As we edge closer towards spring, and put the coldest Hong Kong months behind us, many of us search for ways to revamp our look and give ourselves a bit of a makeover. Keen for a seasonal spruce up myself, I decided to focus on my hair, which was long overdue a splash of colour and some love after months of cooler weather taking its toll on my locks. That was the easy part.
Despite so many hair salons popping up around the city, finding a good one that you can trust to not bodge it up can be a real challenge – I’ve had a few hair-raising disasters, believe me. So when I heard that celebrity stylist David Malo had recently joined the team at Sozo Hair Design in Central, I knew I would be in safe hands. A man with over 20 years of experience in the hair industry, who has styled the likes of Celine Dion and Mariah Carey, working in a boutique salon owned by one of Hong Kong’s top Japanese stylists, Yoko Hisatomi Lane, was sure to be a winning formula. So I decided to give this place a whirl and booked a slot with the hair wizard himself.
With its trendy, modern, but minimalist decor, Sozo oozes cutting edge-style without being pretentious or trying too hard. You can sense the Japanese influence as soon as you walk through the door and see black wooden flooring, large gold mirrors, chic swivel chairs, and white wooden screens. With its no-fuss, yet elegant interior, you get the feeling that the focus here is more on the quality of the service and skills provided by the team, than flashy, outward appearances. The fact that owner Yoko carefully selects her team makes this all the more reassuring. Located on the third floor of the Worldwide Commercial Building on Wyndham Street, the salon is super easy to get to and boasts a pretty cool view of the city too, making it a prime pamper spot.
Being a low-maintenance kind of girl, and not wanting to spend half my life (and money) in hair salons getting highlights re-touched, I opted to go for a Balayage treatment, which – if you’re anything like me and not in the know about modern hair trends – is a technique used to create sun-kissed, natural looking highlights with softer, less noticeable regrowth lines. Named after the French word meaning “to sweep” or “to paint”, the method involves applying the colour not directly at the roots, meaning the highlights can be left to grow out naturally without having to pop back for re-touches. This has made it a more popular (and cheaper) option for women the world over – not to mention Hollywood A-listers.
Sat down in my chic swivel chair, with a stack of magazines in front of me, I let Malo work his magic, teasing small sections of my hair and painting on the carefully mixed dye just a few inches below the root, before folding it into foils. Knowing I was in the hands of a pro, I didn’t even suggest a particular colour or show example photos to him on my phone (something I have felt inclined to do in the past), and instead let him decide on the right tone of blonde to match my natural colouring. In this case, it was a warm, caramel blonde – perfect for that glowing spring look.
After twenty-odd minutes sat under the spaceship-like heater, it was time to hit the wash basin to remove the foils and indulge in a relaxing head massage from Sabina, some specially mixed toner application, and an Olaplex treatment to protect my newly coloured tresses. As Malo began to comb and blow dry small sections of my hair, curling the ends around a big barrel brush to create soft twirls, gorgeous tones of caramel began to show and my oh-so-natural spring glow came to life.
If you’re looking to spruce up your mane this spring in the most low-maintenance way possible, then Balayage is an absolute no-brainer – especially when you have an expert like Malo behind the helm (or brush). No roots, no touch-ups, no fuss – all you need to give up is three to four hours of your time for your pamper session.
The Balayage treatment costs around $2,300 (for a full head of colour on long hair) and an additional $500 for the Olaplex. This may sound fairly pricey, but when you consider the potential cost of frequent trips to the salon for hefty highlight re-touches (around $1,000 a pop), this is much lighter on your wallet in the long run. Plus, who can be bothered with maintaining roots every every 6 to 8 weeks, or dealing with straw-like hair from overprocessing? Well, maybe Mariah, but this is the real world and a pop diva I am not. Having said that, I did feel like I’d had the celebrity treatment by the time I left the salon and strutted out the door to start my Saturday night on the town!
Sozo Hair Design, 3/F Worldwide Commercial Building, 34 Wyndham Street, Central, (+852) 2353 5025