Scroll down for a list of salons in Taipei recommended by readers.
Truth: Getting my hair cut in Taipei is so much better than anywhere else I’ve ever gotten my hair cut. The experience is so lovely and so affordable I don’t know why “hair tourism” isn’t a real thing.
So I want to tell you why getting a haircut at “Vis a Vis” is so great, but first, there’s a back story.
I started going to “Vis a Vis” about 10 years ago. A friend told me he went there, so I showed up one day and requested a stylist at their cheapest price point: 600NT.
My stylist’s name was McQueen, and I saw him whenever I came back to Taipei — from Sydney, from Chicago, from New York. Over the years, he saw me have short bangs, no bangs, longer bangs. Meanwhile, his rate jumped from 600NT to 800NT. Then it went up to 1,000NT, and ultimately landed at 1,500NT. The speed of inflation was frightening.
One year, McQueen whispered to me that he and a bunch of other stylists were mutiny-ing and starting their own salon. He wanted me to follow him there.
Does this sound familiar? Yes, it was exactly like on Mad Men when Sterling Cooper Draper Price had to call their most valuable clients the weekend they went AWOL.
So I went to find McQueen at his new salon. He seemed happier there and he even gave me a discount. Everything was great for a year or so. Then one day, I called to make an appointment and they told me McQueen had left. “Could I have his number?” I asked. “I’m afraid not.”
WTH happened to McQueen? I still haven’t been able to track him down. I tried to find him on Facebook by searching “mcqueen hairstylist taipei”. But nothing.
So I ended up back at “Vis a Vis” and back with a different stylist at 800NT. These days I pay 1,200NT to see Eileen. Now about the haircut. This is what it’s like no matter the price point:
They put you in a robe, check your bag, and usher you to a seat. Magazines. Coffee or tea. Then you get the most amazing hair wash ever that includes a scented oil head massage. They give you two oils to choose from, but I never understand what the choices are, so I just go with the first one.
After the amazing hair wash, it’s back to the chair. I loathe making eye contact with the hairstylist in the mirror, so I prefer to people watch. I don’t even pull my phone out because the place has a mesmerizing hum of activity. Almost two hours later, it’s over.
See you in 6 to 8 weeks. Or for me, it’s more likely 4 to 5 months.
Hair Salons in Taipei
The places and specific stylists below were all recommended by readers from the Facebook page. Note that a couple of them are barbershops. Links go to Google Maps.
BIBA Salon Taiwan (Sun Yat Sen Memorial Hall MRT)
“Jimmy, it’s owner, not only speaks great English, but he’s empathetic and eloquent, has a great music selection, offers a mean espresso and, best of all, he really knows his craft!”
DColor Hair (Shulin Station)
“Eric Li. Not much English, but great work. Behind the Mitsukoshi at Main Station.”
Eddie at BoutiqueHair (Taipei City Hall MRT)
“Perfect English, appointment-only.”
The Heritage & Barber (Dadaocheng)
Photo Credit: Vis a Vis