Let's get one thing straight: Not all hair gloss treatments are created equal. As a beauty writer who has been bleaching her hair and sporting pastel hues for the better part of 2017 till this very sentence, I'd like to think I've passed the probationary period to qualify as a full-fledged member of the unicorn hair sorority — and with it a discernment for ranking hair treatments on a scale of one to ten.
And with a no-holds-barred attitude when it comes to sporting a fresh shade every three months or so when my unicorn hair got to the end of its shelf life, I was due to top up my tresses when the spanking new Mi the Salon opened its doors at Ion Orchard (great timing!), launching right off the bat with a signature treatment dubbed the Korean Gloss Anti-Frizz Treatment. Colour me intrigued — and just the teeniest bit of a sucker for the Korean label slapped on there — and it wasn't long before I booked myself in to give it a whirl. So is everything dubbed Korean better? Yes, and yes. Or at least, it is the case with this particular hair gloss treatment (disclaimer: Yours truly is not a diehard hallyu fanatic. I just know a lot of facts about K-pop.)
As I'm sat there in a cushy chair having a consultation with Mi the Salon's founder and director Gary Chew — the very same hair guru behind the wildly popular Salon Vim, if you're thinking his name rings a bell — I'm simultaneously taking in the super chic ambiance while getting a 101 in hair theory as he talks me through the treatment process. Apparently, the Korean Gloss is an exclusive trademark limited to Chew's establishments; it's a treatment handed down from a hairstylist pal in the States who created it in Koreatown where it's requested for among the Americans like hotcakes. And hence the name Korean Gloss... and surprise surprise, it doesn't actually originate from Korea.
Touted as a hybrid treatment with multi-benefits, a Korean Gloss will see your mane becoming stronger, shinier, and fuller when you leave the salon as its a treatment that has been designed to fill in the hollow portions of the hair fibres, strengthening your overall hair health. Which is great for bleached hair that's been stripped till it's brittle. Plus, it has the versatility to be combined with additional treatments if need be depending on your hair issues.
Once I've nailed down my new unicorn hair colour, my hair transformation began by bleaching the grown-out roots. And though I've steeled myself for the inevitable painful prickling that's par for the course when you're getting a bleach, I was totally chuffed to find out that it didn't sting at all because Mi the Salon utilises a water-based peroxide that isn't as harsh compared to most bleaching agents. Also, every hairstylist there has been trained to wield bleach like a pro, and their trick is to leave the smallest millimetre off from the base of the roots so that the bleach doesn't actually contact the scalp. They let the water-based formula do the job, as it'll seep in eventually while it cures.
With the bleach doing its thing, I then get a dose of L'Oréal Smartbond, which acts on the existing keratin in your hair to bond the fibres on top of injecting extra keratin to create more bonds. Essentially, it's like a much-needed nutritional boost to combat the brittleness of bleached hair by filling up all those exposed spots where the cuticle layers have lifted up and away. I also get a blast of steam to help open up my hair fibres so that the treatment can really get right in there. This is followed by a rinse after I sat through the requisite waiting time, before the dye goes on. I've gone for a cool-toned, silvery purple to debut at CNY since I've done and dusted the usual reds and pinks, with a softer lilac that sports metallic undertones for the crown — a customised blend suggested by Chew. That man knows his colours.
Then it's getting trussed up in foil and waiting out the dye before I zip off for a final wash and shampoo, replete with a head massage. A quick blow dry later, the last step of the Korean Gloss treatment goes on, which is a spray solution that deposits minerals into the hair. This is liberally spritzed everywhere, with my assigned hairstylist meticulously working through layer from layer to ensure every strand has been coated. One heated curling iron and several waves later, my refreshed unicorn hair is ready to hit the streets. The end result — besides being ridiculously pretty and garnering OMGs from colleagues, random strangers in town, and even the Cheers convenience store auntie — is a head of stronger, healthier hair where I can physically feel the increased thickness in the texture, as well as a shinier and smoother look true to its anti-frizz claims.
Just note you'll be instructed to strictly lay off washing your hair for the next three days to allow the treatment to be fully absorbed into the strands. It's but a small trade-off in order to have a head of on-fleek unicorn hair; you'll just have to get cosy with a can of dry shampoo. So the verdict from one to ten, my fellow unicorn sisters (and wannabe initiates)? A whopping ten out of ten, and then some. Go get K-glossified, I say.
The Korean Gloss Anti-Frizz Treatment (from $218) is available at Mi the Salon, located at Ion Orchard Level 3-19, and Salon Vim. Call 6884 7757 make an appointment.