The Fluxus House Singapore review: My experience dyeing and cutting my hair at a salon slash art gallery
Snip snip bish
Far be it for me to claim my experiences universal, but I'd hardly think it's atypical to commemorate momentous life events with a present (or two). At seven, I was rewarded a Kinder Bueno duo pack after acing my math test. At twelve, a puppy, for better-than-expected PSLE — that's Singapore's national exam, for the uninformed — results. At seventeen, the best gift of all: a box of bleach and a tint brush.
That's right, I was one of those. I shed my school spirit upon graduation, leaving behind one blue pinafore, nubby socks, and responsible hair choices. After years of enforced black hair and bangs that didn't touch the brows, I was all-set to sprint to the opposite end of the spectrum. I wanted bright, carrot-top locks in the vein of Hayley Williams. I had Avril Lavigne's pink-streaked mane tacked up on my vision board (this was a time before Pinterest, folks). I was all about anarchy, Green Day, and doing what was outside the box. So, naturally, this involved dunking my tresses in a vat of peroxide — and I haven't looked back since.
Still, I've come a long way from my fledgling days of home bleach solutions and box dyes. As I grew in age, so did my financial capabilities — alongside a willingness to spend when it came to colouring my mane. By the time I turned twenty, I've ticked off close to all primary and secondary colours on the wheel. I was a bona fide bleach buff. A colourant connoisseur, unfazed in the face of every hue.
That is, until Associate Beauty Editor, Guan Tan, suggested I go back to my roots. While initially resistant, I've never met a challenge I didn't like. Steeling my resolve, I booked an appointment with up-and-coming Japanese salon, The Fluxus House, and headed for my appointment with an open mind.
You can get a cut with a side of culture at The Fluxus House. The salon-cum-art-gallery takes its mantra of "art as a lifestyle" seriously, with the entryway serving as a pop-up exhibit featuring a rotating line-up of pieces from local artists and aspiring art students. Run by veteran Japanese stylists, Chiho, Koichi, Aki, and Shota Maruyama, they pride themselves on their refined techniques, impeccable skills, and one-of-a-kind service unmatched by most establishments in the market.
I was greeted by a blue-haired receptionist at the door, her vibrant mane a siren's call before I (mournfully) reiterated to my stylist, Koichi, that I'd like to opt for a dark hue. After assessing my hair condition — pitiful thanks to its bleached-brittle state, though Kochi reassured me that it would be saved after a treatment — he got to work. First things first: feeling out my head shape. Literally.
I'm told that this is his process, a way of assessing how and what to snip so as to grant a flattering cut. Ideally, you'd want a style that creates the illusion of a diamond-shaped mien; voluminous at the top and narrow at the bottom. "Asians usually have a flatter-shaped head," Koichi explained, running his fingers down my scalp. "Yours is okay. Good definition by the back, but a little flatter on top. I'll do a style that gives you more volume at the roots." Sign me up. At this, he promptly snipped three inches of my hair off. Brutal, but I'll take it.
My mourning period lasted for all of three seconds before the dye was brought out, whereupon it was applied to my tresses in neat, even sections. No turning back now. I was then treated to a relaxing massage, treatment, and hair wash.
To say I looked like an entirely different person would be an understatement. Or at least, that was what everyone was telling me. Hair-wise, my locks looked significantly healthier and had the bounce of untreated, virgin locks. Appearance-wise, well — I'd never looked younger. I appreciated that Koichi didn't stick to a single tone either, and instead went for a multi-dimensional, gradient effect where my dark hair was peppered with streaks of ash and brown.
Did I startle every time I glanced in the mirror over the next few days? Sure. But as with most of my extreme hair decisions, I gradually grew used to it, and have even come to appreciate its practicality in these trying (read: Covid-19) times. And hey, if anything, I successfully passed as a student at my favourite bubble tea joint just last week. I'll stay on the dark side for as long as I can pull that off.