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Dying Hair Blonde in Dalian?

Not so scary anymore!
back to May-June Issue
by Rina Swank

It’s always a challenge to find a good hairdresser. It’s probably ten times more challenging for a western woman who likes to color her hair blonde to find a good hairdresser in China. And it looks like most of them have given up trying to find a place where they will entrust their locks for coloring in Dalian.

The more women I talked to working on this piece, the more desperate the situation looked and the more worried I got. I began thinking that I should abandon my idea about writing this article. So many girls told me how bad their experiences were with local hairdressers, and how they ended up with burned and damaged hair or with the color that just looked awful. Most of them are now getting their hair colored when going to Beijing, Shanghai or other big cities in China, or when they travel home. Nevertheless, being naturally very stubborn, I decided not to give up and keep on looking. After a few weeks of failures, my attempts paid off. I found two hairdressers that had very good reputation among fair-haired ladies in Dalian.

The first one was Yan Jun, a very nice hairdresser who works for Toni & Guy hair salon in Parkland. Yan Jun has finished Toni & Guy hairdresser school in Hong Kong, worked in Japan for 6 years and is now a leading master in the salon. He uses three different brands for dying hair blonde: Wella, L’oreal and Paul Mitchell, which are specially designed for Western hair. According to salon’s price list, coloring costs about 580-880 RMB depending on the length of the hair. Doing highlights is around 580-980 RMB, and more difficult two-color dying is around 880 – 1280 RMB. Understanding customer service well, Yan Jun usually offers a 10% discount for your next visit, or at least a voucher for a free shampoo/conditioner treatment.

I found him through Heidi Thornberry, a gorgeous woman who moved to Dalian last year with her family. This is what she told me about Yan Jun: “One of my many concerns about moving to China was that I would have to sacrifice my blonde hair and become a brunette! And I did do just that after arriving last year. Needless to say, it didn't suite me. I spoke with some ladies who live in the same building as I do who said they go to T & G, and he can color us blonde gals. So I gave it a whirl. I have been making the trip downtown every 9 weeks (Heidi lives in DDA) to get my blonde locks colored just right. It has been worth it! The salon is clean, Yan Jun and his assistants are friendly, Yan Jun can speak English, there is music playing in the background, and I feel comfortable there. I am happy that I don’t have to take the time to get my hair done while visiting home, which frees up more time to spend with my family. It is nice to have found Yan Jun in Dalian and I can continue being a blonde!” Another master I found was CK, who used to work for Esprit Hair salon when it was open. He is now free lancing. CK is very popular with expat women and families in the Dalian Development Area. He is also famous with residents of the Dalian American International School Campus Village in Golden Pebble Beach Area, as he is very mobile and travels to your home to give haircuts or dye your hair. He actually spends whole Sundays on the campus as he usually gets a full day of appointments there. CK also uses Wella and L’oreal for dying hair blonde, as well as professional bleach for those who need it. His price range is from 400 RMB to 600 RMB, and can get a little higher depending on the complexity of dying or if he has to travel far. He usually asks his clients to call him one day in advance to book an appointment.

Jennifer Prescott, a restaurateur in Dalian, loves CK and has been using his services for couple years now. Having platinum white short hair that has become her signature over the years, Jennifer, for obvious reasons, was quite concerned about being able to keep her color when moving to Dalian.


“When I moved to China I was very worried about the maintenance of my very white hair,” she said, “as coloring of hair here is a relatively new experience. Not only the technique but the product used is very important to obtain the desired result and preserve a health scalp and hair. I have been lucky, I found a great guy his name is Donny, but most know him as CK. He is not only a good stylist as he cuts my hair perfectly, he uses great product to color. He has passion for what he does and this makes him a cut above the rest.”

Being an “experienced” blonde, Jennifer also has shared with me some important points to consider, if you have plans to try a new and exciting look. Her advice was:

 Despite the cost don’t settle for a cheap product that could be so harsh it damages your hair to the point of no return.
 Make sure the color specialist you have chosen has a good reputation, a strong following is always a good indication that you will be happy with the results.
 Never perm your hair on the same day you color your hair, the strong chemical used for both processes are to harsh for your hair to handle in a 24 hour period.


Well ladies, maybe it’s time to see more fair-haired heads on the streets of Dalian! Have fun finding a right look just for you!

Some interesting facts about Asian hair
* Asian hair has twice the diameter and a much thicker cuticle than Caucasian hair. Most hair types have around five layers of cuticles while Asian hair has closer to ten.
* Asian’s have anywhere between 80,000 and 140,000 scalp hairs but, typically, they have fewer hairs per square centimeter than Caucasians. However, because the individual hair shafts are thicker, it gives the impression of greater hair density.
* Asian hair grows faster than Afro-Caribbean or Caucasian hair at a record rate of 1.3 cm a month, and it also has the longest cycle of growth, lasting up to nine years compared to the average two to seven years.
* Asian countries are the prime source of human hair used for wigs and hair extensions because the hair is long, straight, strong, and rarely tampered with chemicals.
*The shape of the follicle largely determines how hair grows. Because Asian hair follicles are almost always completely round, they typically have very straight hair. On the other hand, Afro-Caribbean hair follicles are oval and the hair grows in a spiral-like fashion.