Hair Salons in Seoul

Here’s the post I promised (I often promise posts and get side tracked, but I was determined to do this one!) — a complete guide to finding and visiting a hair salon in Seoul.

Many people want to cut their hair when they visit Korea, as it’s cheaper and caters more to their hair style tastes. I’m always asked the same thing from readers and friends about it, so here we go!

1) Where to Go
2) FAQ
3) Korean Hair Salon Vocabulary + Common Phrases

 

Where to go 찾아가~

 

Where should I go?
University areas offer the best price for quality (just think students on a budget). There are lots of salons around 이대 (Ehwa Women’s University, subway station). Color dye + cuts are around $30 there.

If you want middle to upper scale, try visiting 강남 (Kangnam; also good for night life, drinking, and clubs). Expect $40~ for a cut; $100~ for dye. However, most people on a short trip to Korea don’t usually have time to visit Kangnam, as it’s not a common touristy area.

You can also find all ranges of salons in 명동 (Myungdong), the most touristy shopping area so you don’t have to make a separate trip for your hair. You can easily tell from the outer appearance of a salon what the price range is.

Hair salons are almost everywhere. Just keep your eyes peeled!

 

Where do the celebrities go? I want to visit my Kpop band’s salon!
Most celebrities go to luxury beauty salons located in 압구정 (Apgujong). Apgujong is the high class area of Seoul, where the rich and famous usually dwell.

Side note: I rarely visit Apgujong, but of the few times I did, I actually saw 신애 (Shinae) from We Got Married (as Alex’s “wife”) at a pet store with her dog and real husband. If you walk around the area while looking for a beauty salon, it’s very possible to even run into a celeb!

 

Where do you go?
I go to Aka Hair at 천호 (Cheonho) station on the pink #8 line, exit 2, walk straight about a block or two and it’s on your left, 2nd floor, with the main street on your right, across from Hyundai Department Store.

seoul hair salons, aka hair, korean hair salons
www.akahair.com – click for a Korean map

Above is their business card, with the name of the hair dresser who did my hair once, and the times he works. However, I am not recommending any specific hair dressers because there has never been one I liked enough, but overall, I like the price, service, product quality, and hair cut results.

I’ve dyed and cut my hair about 6-7 times over 3 years at Aka Hair, always making an effort to go out of my way there. They claim to be a celebrity hair salon (though I doubt it), with a clean and spacious interior, both young and older hair dressers and customers, and is usually quite busy, especially during peak hours.

 

Can you suggest any more specific salons?
I am not very adventurous when it comes to salons, so I cannot personally recommend any more salons.

Instead, I can only recommend that you keep your eyes peeled, walk into a salon, and don’t be afraid to ask for the prices. If you don’t like what you see, it’s perfectly fine to walk back out (that’s what I did before finding my salon!).

If you live in Korea with a phone, and are too shy to walk in, call them instead to ask for prices. Their phone number is often listed on the hanging store name signs.

seoul hair salons, myungdong hair salons, korean hair salons
random hair salons in Myungdong (명동)

Would you be able to spot all the salons without the yellow star to indicate? XD

Just look for the word “hair” or “헤어” in English or Korean (more vocab below).

 

 

FAQ 궁굼해!

How much does it cost?
It depends on where you go and the length of your hair.

I always go for middle-scale salons, so hair cuts are 15,000 won ($14 USD) and color dye, essence treatment, or perms are around 50,000 won ($45).

About 10,000 won is added per 2 inch for hair below shoulder length.

More on hair dye costs below.

 

Can they speak English?
Foreign based salons like Toni&Guy probably can, but why would you go to Korea to get your hair cut at Toni&Guy?

Upper scale Korean salons like Juno Hair might speak a little.

Chinese mandarin or Japanese speakers may want to hit up 명동 (Myungdong) salons as the area caters largely to Chinese/Japanese tourists and many employees can speak it almost perfectly.

My advice to you is to just choose the salon you like, bring a few photos, and be very descriptive, use simple English, and a lot of body language. Try to ask for a stylist who speaks a little of your language when you enter the salon.

You can also use the vocabulary + common phrases I offer at the end of this post!

 

Can I perm my hair like the celebrities?
The wavy hair you see on most Korean actresses are actually not perms, but curls created by a curling iron. It is a temporary curl, not a permanent perm.

Consult your stylist to try and get the closest perm to what you want. There are many kinds of perms, wave perms, volume perms, etc.

I’ve never permed by hair before, only asked about it and seen my Korean friend’s hair, so I’m not really an expert in this area. I’m more of a hair color girl.

 

What services does a hair cut / dye / perm include? Do I pay extra for wash + dry? Does it include anything else?

Korean salons charge separately for wash and dry. Aka Hair charges $3 for hair wash + dry.

All color dye jobs includes cut + wash + dry + curling/styling. I’ve never permed my hair before but it will include at least a wash and dry.

A really special service offered at Aka Hair (I’m not sure if it’s same everywhere) is that after a 50,000+ won dye job, they will curl your hair for free.

Even when my hair was super long, and it took an extra 30 minutes after a 3 hour dye + wash + cut + dry job, the hair dresser still offered to curl my hair for me using a curling iron (NOT a permanent perm!).

cut hair in seoul, haircuts in korea, seoul hair salons, aka hair, korean hair salons
Top: pictures taken shortly after a hair cut at Aka Hair
Bottom: after hair dye + cut + curl at Aka Hair

 

What hair dye products do they use? How do they charge for longer hair? What is the price range?
The salon I go to offers 3 different costs and dye quality — 30,000 won ($27 USD), 50,000 won ($45) and 80,000 won ($72). I always go for the 50,000 won, which is L’oreal. I’m not sure what other salons use.

Remember, these prices are just minimal costs. About 10,000 won ($9) is added for every 2 inches for hair below shoulder length. When my hair was the length of the picture above, top right, it costed 80,000 won to dye.

Root touch-ups for hair dye is the same as the minimal cost. So, root touchups cost the same as dying your hair if it is above shoulder length.

 

Do hair salons also do makeup?
Not the lower to middle scale salons. If you want to have your makeup done by a professional makeup artist, you are probably looking for a higher end beauty salon, not a hair salon.

High end salons in 앞구정 is where all the celebrities go to do their makeup and hair.

 

What other services do hair salons offer?
Basic nail art prices are usually decent at hair salons. They may also do eyebrow bleaching. Wedding or special occasion hair styling is often available as well.

 

Do I have to pay tips?
Usually, you never pay tips in Korean restaurants, for food delivery, or most other things.

I usually never pay tips at Aka Hair because I never have a stylist I like and will return to (and I’m cheap, bleh =p). However, I have seen a guy pay tips before. Also, the hair dresser always unnecessarily stands behind the counter with the cashier as you pay. It’s part of the payment procedure and they are most likely hoping for tips.

Tipping is not a common custom in Korea, so you won’t get any dirty looks if you decide to go tight on your wallet. However, for a stylist I want to return to, I would tip for better service next time. Remember to get a business card and ask for the name and working time of the hair dresser!

 

 

Vocabulary + Common phrases 배우자 ^^

Here is just a list of very basic vocabulary and simple phrases.

There’s really no way I can teach you how to describe all the possible things you can want in a hair cut, but hopefully with a few main vocab & phrases, pictures of the hairstyle you want, and good body language, you can get the point across.

If you have absolutely no Korean ability and don’t think that you can even pronounce these phrases properly, I suggest you just print the chart out (Save Image As), bring it along with you, and point to it!

hair salon korean vocabulary, hair cut common korean phrases, cut hair in seoul, haircuts in korea, seoul hair salons, aka hair, korean hair salons

Good luck, and do share with me if you ever have a chance to cut your hair in Korea or uses any of the vocab or phrases ^^

  • Joanne

    I’ll just bring you along as a translator next time so I don’t need to learn those phrases. Heehee…
    Detailed info. Loving it!

    • frostedsnow

      lol you are so lazy! and doing our hair together will be just like doing our nails! it’d be great cuz i always sit there for 3-4 hours with no one to talk to, and I don’t like talking to hair dressers!

  • rielle

    OOOH HAIR SALONS~
    Kkk. There’s Toni&Guy here in the Philippines, and I really wanna try having my haircut on that place one day~ ^-^ I just need to earn, kk. Too pricy~ @_@

    And I’mma try to study those words you posted. ^-^

    • frostedsnow

      They are everywhere! I just saw one in Vancouver recently. I’ve never been there but I don’t think I will ever want to pay up for it! =p

  • http://everyday-outfits.com Joey

    Oooooh such a comprehensive post. If I ever visit Korea, I’d definitely use this post to help me find good salons.

    I know that most celebs do temporary curls with a curling iron, but I heard it’s now possible to get those wavy curls permanently. I’d rather have that then those close, tight curls

    • frostedsnow

      Hi Joey~! ^^ I have an unnie do that wave/curly perm permanently but I hear you gotta let it loosen up so you might have very tight (slightly ajumma? =p) curls for a bit at first! Eek!

  • shuie

    unnie~ this is a great post! i always have so many friends who say they wanna get a haircut when they go Korea! haha think this will be real helpful :) )

    • frostedsnow

      I’m so glad Shuie! Thank you for recommending to them ^^

  • sepid

    hi guys..i need salon for eyebrow cleaning ..you know what i mean? shaping eyebrows? where can i find one?

    • frostedsnow

      Sorry, I’m not sure T_T You may be looking for a 미용실 (beauty salon) though. I’m pretty sure they would do it for you. Just keep your eyes peeled for those signs or do a little research online first ^^

  • MsCarito09

    Hello, very interesting information. Thank you for sharing. But I have one more question: Besides the dye, do they also offer highlights?

    • http://frostedsnow.com/ frostedsnow

      Of course! Highlights are not that difficult or uncommon of a thing to do. I would assume it’s just like salons back home.

  • Vee

    You mentioned that a color+cut around Ewha might be approximately 30,000 won…Would you happen to know a specific salon that has those prices? I cut my hair recently at a salon near Ewha and it was 15,000 won but they charged 60,000 won for color. Please help! I’m a poor college kid who just wants to dye my hair bright red kkkk

    • http://frostedsnow.com/ frostedsnow

      I’m sorry I don’t know any specific salons in Ewha because I always visit my regular salon elsewhere. However, Korean salons seem to offer a range of dye quality. So, at my regular salon, the range goes from 30,000, 50,000, and 80,000. When you ask for prices, they usually quote the middle range one. Try asking around a few more salons (which is perfectly fine to just walk in, inquire, and walk out) and ask for price ranges.

  • Eugi

    Haha i love love love going to Juno.
    The one in seolleung and gangnam was good!!
    They can speak English there but can’t expect them to be fluent.

    Hm..haha I remember bumping into Shinae with you at the pet store in Apgu!! Hahahaha

    • http://frostedsnow.com/ frostedsnow

      I think they are too pricey for me! I heard dying my hair (long back then) would be like $100 base fee??

      Oooohhh my gosh yes. That was so cool too since back then she just finished WGM not long ago, and I loved that show!

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  • Tps

    Hi there! Do you know how to say something like “My hair is very fine and flat, so I don’t want too much layering.”? Anyway your review is really useful! (:

    • http://frostedsnow.com/ frostedsnow

      My Korean is not perfect but I would say something like this “머리가락이 되게 얇고 볼룸 별로 없어서 너무 레이어링 많이 해 주지 마세요” (meorigarak-gi dwege yalggo bollyum byeollo eopseoseo neomu re-i-eoring mani hae juji maseyo)

      I just used “re-i-eoring” as layering. Lots of Konglish is used for hair stuff XD If you say it in a very konglish way, they should understand. but if you can’t speak Korean well, I would just write that sentence down and show it to them XD

  • jess

    hi have you ever gotten the magic perm? i want a cheap, but decent place. i know juno hair salon and places like that charges 300,000 won and thats way too expensive, esp since i always get mine in china for soo much cheaper. i know there’s places for 150,000 or less so i want something like that. if you can recommend any, that’d be helpful. i don’t speak korean, but i know english and chinese so any of those would work. thanks!

    • http://frostedsnow.com/ frostedsnow

      Why don’t you try calling the salon I recommended here to ask about magic perm. I think they said perming shoulder length hair is like 80,000 but I can’t remember.

  • tictac688

    hi Frosted Snow, thanks for this blog. I will be in Seoul for the first time next week. I hope to get a low cost colour touch up and even trim.

    • http://frostedsnow.com/ frostedsnow

      Np : ) If you don’t end up going to the salon I posted about, I hope you find a good one. Please come back to let me know where you went and whether it was good or not : )

  • Yewan

    My favourite to go was Charlie’s on ‘Coffee-Prince Street’ in Seokyo-dong. It was easy to get to from Hongdae/ik Stn (ex. 2 I think)

  • Kat

    I like Korean Salons. I went to Juno this summer. I wanted to go from my natural dark brown. (Chocolate) to blond. I do this most summers in the States. My hair was maybe 2 or 3 inches past my shoulders in the back. It took 2 dye sessions and 2 scalp treatments because the blonding process was so hard. 360,000 won! Roughly $350 USD. I was dumbfounded.
    It was gorgeous and hair cuts at Juno’s are normally very affordable around 30,000 won $27 USD. Get a price quote for your hair thickness and length first. They are excellent but was not Cheap.

    Juno Hair Hajeong on green line 2.

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  • Rachel

    Hi, I don’t know what are chances of you replying to this since you wrote this ages ago but I’ll try asking anyway. Lol. Do you know how to say “What do you think suits my face? Because I have very flat and fine hair”? Thanks a lot!

    • http://frostedsnow.com/ frostedsnow

      This may not be perfect, but…

      What kind of hairstyle suits my face?
      제 얼굴이랑 어떤 머리 스타일 어울려요?
      I have fine hair without volume.
      머리카락이 얇고 볼륨 없어요.

      If your hair is flat you can say it has no volume. I’m not sure exactly what “flat” for hair would be in Korean.

      Good luck!

  • Erika

    Hi,
    I just wanted to warn anyone reading this about going to a salon in Myeongdong called Marshall Salon – it’s on the same street as Franck Provost. I just got my roots done there and they have completely ruined my hair and my scalp. I have had my hair blonde for two years and never have I experienced anything close to this. I now have burns on my head from the amount of bleach that they used and all over my hair, which didn’t need to be done but I thought I would let them do their job because they’re supposed to be professionals, my hair was then unnecessarily an ugly yellow blonde. I complained so then they dyed my hair to a grey green colour, which is supposed to fade when I wash it to a nice blonde, like a girl that worked there. All up they charged me 290,000 won, when they first quoted me 170,000 won. I also had to put a deposit down when I made the appointment of 50,000 won.

    After going home, my boyfriend looked at my head and scalp and realised that I had spots of red and pus. We decided to go back and complain. The hairdresser there did not see it as her fault and said it was natural because I had dandruff, after ridiculing me and laughing at me while I cried. We eventually got half of our money back but it wasn’t worth the trauma. I am now looking for a doctor for treatment.

    I hope this helps others that may have been thinking about that salon.

    • tictac688

      Hope you get your scalp and hair back in shape soon. All the best.

      @tictac688:disqus

    • http://frostedsnow.com/ frostedsnow

      I’m sorry you had such a terrible experience, Ericka! Thank you for sharing with us. Is your scalp okay now? I think because bleaching is not commonly done, but they always seem rather reluctant to do it and honestly, I don’t trust others to bleach my hair now that I’ve done it myself!

  • jessica ann

    this has been really helpful!! would you know how to ask for just a wash and blow dry? i had my hair dyed a couple of weeks ago but unfortunately she only ran the blow dryer over it, it wasn’t a proper dry which was a bummer because it’s about the only time my hair gets blown out. so im just wondering how i can ask for it when i go to get my bangs cut! thanks again for the great post!

    • http://frostedsnow.com/ frostedsnow

      You can say 머리 말라주세요 (mori mallajuseyo) which means “Please dry my hair”. If you say 드라이 they might confuse that with curling. I have no idea why Koreans call curling your hair the English equivalent of “dry”.

      Or, you can use a lot of body language? I think that’s the best! And they should already wash and dry your hair, and even shape and curl it for you if you dyed it! Unless you did it for super cheap, whenever I dye my hair at Aka Hair (or the few others places I remember), in Korea, that always includes a wash and dry! And at Aka, they always offer to curl it too! I sometimes refuse just because I may be heading home and don’t need the extra damage to my hair.

      Good luck!