Wo Ai Toni and that other Guy

I’ve been getting my hair cut at Tiffany in Raffle’s for a few years now. It’s a huge salon that can handle 50 customers at one time. It’s also very cheap at 39 RMB (US$6) for a cut and blow dry (that’s 50% off using a friend’s discount / loyalty card). The main problem is that they are so successful that there’s often a long wait and they do not accept appointments in advance.

Tuesday I was desperate to get my hair cut as I’m long overdue for a cut. But there were 5 people waiting ahead of me for my usual stylist and I wasn’t prepared to sit and wait for 2 hours plus while flicking through Chinese fashion magazines. And Wednesday I had to fly to Beijing so I won’t have time till the weekend, by which time my hair would be in such a state I’ll have to start wearing a hat. So I got in a taxi and headed to Toni & Guy in the more exclusive Times Square shopping mall to see if they could help me out.

I was greeted by a very attractive receptionist who showed me their price list and asked which option I wanted to go for. Their prices started at 260 rmb (US$38) for a senior stylist and went up to 1200 rmb (US$176) for a cut and blow dry from their senior artistic director. I didn’t want to humiliate myself by going for the cheapest option so I went for the next one up which was 320 rmb (US$47) for a style director, who turned out to be a 24 year old fashionably dressed young man.

The whole experience was so much more relaxed than at Tiffany which was far more chaotic. While the style director cut my hair, his assistant stood close by with a big brush and every few seconds he would brush off hairs from my cape, which was both unnecessary and slightly annoying, but other than that, everything went smoothly. And the stylist gets extra points in my book for NOT using the hair thinning scissors at all, something which is so popular with Chinese hair stylists for some bizarre reason.

Overall, I would compare the Toni & Guy experience with flying business class. You pay 3 times the price (well closer to ten times really), you all get to the same destination, but you have a much more comfortable journey along the way. And of course, after having flown business class, it’s very difficult to go back to flying economy again.

They also take bookings, so in a few weeks, when my hair grows back, I can book my stylist Jimmy again at a time that’s convenient to me, and I will know I won’t have to sit around for 2 hours while the girl before me gets full head highlights with tints.

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28 Responses to Wo Ai Toni and that other Guy

  1. a few years ago i took my first return trip to korea . . . and got the BEST haircut EVER. (i loathe getting my hair cut btw.) in korea, the stylists know how to deal with my wicked straight and thick hair. when i was there in june, i got a haircut. and it’s like US$10! if only it wasn’t for the airfare . . . =(

    i demand a photo of the new haircut.

  2. Miss Jane says:

    This posting is useless without a photo of proof how good Toni and Guy was! ;-)

  3. Isn’t Jimmy the same guy that “John” tipped 300 dollars to? Or are they all called Jimmy?

  4. Sue says:

    I agree with the girls, lets see a photo.

  5. the women have spoken. . .

  6. maxiewawa says:

    How about an “after” photo?

  7. tracy says:

    That’s alot more expensive for a haircut!
    I need to see a picture! :)

  8. WoAi says:

    Ladeez – I anticipated that there would be requests for photographic proof and I prepared a response in advance: dream on!

    Actually if you read carefully I compared it to travel by business class. I think the outcome is the same, the difference was it was a much better experience. That applies more to me (and Swiss James) having a very short style. There’s not a lot of different ways to cut it.

  9. wisemanofasia says:

    But if you’re only flying London – Glasgow why go business class?

  10. shopgirl says:

    i have been partying with the whole staff of toni and guy hairsalon in xintiandi.
    so i get a dicount there ;)

  11. SHEinChina says:

    Most of my friends haven’t been happy after a visit to T&G in Shanghai… so it’s good to read a happy review for a change. I personally go to Eric’s. They are masters! (And charge like masters too!) Speaking of Toni & Guy, have u seen the “Toni & Guy branch” on Ulumuqi Lu?! It’s just a small little local hairdresser that decided to take a free ride on the Toni & Guy name… I wonder how many lost laowais have walked in and felt confused… :)

  12. T says:

    I pay 25 kuai for my haircut, but I too dislike the use of the thinning scissors. Maybe I should just speak up and ask not to use them.

  13. WoAi says:

    Shopgirl – Even though you live in Sweden, you’re more hooked up in Shanghai than I am!

    SHE in China – That’s hilarious THANK YOU I am going to try the “local” Toni & Guy” next time and see if there’s a difference.

    T – YES, be a man and tell them how it’s gonna be!

  14. T. says:

    well its either speak up or go pay 260rmb for a haircut like a poncy gi . . .oh whoops.

  15. WoAi says:

    T – No, prices at Toni & Guy start at 260 rmb, but you have to pay at least 320 rmb if you want them not to use the thinning scissors.

  16. T. says:

    What happens if I only pay 260? They ONLY use the thinning scissors?

  17. WoAi says:

    T – No, but you only get 2 minutes with the regular scissors, whereas for 320 rmb you get a full 10 minutes of hard core non-stop, non-thinning scissor action.

  18. T. says:

    i usually only last two minutes anyways. wait, hang on, that’s something else.

  19. Sue says:

    T – wot?

  20. Pingback: I Love China » Blog Archive » Casuals Fashion Friday

  21. WoAi says:

    Sue – T is a two minute man. I can go for at least 4. Twice the pleasure.

  22. T. says:

    I can go for at least 4. Twice the pleasure.

    You mean twice the boredom.

  23. maybe it’s different for you guys, but the thinning shears are the part of the haircut i get in asia that i LIKE. the thinning shears help give shape and make my hair more manageable . . . maybe it’s a length thing.

  24. Hey, my word was “TEXAS”! =)

  25. Dingle says:

    Angie, maybe Woai’s hair is thin enough already?

  26. WoAi says:

    Angie – It’s no coincidence. That code word was chosen with you in mind, not George Bush! And obviously your hair and my hair has different needs.

    T – Yes, I have had a few ladies fall asleep on me but I always assumed it was the alcohol that I forced them to drink beforehand.

  27. AM says:

    saw the haircut from your FILA post – was that taken after the haircut?

  28. WoAi says:

    AM – Yes, after the haircut. Any comments? As I said, with my style, there’s not really going to be a big difference in the outcome, but the T&G experience was certainly more pleasant and stress free.

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