROL STYLING PRODUCT (SALON)
Goldwell Dualsenses Just Smooth 6 Effects Serum, $44
It adds healthy-looking shine and tames frizzy ends well. Just a small amount of this viscous serum goes a long way; our tester found that too much of it could weigh down hair.
BEST DRY SHAMPOO (STORE)
A’kin Dry Shampoo, $14.90
This delivers on all counts – it adds volume and body to hair while soaking up excess oil on the scalp without leaving a white residue behind. Its faint powdery scent is not overpowering either.
BEST DRY SHAMPOO (SALON)
Goldwell Dualsenses Ultra Volume Bodifying Dry Shampoo, $30
It feels light and powdery on the scalp and hair, and has a slight volumising effect. It controls oiliness, so hair feels fresh. It works well on both oily and sensitive scalps.
BEST HAIRSTYLING BRAND
This new-to-Singapore Korean professional haircare brand has a wide range of styling products. From hair wax (like the Style Expression Craft Matt Wax or Style Expression Craft Texture Wax) to multipurpose hair oil (like the Repair Force Therapy Essential Oil), the products consistently scored high with us in terms of delivering the desired results of texturising or smoothing hair, or offering holding power.
BEST HAIR TOOLS BRAND
The hairdryers, straighteners and curlers consistently got good feedback and high scores from our testers. Take the EH-NA98 hairdryer ($399): It cuts drying time by half and is easy to use. And the multi-styling EH-HV70 straightener ($129) heats up to 200 deg C in less than a minute for easy styling.
BEST PRE-STYLING PRODUCT/ HAIR PRIMER (STORE)
Schwarzkopf Professional Osis+ Session Label Miracle 15 Multi-purpose Styling Balm, $25
The lotion-like product is lightweight and detangles hair quickly. Because it is easily absorbed, it works great as a primer for styling products applied after it.
The Beﬆ Hair Treatments
With so many services offered now, how do you know where to go for the best, say, bold and bright colouring or #iwokeuplikethis curls, or even a good scalpcleansing treatment? These are the best ones of the year.
MOST WEARABLE BALAYAGE COLOURING
Chez Vous Hair Salon – #rightcolourmatters, from $300
The hairdresser was meticulous, showing our tester different colours that would go with her skin tone. The brown-blue-purple-grey combination the tester chose was subtle, and lasted about two weeks. The faded colour still looked great, and she received compliments about her hair more than a month after she’d had it coloured. Despite it being the third time our tester was bleaching her hair, it didn’t feel dry or damaged, and she experienced no discomfort during the entire process.
BEST HAIR-GLOSS COLOURING
Mucota – 3D Diamond Colour, from $120
The colouring service lives up to its name, giving threedimensional, shiny colour. Our tester’s hair became super-shiny and rich-looking, reflecting the light and transforming the colour subtly when she moved her head. Despite the switch from warm tones to a cooler, dark smoky ash brown, the session took only an hour and a half. The staff are also skilled and attentive.
MOST SKILFUL COLOURIST
Jean Yip – Biospa Colour, from $288
Hairstylist Johnny Ang gave our tester the exact shade of dark ashy grey she wanted, working from a sample from her mobile phone. The gradient turned out smooth and beautifully done, and her hair looked shiny despite a choppy pre-existing bleach job. Johnny explained every step, and the salon staff were professional and helpful throughout, right down to the pampering head massage.
BEST “UNICORN” HAIR (BRIGHT AND BOLD COLOURS)
Leekaja Beauty Salon – Balayage, from $149.80
Our tester, a seasoned coloured-hair enthusiast – left it to the colourist to decide on her new look. What she got was a pink and blue fringe, teamed with grey tones on her already-bleached hair. She felt the colour combination was “almost perfect”, and received many compliments. The bright pink and brilliant blue started to fade after five days – which is expected of such bright hues. Bonus: At the salon’s in-house cafe, customers get to choose a drink and some snacks.
The Beﬆ Hair Treatments
BEST KOREAN SALON
Leekaja Beauty Salon
The testers who tried the treatments – from hair colouring to smoothing and perms – all came back with similar feedback: outstanding. Everyone had good things to say about their experience, from the service to ambience, staff skills and the results. Most telling: The testers shared that they’d received wonderful compliments about their hair after the treatments. The hairdressers were adaptable, and able to work with different hair types, concerns and expectations. Besides delivering results, the staff were knowledgeable and able to explain the processes in detail, whether it was for a perm or treatment for damaged hair, or an indulgent head spa.
BEST HOME-GROWN/LOCAL SALON
Skilful, attentive and knowledgeable staff: That was what our testers said about this Singapore hair salon chain. It was also the reason for its high ratings for different treatments tested, across various outlets: colouring, a smoothing treatment for chemically damaged hair, perm, and scalp treatments. One tester had a previously botched colouring job and chemically damaged hair, while another had rebonded her hair so many times she didn’t think she could ever get a perm, but in these and other cases, the hairdressers worked through the challenges. The scalp services, too, left our testers feeling refreshed and pampered.
BEST SCALP MAINTENANCE
Beijing 101 – 3 Step Scalp Purity Treatment, $354
The pre-treatment scan showed that our tester’s scalp was clean but oily, and the consultant offered solutions as to how to get a healthier scalp. Post-treatment, the scan showed that the scalp was less oily. The session also included a head-and-shoulder massage, which made the tester’s head feel less heavy, and her shoulders less strained. The ingredients used in the treatment are made of natural Chinese herbs.
BEST SCALP REPAIR
PHS Hairscience – Advance Scalp Repair Treatment, $365
Post-treatment, our tester’s scalp felt clean and light, and her hair looked bouncy and healthy. The staff impressed her with their detailed explanation of the consultation scan, and she said it was a pampering experience overall, from the spa-like salon ambience to the skilful head and shoulder massage, the massage chair, and the iPad provided for her to watch movies on.
BEST SCALP CLEANSING
Bella Marie France – Hair Synergy Solution Treatment, $107
It starts with a scalp-cleansing mask before a 25min steaming and hair wash, and includes a brief shoulder massage. Post-treatment, our tester said the scan showed her scalp was clean and her hair follicles unclogged.
BEST SCALP DETOX
TK Trichokare – Advanced Scalp Detox & Care Treatment, $352.03
Post-treatment, our tester’s scalp and hair felt clean and light, and she said that her hair fall was significantly reduced. The session includes pre- and post-treatment scans; the latter showed a cleaner and more flushed scalp, which indicated cleared clogs and better microcirculation.
BEST SEBUM CONTROL
La Biosthetique – Dermosthetique Anti-pelliculaire Therapy, $188
Our tester, who shampoos every other day, says her scalp – which usually starts itching and showing signs of oily build-up by the second day – stayed free of itching and buildup after the treatment. The pre- and post treatment scalp scan showed a significant improvement in her clogged hair follicles and oily hair and scalp.
BEST SCALP DEEP-CLEANSING
H’air Trichology by Leonica K – Deep Cleansing Scalp Treatment, $450
The treatment, which included a relaxing head massage, left the scalp feeling refreshed and lighter, and the hair, softer and smoother. The therapist also recommended a tea tree shampoo for home use, which helped the tester’s scalp and hair remain moisturised and soft. The tester was impressed by the hairdresser’s knowledge and confidence, and her detailed replies to her questions.
BEST ANTI-HAIR FALL
Jonsson Protein – VE Protein Hair & Scalp Treatment, $321
The treatment made our tester’s scalp feel cleaner, lighter, and less itchy. She noticed much less hair fall over the course of the day, although there was no significant reduction in hair fall during shampooing. The session included a 20min steaming, and a pampering head and neck massage. The staff were experienced, knowledgeable and attentive.
BEST C-CURL PERM
Jean Yip – Biospa Thermal Recondition, from $388
Our tester, who has thick, rebonded hair, was advised that a C-curl perm would be more suitable for her. She felt the ceramic perm did not further damage her already-dry hair, even though the hairdresser straightened the upper part of her wavy hair to make the results neater. The staff were meticulous, constantly checking on the progress of the perm.
MOST NATURALLOOKING PERM
Mucota – Algana Perm, from $350
Our tester’s curls emerged as she wanted them to: natural-looking, without feeling dry or stiff. All it took was a picture she showed to the staff, and they knew what she wanted. They were meticulous, explaining every step of the perm and making sure she felt comfortable. One week into the perm, her curls had loosened a little, but still looked natural.
BEST #IWOKEUPLIKETHIS PERM
Leekaja Beauty Salon – Digital Perm, from $256.80
No pictures – our tester simply said she wanted #iwokeuplikethis curls. What she got: curls so natural-looking and easy to maintain that she didn’t even need to change her haircare routine. The perm was professionally done, with the hairdresser curling her bleached highlights twice, using a milder perm solution to prevent further damage to her hair.
BEST SMOOTHING FOR CHEMICALLY DAMAGED HAIR
Jean Yip – Maxiphlex, from $338
Our tester, who had very damaged hair from a previous botched bleaching, said her hair felt softer and smoother, and looked healthier and less frizzy after the treatment. Even after washing her hair, it remained soft and easy to finger-comb through. She was impressed by the hairdresser’s knowledge, as he gave her useful advice that suited her hair condition, like how to prolong the effects of the treatment, as well as tips for future hair colouring sessions.