Unique salons in Singapore offering one-of-a-kind hair, massage, and hand-poked tattoo services: Salon 916, Standard Tattoo Co., etc

Unique salons in Singapore offering one-of-a-kind hair, massage, and hand-poked tattoo services: Salon 916, Standard Tattoo Co., etc

Local heroes

Text: Emily Heng

If there's anything we've discovered in our extensive travels, it is that each country brings forth its idiosyncratic recipe of inimitable beauty services, experiences, and locales. Seoul boasts immersive, visually stunning concept stores; Finland is recognised for its unorthodox saunas; and Thailand is the undisputed destination for massages. What does Singapore have to offer? Plenty — if you know where to look. Lucky for you, we certainly do. Boot up your maps app, folks, because we've tracked down the most unique salons, services, and set-ups for all viewing — and visiting — purposes.

Winn's Home Salon

What can you find: Is there anything more reflective of the true Singaporean experience than hanging out at a HDB flat? Regarded as a typical living space amongst us locals, it is also home (literally) to Winn's Home Salon. The maisonette in Tampines features a fully-equipped parlour — think shampoo chairs, steam machines, and the like — enclosed within a single room.
Why should you go: The privacy it offers makes it a popular choice amongst conservative Muslim women who prefer an environment without men around. Owner Winnie Lai ensures that it's a safe space by accepting only female clientele. Prices begin from $9 for a haircut and go up to $60 for highlights. Considering how this nook fits only three customers at a time, we recommend making an appointment before dropping by.
Where is it: Blk 245 Tampines Street 21, S(521245)

[No name roadside barber]

What can you find: While there is no shortage of hipster barber joints on our shores, roadside barbers are a rarity in recent times. Still, those seeking a no-fuss, no-frills haircut and shave can turn to Mr Lee Yuan Dong, one of the surviving few who have set up 'shop' along the back alleys of Telok Ayer Street.
Why should you go: Reasonable pricing aside (haircuts are $6), you'll also be supporting a dying trade. Not forgetting, of course, Mr Lee's knack for stellar shaves, cuts, and trims with a single-blade razor — the man has 55 years of experience, mind.
Where is it: Telok Ayer Street. You should able to spot his set-up at the Boon Tat Street cross junction.

Salon 916

What you can find: Joo Chiat dwellers are sure to recognise its cherry red store-front and bold signage. Aptly named after the street it is on, Salon 916 is revered for their extensive menu of hair, nail, and massage services beginning at just $15.
Why you should go: If the five-star reviews on their Facebook page don't manage to convince you, their eyeball massages just might. Yeah, you read that right. Scalp, neck, and face massages are on the table, too, but opt for their signature treatment, where a technician skillfully kneads, rubs, and works their fingers along your eye area for a solid 10 minutes.
Where is it: 916 East Coast Road, S(459109)

The Standard Tattoo Co.

What can you find: Before tattoo guns, laying down ink in one one's skin involved nothing but a needle, precision, and a heck lot of patience. Known as hand-poked tattoos, artists jab, poke, and prod with just the right amount of pressure to create super-fine, intricate designs — most of which are impossible to replicate with machinery.
Why should you go: The Standard Tattoo Co. is one of the few parlours in Singapore that still practices the stick-and-poke method. Specialising in clean, innovative, and 'raw' designs, you're sure to get a unique piece that bucks convention in terms of both process and result.
Where is it: 801 North Bridge Road, S(198769)