Arisa Chang Discovers HaLu Hair Design an Affordable Luxury Japanese Hair Stylists in Singapore

Published - 02 October 2022, Sunday
  • HaLu

Along Mohammed Sultan road, HaLu Hair Design is located on the second floor of a shop house. The moment I walked in, it’s quiet and spacious space gave me a sense of reprieve. It was a small and cosy hair salon with a row of chairs (not back to back like many Korean chains) and the ceiling decorated with beautiful colourful dried flowers. Such a pleasure to see at first sight! 

I’m not sure how many of you reading this article are like me. I haven’t been to a hair salon since Dec 2019 after Covid hit. It was the uneasy feeling about lack of safety that warded me off. The thought of a going into an environment where a patron might be diagnosed as Covid+ didn’t appeal. 

From conversations I discovered many friends and neighbours either opted for hair dye treatment at home (DIY) or simply let their grey hair grow out. With the exception of a few who needed a haircut, the rest of us preferred to remain as is. After all we were not really socializing. 

I for one hadn’t come to the stage where I needed to worry about grey hair so I just let my hair grow out during the pandemic. Many people I know have slowly returned to their routine hair appointments, especially after vaccination started to roll out mid this year. 

I didn’t rush in as I got accustomed to having my hair tied up, until this opportunity to write a hair report for HaLu Hair Design came along. I was excited. Why not? It was after all time for a makeover!

My hair designer Keith, introduced himself briefly and asked me what picture I had in mind for the outcome? I originally booked for cut + digital perm + treatment as I thought it might be easier to manage my naturally wavy hair. I wanted to keep it long, especially after googling fancy mid-length digital perm photos! 

I removed all my hair clips as he assessed my hair. His take was that my hair was not suitable for a digital perm. I wasn’t expecting to hear this. For my very thick, frizzy, voluminous and natural wave hair, he advised that even if I did do a digital perm I could find it difficult to manage at home. 

All my memories of bad perming experiences surfaced! He was spot on as memories of my last digital perm in a Korean hair salon 4 years ago got me quite upset. After a $600 bill I decided to trim most of it soon after. A shame really! It was funny how women tend to forget their bad hair experiences and fall back into the same traps again and again. 

A bit of similarity to how we managed our relationships with bad boys and could never seem to learn our lessons lol!! I guess in this case I never worried too much as hair did grow back so we tend to forget the trauma and move on. I was so grateful to Keith for being honest with me. I guess judging by my hair status he noticed my personality. Not a fancy Tai Tai who visits the hair salon three times a week so his very practical suggestion was tailored to my Mummy lifestyle. 

He continued. Despite the fact that I don’t have much greys in my hair, my natural dark black colour did make me look very heavy. Instead of perming he suggested a darker tea colour base with some lighter highlights in between, to lighten up my face. I told him I had not dyed my hair for more than 10 years since being a mum as I’m also worried about chemicals on my scalp. 

He said he would apply some scalp protection gel before applying the colour treatments. He would also do his best to avoid direct contact on my roots. So after a good 10-15 minutes discussion on the style and length I wanted to keep, I decided to put myself at ease and let his magic hands do the trick.

He started with a quick trim just to show me the length we were keeping. Then he did foils for a highlight treatment followed by the base colour treatment. All in all, he was very quick and I had my eyes closed, dozing off in between. Very relaxing Japanese music in the background took me back to high school memories of reading Japanese magazines and following cute Japanese fashion in Taiwan! Fantastic! 

After he checked that the colour had settled in, I was led to the hair wash basin for a rinse. The hair treatment was to follow right after. At HaLu Hair Design a lovely warm towel is placed at the back of the head as hair treatment serum is applied. Interestingly it reminded me of the hot stone massage at a spa. 

I must say Keith took his time with rinsing my hair properly while applying some good pressure as he massaged my scalp. Totally relaxing! This is a much better experience compared with some busy hair salons who rush through the rinse stage. As if they are eager to get you out so they can get the next customer in queue. 

Coming back to my seat, Keith at HaLu Hair Design started his serious cut for style. With over 10 years’ experience in Japanese hair salons, he certainly has an eye for details. As he trimmed my hair we discussed the same Taiwanese show broadcasted on Singapore TV, which we both happen to enjoy. 

The show invites celebrities - famous makeup artists and a hairdresser. Keith mentioned how much he loved watching the hairdresser cut celebrities‘ hair on the show. It inspired him with good ideas. 

Finally blow dry and styling. While he made extra effort to put some fancy curls for a stunning final look he mentioned a good hairdryer (big brand) would do me justice, for easy maintenance at home. Hmm my next birthday gift perhaps? I was gaining ideas quick. 

When he showed me the back of my hair through a mirror I was very very happy with the outcome. From the base colour, highlight, cut and final styling I was elated. I loved his magic final touch to make me look like a star in the end. To me that was the priceless bit. Check out the photos I posted and be your own judge! (Expat Choice contributor Sylvia Fernandes had also visited HaLu Hair Design  and she too was over the moon).

After I got home, my kids were fascinated with my new look. Hubby included! I am definitely going back to maintain this posh look! I must say this kind of salon experience is hard to find as they work one-on-one by appointment only, taking their time to consult with their patrons and best of all, at a very reasonable price. 

Another positive point which appealed to me was that they didn’t push sale of their products which is a big plus compared to my past experiences. Just when you think this is all too good to be true one more delight I have to share. 

HaLu Hair Design announced there will be no surcharge for Christmas. Many of my friends and neighbours have already booked online after seeing my results. They are in and excited at how they will look and feel when it is their turn!

The salon has opened up in the midst of the pandemic and are running regular monthly promotions to make the trip to the salon much more affordable.

a. 11 Mohamed Sultan Road #02-01/02 River Valley, Singapore 239010


s. Halu Hair Design Facebook Page

t. +65 9145 6025

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Sylvia Fernandes

RATED 7 / 8

Offering affordable hair cutting and styling solutions using Japanese techniques, HaLu Hair Design has opened for business at Mohamed Sultan Road. A new concept with a Japanese salon experience, if you are looking for a good deal this certainly is it.

With haircuts starting at $50, expect the same level of quality, service, and expertise akin to luxury salons. Call to find out who you should book as stylists at HaLu Hair Design have their different specialties.

I did feel I was well looked after as soon as I stepped in to the salon and more so when both stylists began to examine my hair. My experience in the past had been one of settling in to my seat and leaving the rest to the experts at hand.

A dream client I might quip for I love the anticipation of seeing the final result. And so I took my glasses off, closed my eyes and gave in to capable hands that were to take over for the next hour or two. 

Keith, a Singaporean hairstylist with more than ten years’ experience at top Japanese hair salons started the ball rolling. His specialist skill was cuts tailored to individual face shapes. The idea was to make one look slimmer and younger. “I’ll take it” I said, surrendering to whatever he chose to do.

As he chopped off curls that had become rather unruly, I could see the satisfaction he derived from the flick of his scissors. Lovely to watch artists create! Once done it was time for the next specialist to take over.

Another hair stylist at Halu Hair Design, Seiji San began his career from the age of nineteen hailed from Yokohama. His forte he explained was to use the style and existing colour that the client possessed. His focus was to create sustainability for his clients. Wasn’t that the magic word that everyone focused on today?

Much to my delight that in this case we were talking about hair colour which had never crossed my mind! I had rocked up with a patch of grey hair running across my parting. Seiji San decided to use the effect of my grey hair with highlights, allowing for the grey to intermingle. Very clever strategy indeed where most colourists would usually cover the whole grey area.

Seiji San was keen on giving me a more natural look plus allow for the resultant look to last longer. As he did his thing, I extricated critical information about what he thought the best Japanese restaurants in Singapore were. Might as well make best use of my time under the foils.

I asked where he went for sushi and home-cooked style food. As the conversation ensued and foils were in hair I peeped out from behind this wall of silver to find myself looking like a character out of Star Wars. Limited as to what I could do for the next 20 mins I closed my eyes in meditation.

Not long after my reprieve I was guided to the wash basin where a rather soft and large cushion awaited. As I sank into it and reclined into the chair I thought it would be a danger to lay horizontal for too long. I might just doze off.

I knew of a lady who took a sleeping pill instead of a Panadol then went to the hairdresser’s for a wash and blow. It took a rather long while to wake her out of her reverie. The hilarious story never left me.

Back to HaLu Hair Design and a lovely conditioning treatment that is a must try.  Specialising in damaged repair treatment, Tokio Inkarami is an intense multi-step ritual that is capable of reviving one’s locks with long-lasting impact. Keith took over to go through the steps - massaging, layering protein, keratin, hydration and the patented Nobel Prize-winning ingredient Fullerene as well as a steaming mask. The entire process took over an hour. 

With personalised products for different types of hair, Inkarami is ideal for anyone looking for an affordable way to rescue their damaged hair and curls. My hair felt silky soft after this experience which I was told also reduced damage caused by bleaching. Priced at $160 as a standalone there were also cut, colour and treatment packages.

I was led back to my seat and was eager to see my new look after a blow dry. Much of my curls were chopped off but the style staring at me was chic. Not by any means masculine though short, I was thrilled at the combination of colour that streaked through the grey hair. Chic it certainly was!

So what’s the difference that makes the difference? HaLu Hair Design boasts all Japanese products which are unique unto themselves. While the resultant hair colour is not strong, it is better for the hair. Seiji San stressed that while there were more vivid colours in non-Japanese brands, Japanese colour was better for hair.

He also reiterated that continuity was important – come to the shop as a regular. He was already sharing what he saw for me on my return. In the long run what he had planned would be better for longer term health. Problems like split ends and hair damage would not happen much with Japanese products which were also sold at the shop.

Book online at for a unique experience. My afternoon at HaLu Hair Design certainly was. I stepped out on to the street, looking the part and headed off for dinner.

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