3 cosmopolitan hair spa treatments you need to try

3 cosmopolitan hair spa treatments you need to try

Let your hair down

Text: Angelyn Kwek Amelia Chia Renée Batchelor

Hop on the International Hair Express and try one — or all — of these unique head spa treatments

If a good pamper session means hours ensconced within a salon getting a well-deserved hair makeover that includes all the works — scalp massages, deep conditioning, and a finishing blowout — then you're in for a treat. Not your run-of-the-mill treatments, these luxe spa services are crafted with cosmopolitan touches that take a leaf or two from Japanese, Indonesian and Korean influences. Bespoke and indulgent, we kid you not when we say you'll emerge from the hairdresser's a new woman; one with tresses so fabulous even Prince Charming from Shrek and his slow-mo hair commercial head toss will side-eye you with envy. So go ahead and get that hair whipping back and forth with three salons the Buro beauty team has tried and tested, stamped with our seal of approval.

What do you get when you take two veteran hairstylists from Japan with over 15 years of industry experience, add floor-to-ceiling glass windows and three Takara Belmont electric chairs? The answer: S.A.D's Hair Design, a chic new addition to the burgeoning hair salon scene. This 700 square-feet salon features monochromatic shades, and coupled with framed art pieces, feels like an expensive designer apartment in the heart of Tokyo. With black blinds for privacy, and only three seats in the house, S.A.D's Hair Design has definitely set the standard for exclusivity.

S.A.D's Hair Design

Whether you're looking to mimic Jennifer Aniston's sleek mane, or Kate Middleton's enviable natural waves, director Katsuto Akimichi (of Diptych and Switch in the Kansai prefecture) is all game. My session started with a bespoke consultation on my hair condition and the products I was currently using, before both Akimichi and his partner, Yoshi, worked their expert fingers through my tresses. I was given the A-list offering — the Platinum System & Vital Treatment —which is a brilliant combination of brushing, shampooing, detoxing, steaming and an infusion of protein and ceramide agents for softer, more manageable locks. I leaned back in my Japan-imported electric chair and watched as the sink was being rolled towards me. The first of its kind in Singapore, S.A.D's Hair Design has adopted a "no getting up from your seat" policy —super indulgent if you ask me, but no one's complaining.

S.A.D's Hair Design

The treatment began with a special brushing technique to massage and prepare my scalp for the slew of products to come. After which, I'm pampered with a long, relaxing hair wash (scalp massage included, two thumbs up), before Akimichi and Yoshi sprayed a unique liquid formula to detox and remove any calcium ion build-up in my scalp. A quick steam later, and any unwanted gunk and mineral accumulation caused by the use of hard water is gone. Up till this point, I don't think my tresses have ever felt cleaner, and I loved the light, airy feeling on my scalp. The duo then coated my hair in ceramide cream, which I'm told strengthens, protects and moisturises each lock. Another wash later, and more protein and ceramide were injected into my hair with an airgun. The entire experience was beginning to feel like a therapeutic facial for my head. The final step?  An infusion of nutrient compositions such as chitosan, hematin and silk protein, which repairs locks from UV damage, before my tresses were blown to perfection. My hair felt instantly refreshed, and there's a healthy layer of shine that usually can only be attained through religious application of a good hair oil. I was tempted to swish my soft locks for a Boomerang on my way out. — Amelia Chia, deputy editor

From $220 - $300. S.A.D's Hair Design, 233 River Valley Road, #01-01 RV Point, 6235-0570

Inspired by a traditional Indonesian Cream Bath, the hair treatment at the La Source Spa incorporates the elements you love like the extensive massage and the saturation of product into the hair and scalp — but ups the ante. Instead of the no-name moisturising creams or homemade coconut and avocado concoctions that most Indonesian spas would use, La Source Spa only uses effacacious Kérastase products including a scalp scrub, shampoos and masks from the brand. The spa — which also does massage and facials — has a separate salon area to cater to its clientale which is both quiet and comfortable. If you're a multi-tasker, you'll be glad to know there's a small shelf and power points for your laptop available, but we would not recommend working during this ultra-relaxing session. During the treatment, I was served tea and a small platter of fresh fruit — a nutritious and delicious snack to accompany my pamper session.

La Source Spa

The treatment begins with my being asked to change to a robe — the first signal this would not be your typical hair treatment. After a quick diagnosis of my hair condition, the treatment starts with a scrub that helps to deep cleanse the scalp causing a slight tingling sensation. After rinsing the scrub off, my hair was shampooed before I was given a head massage — again using Kérastase products — to really saturate my hair and scalp with a mask. This was followed by an extensive shoulder, neck, upper back and arm massage that got rid of knots and tension caused by too much time at the laptop. According to the spa manager Yumi, each treatment is customised to each client with the therapist spending more time on your problem areas. Expect up to 30 minutes worth of massage, which is great for women who are time-starved and cannot commit to a full body massage, but would still like to get some essential kneads in.

Post-massage and after rinsing out the hair mask with a refreshing shampoo, my hair was blown out according to my preference. I left feeling like I had squeezed in some much needed respite and left with hair that looked bouncy, shiny and moisturised and a scalp that felt lighter, airier and cleaner. This is a great treatment for those who don't have a lot of time to spare, and want to maximise their time in the salon chair. The massage element meant that I left much more rejuvenated than when I first stepped in. —Renée Batchelor, beauty editor

From $208 for 90 minutes. La Source Spa, #01-03 Thong Teck Building, 6732-1318

Even if you don't know kimchi from kimbap, Leekaja's sprawling eco-chic layout will have you making a detour at the hottest Korean salon on the block for a pamper session (the temptations from the in-house juice and coffee bar not withstanding). With a brand that goes back over 40 years and 190 boutiques worldwide, this was a beauty playground I had to experience. Led by an expert team of hair stylists and professionals of Korean import, Leekaja — the top salon back in its motherland — offers everything from hair and makeup to mani and pedis, but it's the head spa and scalp treatment I've zeroed in on.

Leekaja Beauty Salon

Known as their signature service, I went in with fairly high expectations though I have to say, Leekaja blew them all out of the water. First off, the head spa treatment has its own special room segregated away from the main salon area. Once inside, I settled into one of two plush chairs that reclines until you're practically horizontal. My appointed stylist then draped a folded towel over my eyes and entreated me to relax while she got to work. Beginning with a minty essential oil dripped into sections of my hair at the root and worked into the scalp via a head massage, my tresses were then dampened and shampooed, leaving behind a pleasantly chilled effect. A second round of massages followed, this time in shorter but firmer strokes going from the crown down to the right then left of my head. A quick rinse to remove the suds later, the treatment solution is applied, lightly poured along the same sectioning as before and worked into the scalp with circular motions. I'm then left to the peaceful quiet of the treatment room as the solution does its detoxing and replenishing magic. Some long minutes later (an interim where you're guaranteed to doze off), my stylist was back to give my locks one final rinse before gently nudging me up from the all-too comfortable spa chair and back outside to dry my hair.

Leekaja Beauty Salon

At this point, I thought nothing could surprise me, until they whipped out a canister that sprayed a carbonated foam right into my roots. This was pure soda — pressed right into the scalp to work like a souped up version of your DIY baking soda remedy — to give you a fully exfoliated, fresh head of hair. I could almost swear my head felt lighter. Coming off more a relaxing spa experience, this is one luxuriant and immersive Korean hair treatment you need to give a whirl. — Angelyn Kwek, beauty writer

LKJ Head Spa and Scalp Treatment, $180. Leekaja Beauty Salon, Mandarin Gallery, #03-13, 6909-0504