Back in April when we decided to make a go of life in India, the decision hinged on one crucial point - will I be able to maintain blond hair amongst a sea of brunettes? Fortunately I have few secrets, as you are all learning by reading my blogs, so I promptly sent out queries to the expats I know in India with my picture attached asking "can you get highlights for blonds in India?" The answers were resoundingly positive. OK, decision to go to India locked - I can get my hair done. Very shallow, I know, but if you feel like you are falling apart and life becomes on very LONG bad hair day...sense of self gets lost. Maybe not that dramatic, but close.
Step 2, locating the so called "skilled colorists" in Bangalore. I began my search on the message boards about living in India, the best one any traveler to India should check out is www.indiamike.com. I certainly figured out where not to go for haircut or color - skip Spratt, Bounce and the Lakshmi salons. Apparently this woman called Tracey who is only available via cell phone is the bomb when it comes to cuts. I am not sure I like the idea of having someone come to my house to cut my hair - but home service is the rage in India. One particular place kept surfacing, Jeannesalon. No website for this shop but the message boards and the OWC (Overseas Women's Club) handbook highly recommended it. I called for my appointment and it was a 2 week wait (sigh). I took it, I could not stretch out too many more days of two toned hair.
October 29th was my appointment at noon, yes I took vacation time to get in for a haircut. Located in Indiranagar, a good blend of restaurants, shops and interesting housing (however this is India, so cows, trash and pot holes abound). Jeannesalon had a fuchsia geometric sign perched street side. Success, we found it. For women, a salon is a place of refuge - you are pampered, shoot the scoop with your stylist, sip on a mocha or in some swanky spots - chardonnay and you leave feeling like a million bucks. Back in Michigan, I try to time my appointments with a night out or something special. When you spend $150 you need to go someplace. The exterior of Jeannesalon was not great, but it didn't look any worse than the rest of the street....however I was slightly alarmed when I saw across the street was Hong Kong Hairstyles which resembled a Chinese take-away restaurant. Could I be in the right spot?
Jeannesalon looks like a pop up salon inside someones flat. I can look past that as my expectations in India have changed after three months. There is only one stylist, a Chinese woman named Jeanne. Her husband is the receptionist and he looks like a Chinese version of Mr. Magoo- gray crazy hair, little glasses and hunched over his laptop. The waiting area was packed and people were there for cuts, facials, nails and more. I had to wait 30 min for my appointment but in the mean time the receptionist loaded me up with Western hair magazines, UK beauty periodicals and a fan of color choices for my hair. If you are of the fairer variety, you really don't add color to make yourself blond - just bleach and conditioner applied on very small strands wrapped up in foil for 10 minutes. Picture a tinfoil Medusa and you know what I look like.
Jeanne is GREAT. She is third generation Chinese born in India but has worked as a stylist since 1972, however she looks about 40. Chinese women have the most amazing skin. She learned to cut hair in London and then spent a few years in Sweden working on all the blondies. She goes back to Europe every other year for Hair school. The treatment was superb and my hair looks like me, I could not be happier. All this for Rs3500 or $78USD. I will be back in three months and feel relieved to know at least on the outside I am still the same Becky you remember. As for the inside, she is evolving...