Asian Hair

Archived Q&A and Reviews


Hairdresser for short, thick Asian hair

Feb 2009

Looking for recommendations for a hairdresser (will go anywhere in bay area but East bay preferred) that is good with short, stylish, texturized cuts, and familiar with thick, Asian, straight hair. Just moved up from LA and miss my Westside Japanese hairdresser! Any suggestions appreciated. Also, if anyone has someone to recommend at Festoon in Berkeley, as it's location is convenient for me, that would be great. Thank you! Suzanne

I highly recommend Kinuko's beauty creation in Alameda on Park Street. It is run by Kinuko and her brother Yoshi. They are Japanese and were fully trained in Japan; ie knows how different technique is required to cut Asian hair. I've been their client for 9 years and even though I moved from Alameda to Union City, Newark, Palo Alto, San Diego, and back to Orinda, I remained their faithful client because I couldn't simply find anyone better! Their phone number is 510-814-9699.

The only downside is it's very difficult to get an appointment on the weekend unless you book in advance because many of their current clients always make their next appointment. Weekdays are not bad. shiho

Hi, My hair person, Alyssa, at Panache Spa on Shattuck & Cedar is GREAT! I have short, straight Asian hair--she gives me the cutest cuts! My 18 year old daughter goes to her too. She's a transplant from SoCal (finance at Cal). I highly recommend her. Her number: 841.5555. Karen

Madge at Louie Salon (415)864-3012 in SF is fantastic!She has a lot of experience with Asian hair as I and many of her other clients are Asian women.She was trained at Vidal Sassoon and has such precision in her technique. I've tried Festoon as well as two in Japan Town in the City, but I think Madge is the best. I love that she can suggest new styles for me when I ask for a change. I always like to keep my hair short, but she does a lot of nice variations. If you're looking for Japanese stylists, then try the Japan Beauty Center Salon . Judy

Good hairstylists for very straight Asian hair

March 2008

I'm asian and have very straight hair. Now that I'm back to work after maternity leave, I really need a cut that is professional but does not require too much fuss. I've tried various hair salons with so so results. I recently tried La Nana and it was kind of expensive and still was just an ok cut. Looking for someone who knows how to design a cut tailored to my face and definetely would like someone who knows how to cut asian hair. Any recommendations for good straight hair stylists east bay or otherwise? Anyone tried stylists in Japantown? Tired of bad haircut straight hair mama

I've been going to John at Peter Thomas (Shattuck Ave) for the past 12 years. This is a great salon, John is incredible - and so are the other stylists. Give them a try. -A bit pricey, but as far as I'm concerned, worth every penny! carol

My recent discovery is Monica, who recently moved to Remedy Salon ( from Alexander Pope in Rockidge. Shes young and hip,(but not in an itimidating way)and she does an awesome job. I too, had many many average haircuts (superfine, super straight hair and not alot of it), and was feeling like i was sinking into a habit of bad-mommy-hair days everyday. Glad to say those days are over! happy mama

Hi, I would HIGHLY recommend LISA HARVIE the owner and stylist/colorist I go to. Lisa owns SHED at 1518 Park in Emeryville. Her number is 510.655.1168. I have shoulder-length very straight blonde hair and she has done a spectacular job with the cut and the highlights. I've sent two of my Asian friends to her and they've been very satisfied. Lisa herself has long, straight hair. Good luck! Patty

I have straight hair and like it that way. I also like a simple bob haircut so that it's easy to maintain (I don't do hair products at all). It took me awhile to find someone who was friendly, takes her time, and cuts my hair right so that it doesn't curl out. I like my current hair stylist at Viveur Salon very much. She listens to what I want and doesn't try to do cuts that only looks good in the salon cuz of styling. She's located close to the gourmet ghetto in Berkeley. Kind of expensive ($50+) but worth the money for me. 1662 Shattuck Avenue ph. 510-540-8540 anon

I would like to reccommend Sue Ko ownner of Wicked Salon in SF. I have curly hair and she gave me a wonderful cut, very stylish, no fuss I get so many compliments on it. She is very talented and very detail oriented, I'm sure she could cut any kind of hair. She is herself asian and so is her partner whom I haven't gotten a cut from but believe is equally talented. Sue charges $80 for the cut and I feel they are a very well spent 80 bucks. I believe they are on Grant in downtown Sf, you can go online and get all the info. Good Luck. christie

Mele Alberta is the greatest - I have very straight hair and I am happier with her than any other stylist. She works at a wonderful salon -- JauJou Studio in Oakland on Grand ave. The number is (510) 208-3449. morayblue

Try Betty or Gail at Festoon . I'd never had a really good cut until I found them. Pricey, but worth it.

Coloring Asian hair

June 2007

I have a major birthday coming up this summer and I've been thinking about marking it by coloring my hair. But... I have the classic Asian hair, very thick and black-black. I want to get purple streaks put in. Can anyone tell me about their experiences with coloring Asian hair? I'm assuming that I would need to get it bleached before the purple will take, and I'm worried about the hair getting all crunchy and breakable, and ruining the texture. Will the color wash out before the hair grows out, leaving me with bleach streaks? Thanks in advance.

Try purple hair extensions. Call Barbarella salon about this. The extensions last a while and you don't have to worry about the bleaching. Happy Birthday!

Several years ago (maybe 10?), a Chinese friend of mine had almost ''translucent'' emerald green in her hair. I suppose it might have been cellophane color...? But it wasn't done to her whole head, but rather layers underneath so as her hair moved, you could see the color. It was especially beautiful in sunlight. No bleaching was done, and the texture of her hair wasn't affected. Ellen

I just visited B's on College and Bing and Joni are fantastic with Asian hair! I actually have mixed race hair which can be very difficult to treat and style. Mexican Korean Hair

Stylist for Asian hair in Berkeley/Albany

May 2006

I'm interested in updates to the 2004 postings in the archives on recommendations for hair stylists for Asian hair. I would like to find someone in the Berkeley/Albany area that can work with my thick, straight hair, and give me a stylish, easy cut for under $75. Carol

I used to be a hairstylist in a large salon near the UC so I got to watch all of the stylists work. One of the most talented stylists I have ever seen, particularly with haircutting is Myong. She works at Panache on College now 843-3255. I have 4 hairdressers in my family and they used to be the only ones to touch my hair. Now Myong is the only person I will let touch my hair. When you meet her for the first time bring a photo. After she gets to know you she will just know what to do. Joni

Try Kip Hamilton at Maru Hair Salon in Berkeley. The number is 549-3610. He's fabulous and also very popular. You might have to wait a while to get an appt. I think he's charging $50 these days. spouse of Asian-American with great hair

Hi! Marie at Festoon in Berkeley! She's the best!! My sisters and I have been going to her now for a few years and we're always pleased with it. I believe she charges $65 for a haircut. Here's the number 510.524.2953 Please email me if you have any questions! Jane

I have a great recommendation for a stylist who specializes in Asian hair. Her name is Kristen and she works in the Montclair Village at Natural Expressions . I'm Chinese and my hair is stick straight in some places and kind of wavy in others. She's been cutting and coloring my hair for 2 years now and she is AWESOME. Not only does she understand the texture and weight of Asian hair, she is also super nice and a good listener. She is very straightforward about what will work with your hair and help you to set your expectations realistically. You can reach her directly by cellphone at 510-376-0467. You can tell her Nicole sent you. She'll get a kick out of it. Best of luck finding your perfect hairstyle. Her haircuts are $55. Nicole

This is a little out of the way but my hairstylist does excellent work with Asian hair. She is in Alameda and charges way below $75 for a cut. Call her at 749-4199. EA

I've been going to Suki for over 10 years now and she has always done a great job giving shape and body to my heavy thick (Chinese) hair. I love that I can go there and just describe what I'm not liking about my hair and she always has a solution, and it's not always the same solution! She keeps very current on styles, and I always get compliments on the new do. Best of all, she knows I don't do any maintenance with my hair and won't come back for a few months, so she knows how to give me a cut that is wash-and-wear and will grow out well.

Suki had been a Senior Stylist at Panache on Telegraph for the last several years, but since they suddenly closed down in December, she moved to a salon on Solano called Tresses , upstairs from Sweet Basil. 1734 Solano Ave., ph. # 280.4903. She's been having trouble letting her past clients know where she is, so I am happy to spread the word about her new location.

I know she also specializes in color and Japanese straight perms, but I've never gotten those services from her. Feel free to email with any more questions. Mae

Shampoo without Sodium Laureath for frizzy South Asian hair

Jan 2005

I am desperate to find a REALLY good shampoo,conditioner, hair cream?. Since having my second child, my hair has been sort of frizzy - i.e. strands don't lay down together nicely. My sister, in Australia,recommended using shampoos without sodium laureath (sp?). Any idea where o find such a shampoo? I'd also appreciate recommendations for leave in conditioners etc. I'm South Asian, so I have thick, dark, coarse, wavy hair which currently points in every direction possible. Thanks. EPA

Try the French brand Phyto --they have great hair care products. I don't know if they have Sodium Laureath, but they are plant-based andcontain mostly natural products. As a South Asian with wavy hair that does not stay in place without a lot of coaxing, I find these products work wonders. Specifically, the Phytonectar leave-in conditioning oil, and the Phytonectar shampoo. I usually alternate them with other brands. They are quite expensive and you have to buy them in salons--try Vine Street Salon in Berkeley. Also, some of the Aveda products might work--check the labels or ask your hairdresser. Another South Asian with unruly hair

I would recommend Aubrey Organics shampoos. They do not contain sulfates of any kind. The shampoos are coconut oil based. I have been using this brand for a little over two years and I love it. I also Avalon Organics Lavender Shampoo. That brand does not contain any sulfates as well. You can purchase Aubrey Organics at Whole Foods, Elephant Pharmacy (in Berkeley). Avalon is at Whole Foods, Elephant Pharmacy and most Trader Joes.

You can also make your own from castile soap; olive oil based (like Dr. Bonners). I have done online searches and found recipes where you mix castile soap, a vegetable oil such as olive, jojoba, avocado, etc, honey, etc. Carla ellialex [at]

Hi there! It sounds like your hair would respond really well to my friend's all-natural hair-cair products. If you want your wavy hair to look more like loose curls, less frizzy and all- around more healthy, you should try these products. I use them and love them! Go to and check it out. She makes a bunch of different products. My favorite is the Rockin' Ringlets Styling lotion. I am addicted to it! I also love her Aloeba conditioner. Let me know what you think! Erin

My hair tends more towards curly, but one thing I have found to help with frizz is to shampoo less often. I use conditioner every day, but shampoo no more than once a week. As for products, I really like Bumble and Bumble - they have a line specifically for curly hair. They aren't cheap, but are worth every penny in my mind. No shampoo, Curl Conscious conditioner, then a little Curl Cream mixed with a few drops of No Frizz, and I'm good to go. Not sure where you live, but there are 3 salons in Rockridge that carry them - GenRay, Bellissimo, and Right Angle. Frizzy no more

Believe it or not, Trader Joe's makes a shampoo (I forgot the name--it's in a clear bottle) that is made without sodium laureath. Its main ingredients are rosemary and orange extracts, and it is desigend for dry hair. My husband uses it and really likes it , and it's inexpensive.

I have fairly curly hair, and my hair got quite dry after the birth of my second child. I swear by Aveda products (shampoos, Deep-Penetrating conditioner, and Be Curly, a product that encourages curl and discourages frizz). The folks at the Aveda store on Fourth St. are quite helpful. Good luck! ANON

Congratulations on your baby. Your hair sounds a lot like mine. What really benefits me is silicone. I've had good success with L'oreal Nature's Therapy Unfrizz, which can be found at Sally's Beauty Supply. This is a deep conditioner. Another good product is Generic Matrix Biolage Shine Renewal, a spray on silicone also available at Sally's.

Silicones, oils, waxes and styling products build up on hair over time. When hair begins to get unmanageable, you need to clarify your hair. Any shampoo that does not contain conditioning or styling ingredients can clarify the hair. I use White Rain Extra Body shampoo. Cheap and effective. It also contains a chelating ingredient to remove mineral build up from hard water or swimming.

Another factor may be the weather. Dry heated air can cause static and flyaways. A humidifier can help, but don't humidify so much that mildew grows on the walls. Hormones are yet another factor that can make hair unmanageable.

I would like to give you a book recommendation, Paula Begoun's ''Don't Go Shopping for Hair Care Products Without Me''. She has reviewed almost every hair care product available at press time and provides lists of recommendations based on your hair type. Granted, within these lists you will still have to discover your best product by trial and error, but it really helps narrow down the choices. She also gives scientifically-based hair care advice and debunks myths, such as salon products being better or gentler for hair (they aren't). By the way, sodium laurETH sulfate is one of the gentler surfactants. It is sodium laurYL sulfate you want to avoid. Paula Begoun has a website and her own line of cosmetics:

You may also like the online Long Hair Community: Very informative, friendly and welcoming, and not just for people with long hair. J12

Detangler for Asian child's long hair

Feb 2005

Can anyone recommend a good detangler/rinse for our adopted daughter's long straight hair? She is Chinese, has beautiful long hair, but it frequently tangles in the back after sleeping. She is 4 years old and hates hairwashing. I have wavy hair and have been using a Paul Mitchell product to make it easier to comb through her washed hair, but lately it is leaving her hair semi-oily because she will not allow me to rinse it well. There are probably lots of products that women with similar hair can recommend. Please help. Want to do better

You didn't say which PM product you use. We use Paul Mitchell's leave-in conditioner, which is a blue gel, after hair washing. In between washes we use Paul Mitchell's hair tamer, which is a leave-in detangler with a pump sprayer. It has a little yellow happy face on the bottle. My (white) daughter has long hair and it really helps keep the tangles away. I also invested in a boar's hair hairbrush because it pulls less on her scalp. Sometimes I am tempted to cut her hair so it will be easier to manage, but it's so much a part of her identity by now that I can't bring myself to do it. Luckily her brother has short hair so I only have one head to worry about. Good luck! Fellow Hair Wrangler

Have you tried loosely braiding her hair at night? This worked wonders for a friend's daughter who had rear-length hair. I also have used the spray detanglers instead of conditioner (which weighed down my son's hair). Of course his hair is not as long, but mine is fairly long and I've actually used his detangler, as well as Aussie's leave in spray on conditioner. When I used to babysit as a teenager, the little one I sat for the most had VERY long hair, we played ''mermaid'' to get her hair rinsed. I would have her sit in the tub, leaning back on her hands, and I would use this big half shell her parents had to repeatedly pour water over her hair while we playacted mermaid together (Mermaids have VERY long lustrous hair you know, and you have to rinse it *just right* to get that mermaid shine..). Hope some of this helps. Karin

I don't know of any specific detanglers that work, but I also have long hair that tangles (not asian hair, just plain old white lady hair). I use regular conditioner and it works fine, but I also braid my hair at night so that it doesn't tangle, and perhaps a quick, loose braid would help your daughter's problem. Make sure it's low on the head because sleeping on the start of the braid might be a little uncomfortable. I use coated nylon bands that don't have a metal connector, too, because it won't rip my hair in the morning when I take my hair down. This works for me. Also tangled

I have long asian hair. I hope this can be of some use to you: Part her hair and put in 2 loose braids for sleeping (or 1 if hair is very long). They must be loose, so she can be comfortable. Make sure there are no single hairs pulling. Use silicone ''rubber'' bands to fasten the ends and wrap around as many times as necessary to not fall off. The tangling will be greatly reduced. When detangling, be gentle. Start by detangling the ends, then move up a few inches and detangle that section, repeat until you can finally comb from scalp to ends without tangles. Use a wide toothed comb without seams and ridges. If you brush, use one with soft bristles and do not try to penetrate the thickness of all the hair. A brush is only a polishing tool, not a detangling tool. Simply smooth down the hair gently. This can be a nice, relaxing, bonding time for mother and daughter.

As for product recommendations, I would be concerned about putting strong ingredients on her delicate skin. If you are using Johnson & Johnson's Baby Shampoo, this is a rather drying shampoo. Maybe look into Free & Clear Shampoo and Conditioners. They are fragrance free to minimize sensitivity reactions. The drugstore should have them; perhaps call first.

For rinsing, a shower sprayer works really well. Have your daughter hold a folded washcloth over her eyes while you rinse.

When your daughter approaches puberty, her hair texture will probably change from fine and thin to thick and coarse; if it does she will need more emollient, heavier conditioners.

You may find the following link helpful: This is a very warm, welcoming community who would love to answer your hair questions! HTH! J12

Spiral perm for Asian hair

Feb 2005

Hi, does anyone know of a hairdresser that gives a really good spiral perm, preferably in the Oakland/Berkeley area? I've searched this website and read almost all recommendations for hairdressers, but mainly they are referrals to hairstylists who cut hair really well. I have short shoulder-length, super straight, smooth and flat Asian hair, and I'm very interested in getting a spiral perm to get a nice mop of curls and body. My current hairstylist cuts my hair and my daughter's hair but doesn't perm. Kim Recommended:

Hairdresser for Asian Hair

May 2004

I desperately want a new style but I have that straight, never, ever going to be wavy Asian hair. I have had the same style for about 10 years and would love something new and flattering. I am toying with the idea of having bangs. I would love any recommendations for a person that not only cuts but understands Asian hair as well as knowing what could really look good without having to be the latest in hair fashion. Thank you!

Recommendations received: