Written by Chiara Mischke
Hair Salon NALU In Tokyo - International And Fashion-Forward
The demand for English-speaking hair salons in Japan is on the rise. Many travelers want to try out the unique Japanese treatments, hair colors and styles. Hair Salon NALU has English speaking stylists that can make hair dreams come true!
In Tokyo, one of the fashion capitals of the world, you'll find not only excellent clothing but also great hairstyles. Japanese fashion is often accompanied by shiny, luscious, brightly colored hair.
In recent years, the number of travelers wanting to book a hair salon appointment in Japan as part of their trip has increased. Unfortunately, many salons have no English speaking staff available, so the style preferences can't be discussed in detail. Others might not cater to requests for hair coloring as they may only have natural colors available.
Today we will introduce you to Hair Salon NALU, a place that can make your dreams of dyed hair come true!
Hair Salon NALU - Creative and Fashion-Foward
Picture courtesy of Hair Salon NALU
NALU was established in 2001 in Minami Aoyama, Tokyo, by hairstylist Daisuke Hamaguchi. Mr. Hamaguchi had the vision of creating a style shop where everyone could change their hairstyle and hair color in the same way they would change their fashion.
In 2003, NALU moved to its current location just a short walk away from the Omotesando Station. To this day, this is their only store in Japan.
In 2012, NALU started to expand overseas with currently five stores in Malaysia as well as a store in Singapore, which has been launched in 2016. NALU's salons outside of Japan are named Number76 Hair Salon.
Mr. Hamaguchi loves surfing and NALU means "wave" in Hawaiian. In Japanese, the number "seven" is "nana" and "six" is "roku". When merged, they become the word NALU as well, so that is why NALU is also referred to as Number76.
Because of their unique style, NALU became a popular choice for famous bloggers and YouTubers visiting or living in Tokyo such as the model RinRin Doll.
Meet the English Speaking Staff of NALU
At NALU, every stylist is trained to work with Japanese as well as non-Japanese customers' hair and speak at least basic English. However, if you are worried about the language barrier, we would like to recommend these two NALU stylists who speak English.
Natsumi Makino (number76_makino) - She has lived and worked in the United Kingdom for two years. She is very skilled in creating unique hair colors.
Yoshiatsu Iijima (number76_iijima) - A very fashion forward stylist. He is especially popular among customers wanting to get straight and curl perms.
You can explain your style preferences or show pictures and the stylists can show you samples to make sure you get the result you wish for.
At NALU, Any Hair Type Is Welcome!
Most salons in Japan don't get to practice with various types of hair on a daily basis. NALU's decision to openly invite foreign customers has given them the chance to evolve serving any kind of customers and hair type.
To prove that NALU is up to any challenge, I offered to have my hair dyed and arranged at this hair salon. I have fine, natural blonde, Caucasian hair which breaks off very easily. Let's see how they transformed it.
Unique Custom Colors
In Japan, any kind of fashion color, which means any color that would not be considered natural, including bleach blonde, is not allowed in most workplaces. Working with foreign customers who wished to dye their hair has allowed the staff at NALU to deepen their knowledge of fashion colors. They even have their own hair color range called 76Tsuya.
If you take a look at their pictures on Instagram, you will see that they mainly showcase unusual colors. However, something that stands out is that they manage to make crazy colors such as pink, red and silver look incredibly natural!
Picture courtesy of Natsumi Makino @ Hair Salon NALU
Something to note is that any fashion color, especially silver, grey and blue, will only last a couple of washes no matter which salon you go to. If you would like to opt for a fashion color that lasts longer, it's best to choose a darker color and refrain from washing your hair every day.
Please also keep in mind that bleaching is required before applying most fashion colors, even if your natural hair is as light as mine.
Damage-Less Straight Perms for Frizzy Hair
NALU also offers a wide variety of perm treatments. First, choose if you want your hair permanently straight or curly. While curl perms are practiced all over the world, straight perms are rather unique to Japan.
One of the most popular perm methods at NALU is the Damage-Less Straightening. It works with a combination of chemicals, heat, and treatment that leaves your hair shiny and straight, with little to no damage.
The straight perm is permanent and as with some hair colors, you will only need to visit the salon for root touch-ups when your hair grows out.
Want Longer, More Voluminous Hair? Try Extensions!
Hair extensions are great if you want to add volume and length to your hair. In Japan, they are very commonly used. They are also a great option if you don't want to dye your hair but still want to add some fun colors to it.
At NALU, the stylists use tape-in extensions, also known as seal extensions. A small amount of your own hair is sandwiched between two pieces of extensions with tape attached to them. This method is known to do little to no damage to your own hair. These extensions are also very easy to take out if you wish to change your style after a few days. At NALU, they will them out for free if you got them done at this salon!
Please note that if you have fine hair, any type of extensions can put a lot of stress on your natural hair and even damage it. If you still want to try extensions, I recommend choosing the shorter length and maybe giving your hair at least a week between chemical treatment (bleaching and dyeing) and the application of extensions to avoid damage as much as possible.
At this hair salon, they charge by piece and depending on the length. Their extensions are available in the following lengths: 45 cm (560 yen/piece) and 55 cm (660 yen/piece). You will need 20 to 60 extensions for the whole head. The ones in the photo above are the 55 cm long extensions.
Even though they are very long, these have been the most natural looking extension I have ever tried. If you take good care of your extensions, they can even be re-used and you will only pay a maintenance fee of 280 yen per piece.
Soothing Treatments only Available at NALU
Picture courtesy of Hair Salon NALU
NALU offers a variety of hair and scalp treatments tailored to the needs of your hair. The Global Milbon Smooth Ultrasonic Iron Treatment is the most popular salon treatment at NALU. It makes the hair smooth and shiny after heavy processing.
An Ultrasonic Iron is used during the process. It is a cold iron that works with vibration instead of heat to penetrate the hair and enhance the treatment.
Many of their treatments, including this one, come with homecare treatments to maintain the results for longer. There are many different treatments available, so please choose your favorite.
Discount Codes -Save Money at NALU
If you are new to Hair Salon NALU you will receive 20% off your total bill. Your hairdresser will deduct the 20% automatically when they give you an estimate of your total cost excluding the extension service.
They also offer discounted haircuts, including shampoo and styling, if you are between the age of 4 and 18 years old or if you are a student (please bring your student ID). Children up to 4 years old get a free haircut if their parent is an existing member.
You should also check out the news on NALU's website for current offers and promotions before your visit.
Hungry? Take a Break at 76CAFE
If you are hungry after spending some time in the salon, consider eating at the reasonably priced 76CAFE. The cafe was founded by NALU's owner Daisuke Hamaguchi when the salon moved to its Omotesando location in 2003. It is located on the first floor of the same building as the salon (the salon is on the second floor).
The cafe is family- and pet-friendly. They provide child-friendly menus and you are welcome to bring your four-legged family members inside with you as well.
They aim to provide freshly made comfort food that is appealing to all senses. From Japanese favorites like taco rice (a customer favorite), omrice (omelet rice) and ginger pork saute to carbonara, pizza, and daily specials, customers can choose from a wide variety of dishes.
They also offer lunch menus which include a soft drink of your choice as well as a soup and rice. You can even get a free refill for the soup and rice.
This is their famous Lady Bug Cake (550 yen). You can choose between red (raspberry flavor) and yellow (passion fruit and mango flavored) cakes. The rich mousse cake goes well with the tangy fruit flavor. It is not only delicious but also adorable!
The cake set includes a beverage and costs an extra 300 yen. I personally recommend the soy latte or normal cafe latte. They are creamy and delicious with just the right balance between coffee and milk.
Their cake and daily specials are not explained on the menu but you can ask the server for more information. All staff members speak basic English and they also have an English menu.
There is also a drink menu available at the hair salon and you can order drinks from the 76CAFE to enjoy while you get your hair done. Just tell your wish to your hairdresser.
Discover the New You!
NALU doesn't believe that their service ends with the payment. Should you not be satisfied with the hairstyle you received, you can contact them and they will be happy to fix it for you.
NALU's goal is to make every customer happy. No matter if you want a natural color, rainbow hair or dream of permanently curly or straight hair, there are no limits at NALU.
So why not drop by at NALU and make your hair a fashion statement in one of the most fashionable cities of the world?
You can book an appointment in English via phone or their website.
In cooperation with Hair Salon NALU