DAZ Shanghai

On September 17, 2012 by Hart

I’d been a hair funk for a few months, caught in between the desire to stay au-natural while also feel­ing quite blah with the hair hue I was born with – a very light brown. With the vision of Diana Tu of Le Lutin’s blonde locks in my head, I called up DAZ Shang­hai, where the Chinese-born fash­ion­ista gets her locks turned a bomb­shell shade of blonde by DAZ’s owner, Dar­rin Usher.

One-year-old DAZ Shang­hai is a well-kept secret buzzing within tightly knit cir­cles of fash­ion insid­ers. Usher owns the The Hair­dressers, one of Hong Kong’s hottest salons since 1997. The Hairdressers’s client data­base tops nearly 4,500, but despite the huge suc­cess on the island, he wanted to take on another salon in Shang­hai that’s closer to his heart.

Named after Darrin’s fam­ily nick­name, DAZ is a very per­sonal project of the tat­tooed, Harley-riding styl­ist, who designed every inch of the industrial-chic salon. He has filled the ground-floor space with refur­bished antiques and curios gath­ered from his trav­els all around South­east Asia. Almost all of the pieces are for sale – if clients like the chairs their sit­ting in, they can buy them.  The achieved aes­thetic is both rock’n’roll and relaxed – sim­i­lar to the per­sonal style of the DAZ client.

I went to DAZ mostly for color, but Dar­rin sug­gested I get a trim. He kept his promise of only cut­ting off the bare min­i­mum, which many local salons fail to do.

DAZ’s spe­cialty is top-notch col­or­ing ser­vice, thanks to its wide range of hard-to-find dyes, which Dar­rin lugs in suit­case from his bi-monthly trips to Hong Kong. He says that while many other top-tier salons carry pre­mium dyes like Wella, most lack a wide range of color, which ulti­mately is what makes for fan­tas­tic look­ing hair.

Tout­ing itself as Shanghai’s only true inter­na­tional salon, DAZ’s staff com­prises of for­eign styl­ists. A sit with Dar­rin comes at Big Apple prices (cut, RMB980), but is def­i­nitely worth the money if you’re look­ing for the high­est stan­dards of care. DAZ’s other styl­ists like Cyn­thia from Hong Kong are excep­tion­ally skilled as well and are a bit more afford­able. Depend­ing on the level of styl­ist, ladies’ hair­cuts range from RMB480-980. Mens’ hair­cuts are RMB280-500. Tint color is RMB520-880, and high­lights run from RMB600-1,800.

Here’s Dar­rin in a vin­tage bar­ber chair from Hong Kong, which he refur­bished himself.

Hid­den away in Jiashan Mar­ket, DAZ Shang­hai ensures its cus­tomers don’t feel ‘the fish­bowl effect’ that per­vades other top local salons located right on the street, wel­com­ing onlook­ers to gawk at clients with foils in their hair.

One more thing and I’ll stop gush­ing. I  really dig that DAZ’s  mag­a­zine stock is the stuff of leg­end. Get your pick of the very lat­est issues of all the top glossies. This is cru­cial for fashion-crazy folk like me who get stir crazy after sit­ting in a chair for two-plus hours.

DAZ’s sched­ule is already fill­ing up fast, so book your appoint­ment now if you want to sport lus­cious locks dur­ing your Octo­ber Hol­i­day vacation.

Jiashan Mar­ket, No. 25, B101, Lane 550 Shaanxi Lu, by Shaox­ing Lu 陕西南路550弄25号B101室, 近绍兴路(6467 9930, www.daz-sh.com)

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