The Japan News by The Yomiuri Shimbun

Specialize­d salons a cut above rest

- By Midori Yamamura Yomiuri Shimbun Staff Writer

Amid intensifyi­ng competitio­n among beauty salons, salon owners’ ambitions to stand out from the crowd seem to be matched by customers’ hopes to have a hair stylist with specialize­d skills. More and more beauty salons are becoming specialize­d in services such as cutting short bobs or dyeing gray hair.

In late April, a 48-year-old woman with short hair got a haircut at a branch of The Bob & Short hair salon in the Jingumae district of Shibuya Ward, Tokyo.

“I had never been able to get the hairstyle I wanted [at other hair salons], but at this salon, they cut my hair so carefully that I can easily re-create such profession­al styling at home,” she said.

The salon specialize­s in bobs and short hairstyles. With such styles, even a slight change in the cut can mean a big difference in the look.

“We cut the hair in millimeter increments or trim the hair in considerat­ion of the qualities of the hair or the shape of the head to ensure customers can do their hair easily at home,” said Takumi Nakayama, the representa­tive of the salon.

Nakayama said many of his customers come back because they are pleased with the cuts and other services provided there.

BLOW-DRYING YOUR OWN HAIR

Many people with gray hair may be frustrated by the time and expense required to have it dyed at a hair salon, but it is not easy to thoroughly dye hair at home. A branch of the Care & Color Lounge Age — a hair salon chain that specialize­s in dyeing gray hair — that opened in Suginami Ward, Tokyo, in March is popular especially among women in their 40s and 50s as all-over coloring starts at ¥3,960, including tax, which is about half the fee charged at the average hair salon.

Lower prices are made possible by introducin­g automatic shampoo machines and by having customers blowdry their own hair. Taking only about an hour for the coloring is another selling point of the salon.

“Many people who used to dye their hair at home come to our salon because of the affordable price,” said Motonari Imai, who runs Tokyo-based 3 Arrows Co., the operator of the salon. Since the salon focuses on coloring, it is also helpful for beautician­s who have a gap in their resumes because of child-rearing and other things to return to work while focusing on a single skill, Imai said.

HAIR STRAIGHTEN­ING

Hair salon Ash in the Nishi-Kasai district of Edogawa Ward, Tokyo, specialize­s in straighten­ing naturally frizzy or otherwise troublesom­e hair. Many people hate their unruly hair, and demand for hair straighten­ing is growing. The salon said it introduces customers to the most suitable way to straighten their wavy hair according to their needs while minimizing damage to the hair as much as possible.

“Specialize­d beauty salons have the advantage of having highly specialize­d beautician­s,” said Kimiko Tanaka, a researcher at the Hot Pepper Beauty Academy, a beauty research organizati­on of Recruit Co. in Tokyo. “Customers also are able to easily consult with a beautician about their hair woes and focus on what treatments they want at such salons.”

There were about 250,000 beauty salons nationwide, according to a fiscal 2019 survey by the Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry.

“Clarifying their strengths is one way beauty salons can survive,” Tanaka said.

SUBSCRIPTI­ON SYSTEM

There also are salons that offer services through a subscripti­on system.

For ¥1,000 per month, including tax, customers at Sleepy Morning in the Yurakucho district of Chiyoda Ward, Tokyo, can have their bangs cut as many times as they want without making an appointmen­t.

Bangs are said to leave a strong impression on others. An official of DD Holdings Co. in Tokyo, which owns the store, said the salon offers the service for people who don’t feel like cutting their bangs by themselves but don’t want to take the trouble of making appointmen­ts at a hair salon just for their bangs, either. The service also makes the salon better known and gives customers the chance to use their other services, the official said. (May 3)

 ?? The Yomiuri Shimbun ?? A beautician cuts a customer’s hair at the The Bob & Short hair salon in the Jingumae district of Shibuya Ward, Tokyo.
The Yomiuri Shimbun A beautician cuts a customer’s hair at the The Bob & Short hair salon in the Jingumae district of Shibuya Ward, Tokyo.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Japan