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)