Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Chops and trims in Korea - Busan hairdresser tales

I sat in the chair, worried. I watched my Korean hairdresser in Busan closely via the mirror as she dipped her hands into my wet fro and began to part it into sections. If this experience was new to her, she wasn’t letting on. Her movements and slightly flared nostrils indicated she was frustrated with me after our longer than necessary conversation about if I wanted my hair ‘trimmed’or ‘chopped’. Then again, we were having this conversation in broken English/Korean. I still liked this hairdresser.

Natural hair trim in a Busan, Korea hairdresser - yay!
Split ends finally sorted!
Section, comb, snip. Section, comb, snip. As she worked, I spotted staff in the background watching us. I also spotted them watching my mate Keisha who was next to me. Keisha, being the braver of us two, decided on a big chop. I kept thinking, 'FINALLY, we're getting our natural hair cut in a Korean hairdresser'.

A failed hairdresser attempt...

Before striking gold with Leekaja Hairbis, we had walked into another hairdresser just down the road. Shooo… that can only be termed as a complete eyeball experience. When I was called to sit in the chair, I whipped the band from my hair and let my mane burst free. The Korean hairdresser looked at my hair, and according to Tarryn and Keisha, the look on her face was priceless. In a panic, she walked away to her colleague, they discussed a few things in low tones and she came back saying in Korean and English, “No, no, sorry, sorry.” Willing to try anyway, I said in English, “it’s ok! We can try. I will show you.” Show her? Really Nadia? As if I’m skilled in the art of trimming and snipping hair the size of mine. Slightly disheartened, I pulled my hair back into a bun and we left.
The second hairdresser we tried, did not hesitate for a second. Our bags were placed in a locker, coats hung up and we were led to the wash area. My hair was washed and conditioned with a FANTASTIC head massage thrown in. Bless you Korea for that…Bless you. I then got a cut/trim. Even though they didn't moisturize or style my hair after blow-drying it, I don’t fault my hairdresser for this. I reckon she deserves a round of slow clapping considering she was willing to try. Hair-care here in Korea has been a concern for me as an expat. It was exciting to find someone ready to try after I had finally put my nerves and concerns aside.

The before-photo, before Keisha's Busan hairdresser experience
The lovely Keisha before her big-chop.
Keisha's natural hair looking good, after her first time in a Busan, Korea hairdresser
Big-chop success!

How much is a hairdresser in Busan?

Will I go back? You bet your split ends I will. Both Keisha and I paid 20000won/R200/$20 each for the cut. Should you decide that the time has come to trim/cut/chop, here are their details:

Directions to the hairdresser we went to:

Take the Orange Subway Line to the PNU (Busan National University) stop. Come out exit 3 and turn right. Take your second left into Busandaehak-ro. Leekaja Hairbis is on your right.

Salon details: 413-16, Jangjeon- 3 Dong, Keumjung-Gu, Busan-Si, Korea 
051.583.1060- 1006.

There is a branch opening in Deokcheon! Walk straight out of exit 9, and it’s above the Starbucks.

Do you know of any other hairdressers that attempt to cut/trim/treat/style afros in Busan or around Korea? Let me know! 


  1. Awesome Nadia! I'm so glad you were able to find a hairdresser to trim your hair. Keep those split ends in check and whoop for healthy happy hair:) love Keisha's big chop!

    1. Thanks lovely! How is your hair journey going? x

  2. I needed to read this post today! I am getting my haircut tomorrow in Ilsan, after much research and talking to other people. I don't have an afro, but I do have very curly hair, and getting my haircut by someone who only cuts Koreans hair frightens me! Glad it all worked out for you, fingers crossed for myself tomorrow!

    1. Goodluck! I am sure all will go well and I guess this is all part of the journey as an expat. Thanks for stopping by ☺

  3. As a guy, I think I had a pretty easy time of it in Korea. I keep my hair pretty short and don't do anything besides towel it dry in the morning to style it. So, when I got it cut, I just found a shop that seemed like it could do a men's cut (the shop was actually called 'Men Cut'), walked in, and pointed to my head. The lady nodded and 15 minutes later I walked out with a killer 8,000 won haircut. ^^

  4. Funny post! I was super scared to get my first hair cut in Korea, and I don´t even have wild hair like your´s, so bravo to you for being brave to try just anyone :) I love the first person´s response - so typical of Koreans!

  5. This is nothing short of amazing. I honestly didn't think it was possible without straightening you hair first. Kudos to her!!

    1. Me too! I thought I would have to wait to go home before getting a trim or cut. So happy to have found a hairdresser here in Busan.