The struggle for us blondies here in Taiwan can be very real, and unfortunately VERY disastrous! (Just ask my yellow brassy and lifeless hair from my first year living in Taiwan... *shudders*) Maintaining blonde hair is hard (and pricey) enough as it is, but living in an Asian country where blondes are a teeny tiny minority, it amps up the struggle quite a few notches.
In Taipei, there's definitely no shortage of hair salons and talented stylists, but because they rarely have to deal with highlights and/or bleaching there really are only a handful of hairdressers that you can trust to handle your blonde locks correctly, and with proper care. Also, how (and where?) to get your hands on the blonde specific hair products you need to keep your mop in tip top condition? It's not like WATSONS has an isle of purple shampoo options, for crying out loud!
That said, don't give up and think you'll have to become a brunette just yet. It's not a lost cause! There ARE very capable hair colorists in Taipei that I can highly recommend, and there ARE ways to get your hands on your favorite hair products. I have lived in Taiwan for more than ten years now, and I've managed to transform my hair from yellow-Sahara-desert-tumbleweed to a more healthy-luscious-looking-blonde-mane. (Or at least that's what I imagine in my head...).
Here are our recommendations of the best hair colorists in Taipei for blonde hair, which products and tools to use, how and where to get your hands on these products, and also some general blonde maintenance tips and tricks.
HAIRDRESSERS WE RECOMMEND
Who can handle blonde locks in Taipei?
Tracy at George Pai Beauty Parlor in Tianmu has been coloring my hair for more than eight years. She has many years of experience with multiple different hair colors and hair types, thus have a huge expat clientele. She also speaks perfect English and really listens to your needs. I have never walked out of there feeling disappointed, and that's why I've always gone back to her. For highlights and a trim, I pay around 3650NT, which is very reasonable. Make an appointment with Tracy at 0228 711 515
Eddie at BoutiqueHair close to Taipei City Hall MRT station has been doing Tieneke's hair for seven years. He is also very popular among expats, especially blondes, and speaks English, too. Tieneke pays 5500NT for highlights and a trim. Contact Eddie at 0932 322 843
Yves at Starletladiva near Xingtian Temple MRT station is another popular hair colorist among blonde beauties in Taiwan. We've never had our hair done by her, but she has so many glowing reviews, and offers rare services like Balayage and Ombre, so you should definitely check her out, too. Make an appointment with Yves through Facebook.
HAIR PRODUCTS WE RECOMMEND
What products should I use to maintain healthy blonde hair?
Maintaining luscious golden locks are neither easy, nor cheap. Over the years of trying and testing what feels like hundreds of different shampoos, treatments and oils, I've finally settled on a repertoire of products that I feel does the most for my blonde hair in keeping it healthy, shiny and nourished. Here are the products you should invest in to keep your blonde locks looking luscious, and specifically the ones that have been working for me.
Nourishing Shampoo. Kerastase Bain Satin 2 is my holy grail shampoo. Even though I try out other shampoos once in a while, I always go back to this one. It's specifically for dry hair, and I can feel a difference in the strength of my hair when I use it.
Purple Shampoo. You absolutely need a purple shampoo when you get highlights or have blonde hair. I've been using Clairol Professional Shimmer Lights for years, and it really does its job in neutralizing the yellow brassiness that sometimes occur when lightening your hair. I use it once a week, and highly recommend this one because it's affordable, smells good and gets the job done.
Conditioner. Another holy grail product for me is Kerastase Masquintense. It's a conditioning treatment, but I use it as my conditioner three times a week. It is a miracle product that deeply conditions the hair and keeps split ends at bay. For me, no other conditioner even compares to this one!
Leave-in Oil. After I've washed and brushed through my hair, I apply Kerastase Oleo-Relax oil to help with locking in moisture and keeping my hair shiny and smooth. I sometimes also use Moroccanoil Treatment, because I just love the smell of it.
Dry Shampoo. I only wash my hair three times a week, so on those "in between washes" days, I keep things fresh by spraying some Batiste dry shampoo on my roots. It absorbs excess oils and eliminates odors, and gives a nice texture to your hair.
Repair Treatment. I preach the gospel of Olaplex, a reparative treatment that connects broken bonds. It's a three-step system (step 1 and 2 should be done by your stylist at the salon, and step 3 by yourself at home) that was developed to return your hair to its natural state. It works! I apply step 3 at home a day or two before getting my hair done, and also a day or two after getting my hair done. To be honest, I don't know exactly what it does, but I do know my hair feels lighter, smoother and healthier when I've used it, and that's reason enough for me.
ONLINE SHOPS AND STORES WE RECOMMEND
Where can I buy these products?
In Taiwan. Unfortunately, you can't just walk into your friendly neighborhood supermarket or drugstore to purchase most of these brands or products, but they are definitely available online in Taiwan. (You can also find Kerastase and Morocconoil shops in some department stores like Shin Kong Mistukoshi Xinyi.) Brands like Kerastase, Olaplex and Batiste are available online at WATSONS and other sites like PCHome, Momo, UDN and Yahoo; although it can be quite frustrating to try and use these sites if you can't read Mandarin. I have friends who use Google Translate to purchase off these sites, but I just ask a local friend or coworker to help me, in my experience they are always more than happy to help.
From abroad. We highly recommend lookfantastic.com, feelunique.com and cosme-de.com for buying beauty and hair products online from abroad. Some things we'll order from ebay.com or amazon.com. All of these sites ship internationally to Taiwan, and your order will arrive to you within three weeks. Tieneke and I have both ordered products from all of these sites before, and they've all been allowed through customs.
HAIR TOOLS & BRUSHES WE RECOMMEND
What about hair tools and brushes?
Curling Wands & Straighteners. Your best bet to keep your dyed hair healthy, is to avoid using any heat on your already fragile blonde hair. I haven't used a curling iron or straightener in years, and my hair has dramatically improved. If you absolutely HAVE TO use these tools, make sure you get one made with the tourmaline ceramic technology. GHD is the OG of stylers, and you can't go wrong with their tools. (And don't forget to apply a heat protectant spray prior to using heat on your hair!)
Hair dryers. It's unavoidable, but don't even think about getting a cheapie from your local drugstore when you are on a quest for perfect golden locks. Investing in a high quality hair dryer will be the gift that keeps on giving. I splurged on the highly rated DryBar Buttercup blow dryer, and after three years of use it's still in perfect condition. I went from a cheapie hairdryer that dried my hair in 20 minutes, to this magic tool that now dries my hair in 5 minutes flat! I 100% believe it has improved my hair, and think it's worth every penny. I would love to test out the much talked about Dyson Supersonic hair dryer, so if someone can just give me one for my birthday, that would be lovely, thanks! *winking furiously at The Husband*
Brushes. I know it seems like such a simple thing, but I'm quite passionate about my hair brushes. I carefully brush my hair out with the WetBrush detangler after washing my hair (I have to, otherwise it's a tangled mess!), and will use the Mason Pearson nylon and boar bristle brush on dry hair. When I travel, I take my trusty TangleTeezer, which is a tiny hair brush that easily fits into your carry-on.
We hope you find this post helpful and, as always, feel free to shoot us a message if you have any other questions! We are always happy to chat, and if you'd like to do so privately, don't hesitate to email us at email@example.com
Now, go treat those blonde tresses!