China’s hair­cut heav­ens

Global Times – Metro Beijing - - TWO CENTS - By Daniel Otero

Ahair­cut isn’t just a hair­cut in China. It is an al­most oth­er­worldly ex­pe­ri­ence. En­ter­ing an es­tab­lish­ment is al­ways a rush. I am quickly es­corted to one of a row of chairs in­side the beauty salon where I get a sham­poo.

The “washer” sham­poos my hair, giv­ing me a slow but en­tranc­ing scalp mas­sage for the first five min­utes. It’s so in­tense that I close my eyes and quickly be­gin to snore. She takes a cool 10 min­utes just to pam­per my salt-and-pep­per hair, com­pletely re­lax­ing me.

Next, we move to the bar­ber’s chair. My hair­style hasn’t changed much over the years, so I go for my “fash­ion­able” crew cut. The beauty con­sul­tant lit­er­ally dances around me as tea is brought for me to sip dur­ing my hair­cut.

When he’s done, I am es­corted back to the sink for an­other wash and scalp mas­sage. It feels lovely for this of­ten stressed out New Yorker.

Af­ter­ward, I am made to fol­low a young lady to a de­li­cious sur­prise, an­other mas­sage! She be­gins with an in­tense five-minute scalp mas­sage be­fore mov­ing to my shoul­ders and arms all the way down my el­bows to my lower arms and end­ing at my hands – stretch­ing and re­leas­ing my ten­dons.

It is a some­what weird but de­light­ful feel­ing.

They then ask me if I want what trans­lates into an earclean­ing mas­sage. I say, “Yes.”

She goes into my ears with a Q-tip to clean out the wax. Talk about a wacky ex­pe­ri­ence. The in­ten­sity is a lit­tle strange at first. But I soon get ac­cus­tomed to it. An ear clean­ing mas­sage isn’t for ev­ery­body, but for me it’s fun.

This is what a beauty salon in China is all about! From salon hair­cuts and chair mas­sages in Shaox­ing to full body mas­sages in Ningbo, Zhe­jiang Prov­ince, th­ese have been some of my best ex­pe­ri­ences in China.

The aver­age cost of any of th­ese ser­vices can range from 50 yuan (US 7.6) to 120 yuan de­pend­ing on the city. For me, it’s not so much the price but the qual­ity of the ser­vice that mat­ters.

Back in the US, it’s just a sim­ple wash and cut and rarely, if at all, a shoul­der mas­sage. It costs the equiv­a­lent of 330 yuan, and af­ter­ward, you’re pushed out the door.

There­fore, I sug­gest that while in China you find your­self a fa­vorite salon and make it your sec­ond home. You’ll see what I mean.

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