You know how I always complain about how the number one question I get when visitors – especially of the ABC variety – come back for the holidays or for extended visits is: “Where should I party in Taipei?” and then I wrote a post about it? I lied – the number one question I get asked is actually: “Can you recommend a good salon in Taipei”? Taipei is rife with hair salons (I have been waiting to use that word for a while). The alleyways of Zhongshan and Shida Night Market are lined with salon after salon. It can be overwhelming to choose – they are not always cheap; and there’s the question of quality. The most expensive salons in the city are in 東區, or the East District – and it’s considered something of an honor for a hair stylist to finally “make it” to that fiercely competitive district.
Every man, woman and child in my family has been going to the same salon for nearly a decade – and I suffered through years of pretty-awful haircuts and dyes until I decide that it was time for me to leave the nest, and find my own hairdresser. I was recommended to go to TONY (his personal page) at AFLOAT TAIPEI – a salon based out of Japan whose Taipei headquarters are in the East District (where all the good salons are, tbh).
I came to Tony with two reference photos, which I’ve included because it still amazes me how close the final product is to my references. Let’s be real – that’s pretty rare. I wanted to do balayage, which is basically getting really soft, natural-looking highlights to achieve a subtle ombre. (Note: My hair was already a bit ombre since I had been diving in Panama nearly every day for almost a month, so it wasn’t completely black Asian hair).
I first showed Tony the top photo. He was honest in warning me that even using a extra-high-quality bleach mix and the OLAPLEX treatment system (important to keep from frying your hair), it would probably would be risky to bleach my hair more than once in a session. I then showed him the second photo; he said that it was much more realistic, but he would make sure that the final, straight-outta-salon product wouldn’t look as orange than the second reference picture – a concern of mine. He bleached my hair once, using the balayage method to highlight sections of my hair; and then did another layer of dye for color correction to minimize the orange.
THE FINISHED PRODUCT
I mean, shit – why type on when pictures speak a thousand words, or so they say? VOILA. The final result as I walked out the salon; (well, not before I took shameless advantage of their amazing selfie lighting in their mirrors). You might notice that the ends look a bit darker and quite grey; Tony specifically did that because the dark “cover” will fade each time I shower; until it settles into a non-brassy, cool-toned blonde (hopefully! Fingers crossed). I LOVE IT.
WHAT I LOOK FOR IN A HAIR STYLIST
• LISTEN TO WHAT I WANT, DAMMIT
No matter how much you stress that you only want, “oh, about 2 inches” taken off your ends, most hair stylists at local places will definitely take off DOUBLE the amount. Or basically just do the only style that they know how to do – usually cutesy-Chinese-Korean one-tone reddish wispy deal – on my non-cutesy-face. It’s not pretty.
• ENGLISH-SPEAKING HAIR STYLIST
Tony worked in Australia before he moved back to Taipei, so that means he not only speaks English, but is very familiar working with non-Asian hair. (He told me that he’d do 3-4 balayage sessions a day in Australia, all on non-Asian hair).
• CONCERN FOR HAIR HEALTH
Tony was pretty upfront about the fact that the final product THAT DAY wouldn’t look like my first, grey-toned reference photo. He pulled up some balayage-experts’ Instagrams and explained that although it seems like the hair was all done in one session, it was most likely achieved over the course of several months, where the hair color could recover in between; and especially for Asian hair; the hair is much harder to bleach.
BOOK WITH TONY
The best way to book is just to message him on his personal page in English or Chinese. When you message or call to book, be sure to mention that you heard about him through Stephanie, aka ME! He’ll take good care of you.
• Tony’s personal Page: afloat taipei髮型師tony x hairstylist
• AFLOAT Taipei general salon page
• Call: 02-27520051 OR 02-27520053
• Address: 大安區敦化南路一段252巷34號2樓