Photo credit: Mimi Dejene
Tucked away at the edge of Vancouver's trendy Yaletown neighbourhood, Alpha D Hair Salon glows bright from the street. Passing along Homer Street, I was immediately drawn to the sleek, modern, all-white interior, eye-catching in the dark night. Alpha D certainly draws the attention of passers-by, inviting them in to visit some of the best-trained hairstylists in the latest Japanese techniques.
Alpha D Hair Salon opened its doors in early December; however, the salon's stylists are anything but new to the hairstyling game. Taka Murakami, director of Alpha D, brings a wealth of experience, having worked in both Japan and Canada, the place he has called home for the past nine years.
Photo credit: John Bellerose
Before opening his own salon, Murakami previously flexed his styling skills at Air and Zeal salons, both located in downtown Vancouver. Having developed a strong following during his time at both salons, Murakami decided to open his own salon in December 2012. Dedicated to modern styling and professionalism, the modest-sized salon's stylists are well-versed in both popular Japanese and North American styles and techniques.
Photo credit: Mimi Dejene
Different types of hair require different styling techniques. Thick, coarse hair can't necessarily be cut the same way as fine, thin hair. Not to get too technical, but it has to do with the number of cuticle layers (Asian cuticles tend to be wider, thicker and more densely packed), flatness of cuticles, and distance between cuticles.
Sure, I learned this gem of knowledge the hard way. That wispy, layered bob that looked so cute on Paris Hilton with her fine, feather-light hair looked like a helmet on me with my unbelievably thick, coarse locks.
I'm sure you've been there. Clipping out the raddest hairstyle from the latest fashion magazine, handing it to your stylist and leaving your hair-destiny in their hands. The moment of the big reveal arrives, your stylist turns your chair around and hands you the mirror. Your reaction? Tears. Uncontrollable, unstoppable tears.
Avoid this pain. Visit a stylist who knows and understands the complexities of hairstyling. Check out Taka and his team at Alpha D Salon.
Alpha D Hair Salon team (L-R): Emily (assistant); Taka (director); Ayumi (stylist); photo credit: Mimi Dejene
You'll also rest assured knowing that the hairstyling profession is not something to be taken lightly in Japan.
Similar to other technical professions, Japanese hairstylists must go through a rigorous process before they are even allowed to trim a customer's hair. After completing two years of technical school and passing state qualification exams, Japanese hairstylists first work as assistants for several years. They are limited to washing customers' hair (did I mention, for years?), before they become a full-fledged stylist and are finally allowed to actually cut hair. Compare this with Canadian training, where stylists attend school for less than a year and are able to work as a stylist immediately after graduating.
Another added bonus? For those of you who have been mulling over whether or not to surrender your hair to a perm for some voluptuous, rolling waves, then Alpha D Salon is your spot, without a doubt. The salon boasts the latest and greatest in perm technology, the Nano Mist Perm, developed in and widely used throughout Japan (left photo credit: John Bellerose).
Alpha D is the first salon in Vancouver to offer this technology. Without going into the nitty-gritty details, the technology protects hair from the notoriously damaging perm chemicals. What does this mean for you? It means you get beautiful, natural, soft curls without sacrificing your healthy hair.
Alpha D Salon is located at 818 Homer St. in Vancouver. They are currently running a special promotion until the end of March - all services are 30% (except for stylists Taka & Megu). Make sure to connect with Alpha D on Facebook as well to stay up to date on the latest salon news!