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The Best Way to Wash Your Hair, According to a Korean Stylist

When I had the chance to visit my favorite Korean salon in Seoul, I jumped on the opportunity to ask the head stylist the secrets behind Korean celebrities’ amazing hair.

A very interesting fact I realized during my last visit to Seoul: The Korean male cosmetics market is the fastest growing segment in the world. Western cosmetic companies are using the male market in Korea as a test bed for the future of male-inspired cosmetics lines and products. And while I personally have not seen many Korean men with eyeliner or BB cream, I do notice that I am surrounded by men at every hair salon I go to.

So I decided to interview Jung Moung Shim, the head stylist at my favorite celebrity Korean salon, Jenny House to get her insights on male hair trend, find out what treatment they’re seeking and why, as well as general tips for how Korean stylists wash and treat women and men’s hair. 

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How long have you been working at Jenny House?

I’ve been the head stylist for over 15 years. Jenny House caters to Korean celebrities. We have about 200 regular celebrity clients, from Son Dambi, Park Ji Sung to Son Yae Jin, and Park Jae Bom. We’re used to having celebrities coming in and out of the salon.

Whenever I visit, it feels like I’m surrounded by men, which isn’t the case when I get my hair done in a US salon. How many male clients do you have?

We typically have 30% male clients vs. 70% female. There are more females, but men do come more frequently than female clients because they usually have short haircuts and need more upkeep.

What’s the biggest treatment or service your male clients come for?

They come for haircuts about once a month and a perm about once a quarter. Scalp care is one of the most important services that they seek because they are primarily concerned about premature hair loss.

Tell me about this perm. Most US men would balk at the idea of perming their hair, but it’s not a curly hair perm they’re seeking, right?

It depends on the age group. Younger men are perming their hair for style, while older men are seeking volume. Younger men are typically just perming the top and side of their hair because their hair is usually pin straight and it sticks out when it grows out. The perm is used to really flatten it in the right places (the sides) and create natural volume on top to create natural bangs.

I personally think Korean men have their hair on point (especially their bangs!). How much does this all cost?

About $200 USD

Wow, that’s an investment for men! Now tell me about the scalp hair treatment they also seek. Is it for hair loss? I thought hair thinning was based on genetics.

Yes, hair loss is attributed to genetic factors, but only 30% is based on genetics and 70% is environmental. So what you do with your hair and how you take care of your scalp is crucial. For example, smoking, stress, lack of sleep, pollution, food and even soju will affect hair growth and cause premature thinning and balding.

What factors can you control to help keep your scalp and hair healthy to prevent hair loss?

It’s important to remember that the scalp on your head is similar to the skin on your face, so treat it gently and gingerly. You’ll need to use water when washing and rinsing your hair. The pH balance of your shampoo and treatments should be low. Exfoliation and massaging your scalp regularly is also crucial to keeping pores free and clear of buildup. With buildup, hair follicles can get clogged and prevent hair growth.

Can you recommend a good washing routine?

First, let water run through your hair and massage your scalp and hair before shampoo. Regular shampoo does not generally have exfoliators, so it’s important to exfoliate physically with your fingers by massaging and scrubbing your scalp to remove dead skin cells and general buildup from shampoo and hair products, such as hairspray and dry shampoo.

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Then shampoo gently with a shampoo like the one I helped create, the British M Ethic Shampoo. Next, use a hair treatment for the scalp with vitamins if hair loss is your concern. Apply conditioner on the tips of your hair, not in the roots. Towel dry before blow drying. Make sure to apply hair essence, like the British M Organics Annatto Hair Oil, or oils when your hair is damp. When your hair is wet, it gets very weak, so it needs nourishment before you blow dry or brush through.

And do you recommend this for women as well? Any other tips for women specifically?

Yes! Hair loss is becoming more and more prevalent in women now as well, so women should also keep hair and scalp care as part of their daily hygiene.

One tip I recommend for both men and women: When using dry shampoo, remember to spray it away from the scalp as much as possible. Dry shampoo is amazing, but it can create residue and buildup in the scalp which can mess with your pores and hair follicles. Make sure you wash and rinse dry shampoo out thoroughly. 

+ What is your favorite Korean salon? Let us know below!
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