Hair & Joy

I’m aware that this is a popular question and quite a popular location for foreigners. Truth be told, one of my biggest first world worries I had before moving to Korea was “Where am I going to get my hair done!?”

I’ve been here in Korea for three years now, and I’ve (mostly) been loyal to the same salon. I admit, I cheated on this place once or twice with a cheaper, local salon but it wasn’t the same. While the other salon wasn’t bad, the shade they used was darker, and I recall getting a lot of lowlights. I’ve tried to stop being blonde, but it just isn’t for me. I’m blonde, it’s not changing, and I want good hair, darn it.

This is why Hair & Joy is my favorite place. I’ve honestly debated not posting on this as it’s such a popular place, but when I bring it up to people, I’m still surprised by all the people who aren’t familiar with it. This summer, I will have been going there for three years. (Wait, is that even English?! I can’t English anymore!)

The problem with Seoul is that it’s huge and everything feels like a trek. Hongdae is no exception. I thought that by living in Seoul (Gangnam), everything would be super close and convenient for me. Lies, lies, lies! Hongdae is still 45 minutes away from me, and will most likely be a hike for you, too. The good news is that I make a day trip out of it. I make sure to try a cute new eatery, cafe, and get some shopping done (hello big shoe sizes at H&M, Zara, Bershka, and Forever 21!) so I don’t feel like I wasted a precious weekend day. It’s even better if you get it done before a night of going out.

Making an appointment with them is super easy, as reception speaks English (phone number is on the site link I provided). Even more convenient is just messaging Johnny on Kakao. While there are many hairdressers there, I personally prefer Johnny and Jake (his assistant). It’s reached the point where I’ve gone so much that I’m just comfortable with them. I never, ever feel like I am playing “Korean charades”. For the price I pay (more on that below), I communicate with them just like I would anyone back home. They are excellent, they always take what I want into consideration, and they know what they are doing.

Bonus: there are foreign magazines you can catch up on while you’re there.

Getting there from Hongik University station is quite easy, although I’m navigationally challenged, and this took about a year. Go straight outside of exit 8 and cross the little street. On your right, you will find a large building with a Uniqlo. I just go through it and come out the back. Across the street is Hair & Joy. Make sure to look up. I forgot to this once and I walked around for 15 minutes confused. A total blonde moment, indeed.


It’s on the second floor. Don’t be like me and miss it!

I realized after the fact that my phone wasn’t behaving that day and my pictures were massively affected by the glare, but you get the gist. It’s cute inside. I always like to go around noon. If I remember correctly, the last time I went (about six weeks ago) I went at 10, and it was super quick. I was able to get out a lot faster and enjoy my day in Hongdae.

I’m not bold when it comes to my hair. After having a tragic “scene hair” fail in 2006 with a friend, a pair of steak scissors, and the end result being a clinically depressed mullet, I’m terrified to ever try anything new with my hair again. I get the same thing (almost) every time. Sometimes, I live life on the wild side and get a half head of highlights instead of a full one. This is similar to when I get medium salsa at Chipotle.

I get a trim, full head of highlights, and a blowout/sometimes waves. I pay 150,000 won. Seeing as I pride myself on getting most of my clothes for free from clothing swaps, I am fully aware that’s a steep price to pay. However, I am always, always, always 150% satisfied with how my hair looks at the end.

Here’s a picture before it’s styled. I personally quite like the color. I have never left Hair & Joy with orange sadness on my scalp. Because the price is so steep, in between sessions, I tone my hair at home. My toner was shipped to me in a care package from the states, but by gosh if you have a reliable source here, please let me know!


Andddd here’s the finished product.

Upon the most recent time going there, this is what they had for blonde hair products.


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2 thoughts on “Hair & Joy

  1. Love your post – hair is such a complicated issue when in a foreign country – better nothing than ruined. I remember being in tears several times, but once the damage is done… Stopped coloring my hair but good stylists aren’t easy to find either. On this trip for 10 months so far – 7 different countries – and found a good stylist in Berlin. Since I usually end up in South Africa, have a good stylist in Cape Town and when on a long trip try to wait until I get there to have anything done!!

    1. guacandrollinseoul July 11, 2019 — 6:55 am

      oh i totally know the struggle! good luck my dear! <3

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