Monday, October 25, 2010

My 660-peso haircut at Hairshaft, The Podium


I don’t know how the trend started, but haircuts seem to be often equated with change these days. From break ups to new jobs, the first thing a person (mostly girls) does to signify a new chapter in his/her life is a haircut.

I say, “Meh.”

I never really bought the fad, but since I got a new job *applause!*, my friend Z taught me a trick to engage people in conversations. Since I am a newbie in the office (and sometimes lack the necessary socialization skills), Z told me to get a haircut after my first week at work. That way, I can have a conversation starting point with everyone. Smart move, don’t you think?

“The change should be drastic!” Z advised, as I have been known to claim trims as “something drastic.”

And so something drastic I did do.

Last Saturday, I decided to get a haircut at Hairshaft at The Podium upon Tina’s suggestion. It was actually a toss up between Bench Fix (which I couldn’t find) and Hairshaft. I am on a tight budget these days so I want to stretch my peso as much as I can. When Tina said a cut costs ~P500 at Hairshaft, I was sold.

Located at the 5th level of Podium, Hairshaft was pretty deserted when I got there, save from a few staff and some customers. A deserted salon on a Saturday can only mean two things: 1) this place is so expensive, no one is willing to drop money on a haircut or 2) the service is not that good. I went in anyway as I have only 30 minutes to spare before Lyn and I meet up for Liz’s party. You know how posh hair salons are: they ask if it’s your first time there and if you say yes, they give the most expensive stylist available. I knew this was going to happen, so I didn’t mind. I just psyched myself that at least I’m going to pay for quality service and hoped for the best.

Hairshaft's waiting area.

Things I liked:
  • First thing the staff does is let you fill up a form with your details, then they immediately address you by your first name. Most staff in other salons take this first-name-basis practice for granted and they immediately call you a generic “ganda” or “day” which I hate. (And this I have experienced in a supposed frou frou salon chain). I appreciate the effort on Hairshaft’s end.
  • Complementary drinks on the house. You can choose from their house blend iced tea, coffee, or iced tea. I read online that their iced tea is an experience on itself, so I chose that. Again, A+ for Hairshaft. Their iced tea has a delightful, fruity mago-four seasons taste in it that I can’t get enough of. I would’ve ordered another glass if I finished mine, but alas, I didn’t (regrets, regrets).
  • They give you options and offer suggestions on what will look good on you. I just found out after checking their website that I was given Artistic Director Bamboo Ballesteros to work with. I told him I want layers and side bangs, and a cut that would look great once it grows come December as I will be attending a wedding then. I couldn’t decide yet on the length, so after I got a shampoo, he checked my hair length and suggested that I keep it just above the bra line. Anything beyond it will be difficult to maintain.
  • They adjust to your hair type, which what ALL salons should do, right? But, man, even some hoity toity salons do not listen. In the middle of my haircut, I asked Bamboo if I have to blow dry my hair everyday with the layers he’ll be giving me. He said he could make the layers softer and asked me if my hair is prone to flyaways. I swear, my eyes almost welled up in tears because he knows, he actually knows my plight and understands it.
  • They sound sincere when they compliment you even if you know that there’s going to be a sales pitch somewhere along the way. Bamboo and his staff kept complimenting me on how my hair is so straight and how most people would spend thousands just to have my hair (really?). They also kept reiterating how virgin my hair was to the point that it almost sounded obscene. Although the compliments were nice, it all lead to the “Come December, let’s add character to your hair! Come back here and I’ll give you great highlights!” pitch. And you know me, I’m easy, so I said “yes!”
  • They know their products but they don't pressure you to purchase anything. I actually saw a L’oreal INOA on their reception area and asked them about it. Although they said it’s best for color-treated hair, my virgin hair will do okay with normal ones. They also said INOA is expensive, and here I am thinking they’d push the more expensive product on me just to get a sale.
  • Everyone’s chatty but not intrusive. I’d like to believe they ask questions just so they can adjust your hairstyle to your lifestyle. Everyone asked me about what I do, where I live, how I get to work, or where I am going after. You know, standard serial killer questions. There were none of the “Do you have a boyfriend?” questions that are really unprofessional if the costumer (me) is not really in a chatty mood.
  • You can gauge a stylist’s skills by the type of scissors that he/she uses. Mine did not use pinking scissors (which I hate because it shows how lazy a hairstylist can be when he/she does) to do my layers. Instead, Bamboo used real scissors. That’s mad skillz right there.
  • Bamboo’s skills as a stylist were really evident by the way he sectioned my hair—from the crown when he cut my bangs, up to the side when he cut my layers, even to the last-minute detail cuts that he made after he blow dried my hair. Everything was so precise. Also, their website cites their stylists’ credentials, and I must say, most of them are pretty impressive.
    Things I did not like:
    • The price. LOL, don’t get me wrong. I said I was on a budget when I had my haircut but I wouldn’t mind paying for good service. If you check their pricelist, the haircuts can go a little steep. Imagine if I were unknowingly assigned a Signature Stylist!


    Junior Stylist 250.0 300.00
    Senior Stylist 410.00 460.00
    Artistic Director 510.00 660.00
    Creative Director 760.00 910.00
    Signature Stylist 800.00 1,100.00
    • The place was ill-lit. I guess they use natural lights from the windows? I dunno, I got there around 6 PM and it was a little dim.
    The area where I actually got my haircut.

    It was overall a very experience. If only I were prepared to spend that day, you wouldn’t hear me complain about the price.

    And now on to the Before/After pics!

    IMG_5648 I couldn’t find a proper Before picture, so here was my Sirena (mermaid) hair (their words, not mine) prior to cutting.

    The easiest way to lose 10 pounds/ Blow-dried, post-party hair/Bare face “Haggardo Versoza” look.

    Post-wash and sans blowdry/ Hai, I take pictures of myself in my room.

    I can really be anal about my hair, seeing that I just recovered from a bad hair year, so it's nice to finally find a salon that knows how to cut hair properly. So how about you, guys? Would you be willing to spend on a good haircut?

    Hairshaft Podium, 5th Level, The Podium, ADB Avenue, Ortigas Center, Mandaluyong City. T: 638-240. M: 0922-890-6770

    Hairshaft at The Fort, Ground Floor, South of Market Condominium, Bonifacion Global City, Taguig. T: 856-7547. M: 0920-906-0828

    Hairshaft photos from 

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    KIRA ♥ said...

    I meant to comment last night when you posted this (see, this is what I mean when I say Im tamad to comment, haha). Wow, the salon looks gorgey! The highest I've paid for a haircut was about P500 at Piandre, they have awesome service too.

    But sometimes I go the friendly hole-in-the-wall neighborhood salon guessed it...I'm tamad. Haha.

    You look great though! And yes, wish I had your straight hair!

    Mara Ruiz said...

    Thanks Kira! But your hair is already so straight! This is my first time to pay more than 500 for a haircut, so I'm kind of surprised. Still, it's worth it! My post haircut hair still looks like it's been blow dried kahit wash and wear lang :D

    KIRA ♥ said...

    I want it like, stick straight and limp. I call my hair "spongy" because it's thick and has waves in it :-s

    Mara Ruiz said...

    Mine has is thin and wavy. Not really stick straight. Just limp. Lol. But it does save me from rebonding and straightening fees.

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