Moving to any city presents a to-do list that involves finding the services on which our lives depend. Convenience, cost, quality of service are the usual criteria employed in making our choice. Moving to Beijing adds an additional criterion – do the people providing the service speak English?
I needed to find a hairdresser and am of an age where I need to have my “rust spots” touched up on a regular basis in order to look presentable and a little younger than my years.
An initial search before moving to China centered on Wella and its website threw up the Eric Paris salon.
Eric Paris, I ask you! Next we will be having a Jack London, George Washington and Irving Berlin.
With a name like Eric Paris, I figured that the salon would likely charge top dollar but if the people spoke English, carried familiar hair products and did a good job, it would be a price worth paying.
Once in Beijing and the need to find a hairdresser becoming more pressing, I did a little more research and found an article on eChinacities.com about foreign-friendly hairdressers. Once again the name of Eric Paris cropped up but so did a number of alternatives.
In terms of convenience, Sanlitun is my preferred location and the article not only mentioned Eric Paris but also Julie’s Salon, which received a good review. A quick check on Google Maps revealed that they are roughly equidistant from the Tuanjiehu Line 10 subway station.
On Saturday, I set off to check them out and book an appointment. I headed for Julie’s Salon first, I was having problems with my iPhone and needed to call in at the Apple Store at Sanlitun Village, which is on the way to Julie’s Salon.
The salon is located at the Workers Stadium, between Gates 9 and 10. I walked in and was greeted by Julie, an attractive and charming woman, with an excellent command of English. We looked at color charts – I had the mix from my previous hairdresser but one of the colors does not feature in China – and discussed prices.
The first time was going to cost more than subsequent visits. Julie explained the technicalities and they made sense to me. First time, with a haircut, would come to 588 yuan ($95.50), a little more expensive than what I used to pay in Jacksonville.
I did check out a Chinese hairdresser’s five-minutes walk from my apartment and was quoted 400 yuan ($65) for color and a haircut. But no one spoke English, they called a customer to translate, and it quickly became apparent that it could be an experience fraught with difficulties.
The extra $35 at Julie’s was worth it for the peace of mind of being able to communicate. Besides, on my next visit the price will fall by 100 yuan and the cost will be $79.
Julie could fit me in there and then, so I went ahead.
She delivered an excellent haircut. It really does look good and I am well pleased. The color is a little darker than what it was before for the reason I explained above but it matches my eyebrows so looks natural.
We enjoyed a pleasant conversation — maybe not up to the standards of Courtney at Salon On The Square, San Marco, Jacksonville, but Courtney is one in a million. After the cut, I sat back and relaxed in the tastefully decorated salon, with a can of Coke. Drinks are not included; the Coke cost 5 yuan.
Anyone who has recently moved to Beijing and is worried about finding a good hairdresser, your worries will end with a visit to Julie’s Salon at the Workers Stadium, Sanlitun.
Tel: 136 0137 1790
Monday 1:00 – 8:00 pm.
Tuesday to Sunday 9:30 am – 8:00 pm.