Some people spend $5 on their haircuts. These are the guys who walk around looking like army recruits long after they've ORDed. Then there are those people whose haircuts cost as much as a hair transplant on a surgeon's table would, but boy do they look fabulous.
We're not fans of the "spare no expense" approach to personal grooming, so we can only recommend that you first work out your budget before scouting for a hairdresser you can afford and who meets your needs. Here's what you can get at every price point.
HDB block barbers or salons
Anyone who says he's never had a bowl haircut at an HDB block barber or salon is either lying or has erased the childhood trauma from his memory. Still, getting your hair cut at a barber or HDB salon is one of the most economical ways to keep yourself looking, okay maybe not fantastic, but at least neat and tidy.
Prices range from $8 (I met someone who claimed he managed to get his hair cut at Little India for $3) for a short male haircut to $25 for a relatively fancy female haircut. If you are a guy or have very low maintenance hair, this option can work well for you, so congratulate yourself. A hair wash is usually not included in the price. Here are some noteworthy salons.
- Ben Hairdressing, 431 Clementi Ave 3 - An enjoyable option when you're feeling broke. This is not your typical HDB salon. The interior has been artistically decorated by the owner, who is quite a character himself and puts more effort into his cuts than you would expect.
- Pandian Hairdressing Salon, Beauty World Centre - A staple of all the NS men living in the area, this barber makes you feel like you've gone back a couple of decades in time.
Super fast hair houses
If you're the sort of person who turns nasty if things aren't done swiftly and you don't mind a haircut that can be best described as "functional", then head to one of these hair houses promising a cut in ten minutes and under. Being in one of these places feels like being a cow at a dairy farm. Fast in, fast out. Get on the conveyor belt with the rest of the customers and in 5 minutes you're on your way out with the $10 "standard cut".
- QB House - Haircuts in 10 minutes in almost every neighbourhood in Singapore.
- K Cuts - This is basically QB House for people who want to look Korean, or so they say.
- EC House - Same concept as QB, and probably same standard cut too.
Hipster barber joints
Barbers have gone upmarket with these fashion-conscious boutique barbershops filled with hipsters. Services include haircuts, shaves and hair styling. These places usually provide hair tattooing as well. If you don't know what it is you're probably not ready for it.
- The Panic Room - A haircut here costs $25 to $35. You will probably come out looking cooler than the people at QB House.
- The Golden Rule Barber Co. - A full cat can range from $38 to $48, depending on which of their three locations you visit. You can easily book your appointment online and specify which service you prefer.
This is where things start to feel more like a haircut and less like a shearing. Mid range salons will let you enjoy a basic hair wash and perhaps even a head massage with your haircut, in pleasantly decorated surroundings. Expect to pay about $35 to $100 for a basic cut, depending on your hair length. Chains like Kimage and Monsoon fall under this category as well. The vibe can range from fashion-forward to auntie. Some of the more well-known ones are:
- Toni and Guy - Super famous international chain of upper-mid range salons. They are not the cheapest by far-expect to pay at least $70. But in general the stylists do their job well.
- Next - My personal favourite when I'm not broke, Next is priced lower than Toni and Guy, but the stylists are very fashion-forward. The real reason you'll want to keep coming back is the incredible head and neck massage they give you during your hair wash. Haircuts from $45.
Going to a high end salon is like stepping into another world, much like flying first class on Singapore Airlines. You will enjoy handsome shampoo boys at your beck and call, hair being dusted delicately from your shoulders, catching glimpses of a celebrity in the next chair, your own personal TV screen and a haircut that actually works… well, most of the time.
- Kim Robinson - The peacock perched at the entrance to the super luxe salon says it all. People who get their hair done here swear that your cut stays perfect after washing. Basic cuts by junior stylists start from $138. The legendary Kim Robinson himself charges a cool $2,700.
- Passion Hair Salon - Anyone who's a fan of Zoe Tay is familiar with her longtime pal David Gan, Singapore's most famous celebrity stylist who's styled the tresses of Zhang Ziyi. A cut by the man himself will set you back more than $300.