This is part two of the Japanese Hair Salon series. If you missed part one it’s here. In this post I’m going to talk about perms, treatments and extensions inside Hair Salons in Japan from Tokyo to Osaka to Nagoya. I’m going to go over basically what they mean and types so you can feel confident going into a hair salon in Japan. You can also click the hair category of Universal-Doll and find hair tutorials, haircare reviews, and other information.

Japanese Hair Salon 101 Series

Part one: Salon differences, charges and haircut & color terms
Part two: Perms, extensions and treatment types
Part three: Popular treatment types with reviews
Part four: Booking a salon on Hot Pepper step by step

hairsalon-perms-japan Examples by Japanese hair salons labeled as gal style with perms on hotpepper.


Perms (パーマ) are wildly popular in Japan so of course they’re at all Japanese Hair Salons. It’s not just gyaru, but all types get perms. There are several types of perms and I’m going to break them down and tell you what you should expect from getting each type.

digital perm (デジタルパーマ sometimes shortened to デジパ) – Digital perms are very popular in Japan. Your hair is curled using rods that plug into a device and are heated. The chemicals thermally recondition the hair making it shinier and smoother. It’s supposed to mimic a curling iron type of wave.  It’s not like a Western cold perm. Instead of water activating the curl, heat is supposed to. Blow-dry styling by twisting the hair is way to truly get the full results. The curl is said to last 3 months, but in my experience it more like 2. The wave is still apparent but you lose the true curl shape. I’ve gotten one done and will show pictures in the straight-curl section.

water perm (水パーマ) – Now in the Western haircare industry there’s talks of using curlers and steam and perming your hair for a few days and calling it a “water perm”, that is not what I’m talking about. Water perms use steam to breakdown the cuticle of your hair so the solution can permeate deeper into your head and the perm can last longer. Water perms are said to last longer than digital perms, but they are more damaging.

straight perm (縮毛矯正 | しゅくもうきょうせい or ストレートパーマ) – A perm solution is applied to your hair and then a hot iron is applied. Two setting agents are used to lock in the straightness. Strands are tugged on to check the straightness throughout. Not as flattening in my experience compared to Western straight perms in Asian salons. Thermally reconditions hair to make it shinier and smoother. Lasts for three months and then touch-ups are recommended to take care of growth.

straight curl (ストレートカール)- A new option in Japanese Hair salons. Combining the straight perm (ストレートパーマ) and the digital perm  (デジタルパーマ) so there is no residual wave at the top of your hair. Lasts for three months and then touch-ups are recommended.

straightcurl-before-and-afterBefore and after. Admittedly I got my hair dyed back to my original color before the right was taken.

 The left is my hair without any styling or brushing just air dried. Wavy in some parts, straight in others. It’s an annoying mess. It was taken for another hair post, but it works here. My natural wave aka gaijin wave is not fun.

The right is my hair after a straight perm without the use of any heat or styling products. I woke up put on my make-up and took a selfie. I’m still in my pajamas in that pic actually. Derp not a side effect of haircare, just a way of life  :wink:

So much change, I’m so happy I looked into and got a straight-curl.

CONS: Straight curl however you cannot have bleached your hair recently. Since they use a straight perm + digital it is damaging and Japan salons won’t allow it to work on bleached hair. They say it melts it. I did not think straight perms were that damaging. They cut my hair a little but more of a trim than anything shocking. Straightcurl is the best thing ever. A billion times recommended if you have hair like mine.



Extensions ( エクステ | Ekusute ) I have talked about this subject a lot. I’m going to just say the types and link back to my previous post. The three types of extensions you can get in Japan Hair Salons are Braiding (編み込み / あみこみ), Cold Fusion (超音波 / ちょうおんぱ) and Seal (シールエクステ). I discuss them all in my previous Extension post. There are however some terms used with extensions that I’ll define here and discuss some variations with extensions.

highlights / mesh (メッシュ) – Just like with regular hair extensionists can do highlights with any color you ask. Usually this is a free service to add another color, but it’s often only up to 10.

blonde charge – some salons charge extra for a full head of blonde extensions. In my experience this is more the case for Cold Fusion and Seal types.

extensions are measured two ways: grams and number (counter is hon本). So you may see: 100gまで付け放題¥14000. – UP to 100 grams of hair is 14000 yen. Or: 30本 - ¥9000 30 extensions 9000 yen.

Mostly with braiding type extensions salons offer a starting length. This length is the length of the hair itself but hair for braiding is folded in half so the length is not always the case. It’s best to ask with lengths how long can it go.

gradation extensions (グラデーションエクステ) – Some salons to deal with the gradation craze are now offering gradation extensions. These are usually braiding type only and they are pre-dyed gradation with top and bottom color set. So you either have to dye your hair to match or hope it matches. japanhairsalon-extensionvariations

Examples of mesh (highlights) and gradation extensions.

extension cut (エクステカット) – This is usually an extra charge not included in the price of extensions. Usually around 700 yen.

gold/platinum extensions – These are words salons use to fancy-up hair quality. It does not equal anything but the salons choice of words. Now a salon may have types silver-gold-platinum extension types and may believe silver the worst, platinum the best but it’s not a nationwide choice. Just fancy words.

remy hair (レミー) – Lately it seems a lot of salons are saying their hair is Remy. Which is considered the top grade in hair extensions and weaves overseas. Personally, I have serious doubts about Remy in Japan since the prices don’t match up.

hairset charge – After extensions are put in there is usually an extra charge if you would like your hair curled and styled.

removal charge – If you have current extensions and have not removed them salons usually charge to remove them. If you are going to the same salon you got your previous extensions done at removal is often free of charge.


If a salon doesn’t say type (braid, cold fusion or seal) it’s best to assume the price is for braiding.


Have you guys noticed gyaru hair has never looked healthier? Even with all the dying? A big part of that is treatments. There’s a much bigger emphasis on healthy shiny hair now in gyaru than ever.

Treatments (トリートメント) are a big boom in Japanese Hair Salons and definitely big in gyaru. BUT!!! Treatment is the biggest wiggle word on a Japanese Hair Salon menu. Treatment can be a billion things with a lot of fancy words in Japan haircare.

Treatments mostly boil down into two types: a salon-quality Deep Conditioner  or a 6 step nano-care processes to make your hair healthy and shiny. The salon quality deep conditioner will make your hair feel really good for a wash or two. The multi-step types will reduce frizz and waves, increase shine and last for a month or two. The problem is they’re both called treatments and they’re really hard to decipher and get what you pay for on a menu. In the next post I’m going to break down the popular 6-step super treatment types with reviews. For now I’m going try to show how to tell whether you’re paying for a dollop of hair mask or the fancy stuff.

How to tell if you’re getting fancy treatment or just a really good deep conditioner: :bow:

The menu just says “treatment” and nothing descriptive: Chances are you’re just getting a deep conditioner. :bow:

It’s under 4,000 yen or not even a sole option. All fancy treatments are over 4,000 yen and some salons even specialize in the better ones. Many women go between haircuts just for a quality freshen-up treatment. :bow:

No steam is offered. Harder to check out, but fancier ones put you under a steam to open up the cuticle to deepen your treatment. :bow:

If it gives a name do a google webpage & image search on it. Does it have a lot of shampoo bottles? Chances are it’s a deep conditioning not a giant process.

Let’s check your treatment decoding skills! Real Japanese hair salon menu test!

 Treatment One: ankcrosstreatment-japanesehairsalon

Popular with gyaru Ankh Cross chain is offering 10,000 yen  ($100 US) treatment, color and cut.

CHOOSE: Super fancy 6 step treatment or just a good deep conditioner?

Did you answer just a good deep conditioner? You’d be right. Reason 1)  it just says “treatment” and  Reason 2) color and cut are usually 10,000 yen so it wouldn’t cost enough to be a fancy one.

Treatment Two


Fancy Shibuya salon “salon de MiLK -サロン ド ミルク-” offers a haircut and “Aujua” treatment for 5,250 yen ($55 US).


Popular model twins Ami and Aya get their hair done there and had the treatment.

CHOOSE: Super fancy 6 step treatment or just a good deep conditioner?

This is a harder one. But the answer is “just a good deep conditioner”. It has a fancy name, but the price is 5,250 for a cut AND treatment so… Reason 1) Haircuts usually cost 4,000 yen even with discounts so the treatment is definitely NOT 4,000 yen.

and Reason 2) the recommended google search leads to the Aujua webpage


and on that page you can see the only real step is just a fancy deep conditioner.

Treatment Three dorothysalon-inphenomtreatment-nanosteam

Dororthy in Shibuya offers the Inphenom Treatment. Good deep conditioner or the fancy one?

Did you choose fancy? You were right. Reason 1) 5 step – multi-step processes are key  Reason 2) It says “nano steam” included

I’ll be reviewing this treatment as well as others in the next of the series! Hope you enjoyed part two!

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Going to a hair salon in Japan is wonderful yet absolutely overwhelming. Salon options are called different names yet often using an english-y word, prices can be obscure, and if you don’t have Asian hair the staff may have never worked on your hair type. Baring that I thought it would be good to make a series decoding the hair salon menu and getting you familiar with terms.

Again my biggest tip is if you’re in Japan and have a friend with better Japanese than you there, take them! Pay for their lunch or something, but friends help each other out.

Japan Hair Salon 101 Series
Part one: Salon differences, charges and haircut & color terms
Part two: Perms, extensions and treatment types
Part three: Popular treatment types with reviews
Part four: Booking a salon on Hot Pepper step by step

Previous gyaru hair and Japanese salon posts on Universal-Doll: Japanese hair extension types and reviews, hair color trends in gyaru (still very relevant), gyaru hair directory and basic gyaru hair colors, getting hairset done in Kabukicho


Five ways Japan Hair Salons are different than Western Hair Salons:

:bow: When washing your hair, salons cover your face with a face cover (フェイスカバー). It’s weird at first, but actually very relaxing. It saves you from having to choose between closing your eyes or staring at the salon worker from the most ugly angle possible for you and them.

:bow: Hair salons use capes with arms. This is very handy.

japan hair salon double selca

Like for double selfies.

:bow: Drink service is common in hair salons. You will be offered water, tea or coffee. There is usually a selection of teas either iced or cold, but plain coffee accompanied by milk and sugar.

:bow: Some salons charge more for longer hair. Long hair charge requires hair to be one to two inches below your shoulders. It is up to the salon to determine this. Long hair charge can be added to anything: haircuts, dyes, treatments and perms. In my experience it is only added to the bill once for all treatments you get done. This charge is usually 500 to 1,000 yen ($5 to $10 USD).

:bow: Weekdays and working hours are often cheaper than weekends. In order for salons to schedule more clients during regular working days some salons can offer a weekday discount price.


Breaking down the Hair Salon Menu


Salons sometimes offer two cut prices one just for bangs (maegami 前髪) and general haircutting price. Most salons include shampoo and blow-dry in the price (シャンプーブロー込 shampoo blow komi). In my experience all salons offer styling after. Some may say that it’s 500-1,000 yen more ($5-10 USD). There is no real difference in getting your hair cut overseas vs. in Japan in terms of technique.

So going to a salon for your haircut & style can be three prices: actual haircut, post haircut style (1000 yen sometimes), long hair charge (500 to 1000 yen).

Useful Japanese Salon Terms for haircutting & hair

layer cut (レイヤーカット) – If you want layers cut into your hair.

effect cut (エフェクトカット) – A different type layering also known as thinning hair to create more volume.

blunt cut (ブラントカット) – Where the bottom of your hair or bangs are all one layer.

stroke cut (ストロークカット) – Short hair. In which hair is cut to curl or lay around your head.

frizz (クセ/kuse) – Something to be concerned about.

bangs/fringe (前髪/maegami) – self explanatory

japan hair salon strokecutPopular in Japan with straight hair: the stroke cut before and after


Color is one of the most difficult things to work out with a Japan Hair Salon. Sometimes salons charge for color and a separate charge for bleach. Also since Asian hair can be very resistant to bleach if they have have to double bleach your hair you will be charged for both bleach sessions separately.

I’m going to go through a Japanese salon hair dying glossary of terms and then break down a menu.

manicure (ヘアマニキュアー) – coloring your hair without bleach. Salons tend to say no to this unless your hair is originally blonde. It’s also a word used if you already have bleached hair.

bleach (ブリーチ) – the actual bleach the use for your hair. Bleach is used the same way in certain volumes like 20 to 60. If you know which volume it takes to bleach your hair I definitely think it’s a great idea to specify. If your hair is already bleached often retouch is recommended instead of another full bleach.

color (カラー) – the actual dye used for your hair. Dying hair of course can be done several ways.

color retouch (カラーリタッチ) – if you have grow out and want the same color often charged a much cheaper price than plain color

highlights / mesh (メッシュ) – highlights are known as mesh (messhu) in Japan. They are usually charged in segments. 10枚 (Jyuu mai) would be 10 pieces of highlight / mesh.

point color (ポイントカラー)- when you just get a slash of your hair colored, like the bi-color bangs kumikky used to wear

gradation color (グラデーションカラー) – usually bleaching is included. Salons may charge differently for “crazy colors”.


Point color by Hair Salon Dorothy in Shibuya

Getting your hair actually colored is pretty similar to overseas. The sitting, the waiting, the often a weird thing circling your head to mist or such.


Decoding a menu

In this section I’m going to take actual salons that offer gyaru hairstyles and explain all the menuspeak on their menus.


Hair Salon Bliss in Nagoya I decoded their haircolor price. Just note if a coupon doesn’t say cut or style, it’s not included and will be put in the price.


Again cut isn’t included in the price and there was a long hair charge.


English Speaking Hair Salons recommendations in Tokyo

If that still scares you there’s a few English speaking salons in Tokyo.

I’ve specifically been to Dude Hair Salon former Harajuku now in Shimokitazawa ( Kaz the owner tends to work on all gaijin hair and he did his training in the UK so he’s very comfortable around foreign hair. Dude does not offer extensions, but instead is good at bleaches and coloring especially foreign style highlights.

I’ve also been to Y.S. Park  ( when I first came to Tokyo in 2007. I got my hair dyed there and enjoyed it. They offer perms as well as coloring. Again no extensions.

This website has a few more English speaking hair salons in Tokyo for you to choose from.
More hair terms via hotpepper here

Japanese living ladies want to add more to the talk please do!



Gyaru and streetwear clothing and shoe sales still on! They will be on for another week and then taken down so hurry up! Clothing sales | Shoe sales including Jeffrey Campbell at 70% off!


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My Rose of Heaven collection!

Rose of Heaven ( is a newer cosmetics brand by KOSE Group. All products have a pleasant rose scent. The line itself is based on: Rose Honey, four types of roses including their signature “Bulgarian Damask Rose” and 12 organic elements including Jojoba oil and Thyme. You can see on their site which product using which organic elements.


The Rose of Heaven lip balm started my addiction…


When I was in Japan in March I bought the lip balm. I have a billion lip glosses and lip balms but I’m the type who either goes out for the night and doesn’t reapply it or forgets to use a lip balm at night. Rendering all the costly balms and glosses useless.  :heartbreak:


So when I found myself actually using the Rose of Heaven lip balm always because I loved the good texture and wonderful rosy scent I was shocked. My money wasn’t going down the drain! I woke up with soft lips during the dry part of Texas’s summer.

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Hair extensions are a big part of gyaru style and many models and producers wear them. Mainly in Japan there has been one type of extension the braided type, but now that’s changing so let’s see the three types of extensions available in Japan and pros and cons of all three. I underlined the ones I thought were the most pro and con for each extension if you hate reading (Although if you hate reading why are you on this blog!? I kid I kid, stay enjoy the purty pictures).


Braided – 編み込み / あみこみ

This is the original hair extension type in Japan. It is made by folding a long piece of hair and braiding it into the hair and securing it with a rubber band or string.

Pros:  :stepup:
Cheapest extension type
– Found most any where in Japan in most salons
– Easy to remove yourself
– Can be mixed to super match your hair color
– Tons of lengths available

Cons:  :sage:
– Braids tend to dread above when they’re done after 2-3 weeks. The longer you leave them in the more dreading and damaging they are to remove.
– Because it’s loose hair salons can use a different weight for each braid making some salons give you less hair per individual extension.
– Hair quality differs
– Difficult to brush especially after a week
– Often very tight and sometimes painful the first days of getting them
Visible because of their double volume, braid, and hair type color for blondes (see the black hairbands above, the only color in Japan salons)
– Volume often placed in the center row of the head to hide the extensions so it’s not as natural

I picked this amazing hair to show you how braiding looks and why most gyaru wear their hair curled. It hides the visibility of real hair to fake!

 Now if that’s spottable in a salon setting (i.e. no wind, rain, dreading or days of use), fresh off new flat extensions and with hair salon magic making hair look as flat and crisp as possible, imagine how it looks outside of the salon?




 Because of this you see the braided on the left of the before and after picture even with curl volume has unnatural volume to the center of her hair.


Cold Fusion/Ultrasonic – 超音波 / ちょうおんぱ

Cold Fusion hair extensions use keratin tipped wefts. They are attached to the top of your hair with an ultrasonic wave tool. The sonic waves melt the keratin to attach onto your hair. The keratin is then smoothed over to create a natural matte finish. It is a no heat procedure and the process does not pull at your hair.

Seal Extensions – シールエクステ

Seal extesions are a type of tape extensions that are glued in double-sided. They use keratin as well, so it’s not a true glue.These are the most popular with celebrities. Momoko Ogihara often wears this type of extension. Because it’s on a weft it does not shed as much as cold fusion. It is however the most expensive type of hair extension of the three. Although it seems that seal extensions are more hair than the cold fusion so possibly you would need less. Reviews I’ve read have been quite positive and they seem to last as long as the cold fusion.

edit: model Nicole Abe blogs about seal extensions  vs. her hair before

Since seals and cold fusion are similar, I’m combining their pros and cons.

Pros: :stepup:
– Longer Lasting 2-3 months depending on shed and bond
– Better hair quality usually than loose hair for braiding
– Seals and cold fusion hair come predone so every salon is giving you the same amount of hair per extension
– No tightness or pain
– Easy to brush (i.e. they don’t dread)
– Barely visible so able to do any style type without them mostly showing
– Can get higher on the head for more of a natural blending

Cons:  :sage:
– Can be expensive
– Because they are pre-made you cannot color match, this was not a problem with my natural hair but some it may be difficult.
– Foreign hair colors such as red or blonde often cost more
– Especially with cold fusion the application matters as much as hair quality
– Will shed, differs with salon application (cold fusion especially). I had one side fall out faster because of the technician who worked only on that side.
– Hard to remove on your own.
– Default length is usually 50cm. Salons usually do not have many lengths.

I just can’t spot the line of extensions or real hair! It’s why cold fusion and seal are the best (but costliest).

OMG a useful post?! Someone check my temperature! :catno:  I’ll be doing a few more useful ones lately and some runways for Spring  :peace:

edit: There’s been a lot of discussion in the comments below, with a some positive words to say about pinch braiding. After going cold fusion I do say I will never go back to pinch braiding, not to say I don’t think pinch braiding is a fine option and the cheapest which is sometimes a good option and to never get it. But I definitely prefer cold fusion because it is far longer lasting, the hair quality has been better and it’s less damaging. This my opinion getting extensions in over 15 times in different salons. I can only write from my experience, and I welcome you to read comments and make your own informed choice.  :bow: