Thursday, February 27, 2014

Korean Magic Straight Perm

I'm making my hair even more Korean-now it's dark and super straight. You should know that my hair is slightly curly. It's just curly enough that I can't wear it straight and it's not curly enough that I can really wear it curly (there was a brief time where it worked, but that's over now). Anyway, this brings me to the Korean Straight Perm or Korean Magic Perm. My new friend got it done and her hair looks great so I got the number of the place she went (info at the bottom). I've had my hair straightened before, so I had a general idea of what to expect. It goes something like this: they put this stinky stuff on your hair, wash it, dry it, flat iron it, put more stuff on your hair, wash it, dry it flat iron it and it's supposed to last for 3 months to a year. They flat iron it in very small sections, it took about 3 and a half hours. 

Because I am who I am, this experience didn't go off totally smoothly. My hair looks great now, but it's so scary getting hair done in a country where I don't speak the language. Where ever I go to get my hair done, the Korean hair dresser-without fail-tells me how damaged my hair is. I don't believe it's as damaged as they say. There is some amount-I've been coloring it for a long time, but it's also a little frizzy naturally. 

The place I went to for the "straight perm" is run by a husband and wife. Their baby was there too. He had his own place in the corner and his parents would play with him between haircuts. He eventually fell asleep to the soothing sound of hairdryers. 

On to my hair. After letting the phase one products sit on my hair for 20 minutes, we went to rinse it. When she rinsed it, she let out a loud, astonished-sounding gasp. Maybe it's that Koreans gasp more than Americans, maybe it's that American hair dressers have more of a poker face, I don't know, but I was terrified. At this point my head was still in the shampoo bowl and I was convinced that my hair was falling out or that she'd destroyed the color. 

She brought me back to the chair and with the lighting and the towel dried mess and the gasp, I thought the color was askew (it was not, it just looked that way to my panicked self). To muddy the waters, a patron got out google translate. They first showed me a sentence that was complete nonsense. The second translation was something like "Phase 1 was too harsh. Hair got too warm. Need clinic". You can imagine my fear now. I typed in "hospital?" and she said "no, no". I was still freaking out. Finally I got a hold of my bilingual friend, Ginny, (Thanks Ginny!!!), who translated that it was just that my hair was so damaged that they couldn't leave the stuff on for as long as they wanted so it might not come out as straight as I want. That's what all that was about.

my hair at "peak damage"
 After the drama, I still felt uneasy but I figured that there was nothing I could do about it, so I just rolled with it and watched the latest episode of El Bachelor on my ipad. (Oh Juan Pablo, you're so skeezy.) By the time we were rinsing out the second part, the baby woke up. The woman doing my hair picked him up, put him on her back and finished rinsing my hair. When she went to do the second blow dry and flat iron, the baby was fussing and she asked if I had kids. I told her I had three and she gave me the BEST COMPLIMENT EVER. Ready for it? She said "really? You just look". All that talk about terribly damaged hair is forgiven! I offered to hold the baby and let him play on my phone. Her husband was busy with a haircut, so she put the baby on my lap while she finished my hair.

The end result, after all that dread, is lovely! I love it. At press time, it's only been a day, I'll have to wait and see how it holds up.

I'd love to go back, but the husband hairdresser told me that because my hair is so damaged I can never do anything to it ever again-no dye, no highlights, no straight perm-ever again. Was something lost in translation there? I hope so because damaging my hair is the American way.

If you want to try it for yourself, here some basic info:
Mingnon Hair 031-782-4388
Cash price was 105,000won
Take the yellow line (Bundang Line) to Miegum. Walk out of Exit 8 about 10 meters. Turn left into the Angel Mart grocery. Go to B1 and you'll find it.
The place looks like this:


  1. Never again. Ever. That is hilarious!

  2. So what happened to your hair after a few months? Was it worth it? I am going next month and am looking for a magic straight salon.

    1. Well, it looked GREAT for about a month...maybe 6 weeks and then it returned to it's normal mostly-frizzy-but-not-curly-state. Overall, it really damaged my hair (I'm not overly concerned about that-I've been damaging my hair since I was 10, it's a way of life for me) so if you don't want your hair to be damaged, you should NOT do it.
      For my particular hair type, the results were the same when I got the
      I probably won't to do it again, but that doesn't mean I regret having done it. Viva awesome hair!

    2. Thanks for your quick reply! We shall see.

  3. So what happened to your hair after a few months? Was it worth it? I am going next month and am looking for a magic straight salon.