Beauty Saloon at Arugambay

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After being in Sri Lanka for six months, my hair was in desperate need of a trim job. It was always in tangles and I had a ton of split ends. Our bathing water is also a bit on the salty side (go figure living on the beach) which doesn’t help the situation at all. And to make matters worse, Pottuvil and Arugam Bay don’t have what I would call a suitable hair salon.


This is a picture of the local barber shop, which you only see men in. I figured either women cut their own hair or don’t bother, which would explain the very long hair they all seem to have. I didn’t grow large enough balls to get my hair cut in Pottuvil, but I did manage to on my next trip to Colombo.

I went with Dan to a “His and Hers” salon. Dan has been to this salon a couple of times and comes home looking good in his new doo. I know it is a little different with women, but I really wanted my hair cut so I had to suck it up. It took me five minutes to find the hers salon, which is tiny compared to the his salon. You would think this would be the first warning sign. In what salon is the men’s larger than the woman’s?

It took another five minutes to discuss prices and what I wanted. There was some confusion if the shampooing and hair drying after cutting was included in the price. This might be considered the second warning…should I really get my hair cut by this person who I can barely communicate with? Screw it…I wanted my hair cut, so I just closed my eyes and hoped for the best.

My favorite part of having my hair cut is actually the washing. There is something about another person washing your hair and massaging your head that is so relaxing. The washing stationed looked normal but I didn’t really fit in the chair. There was no leg rest so I had to hold up half of my body weight. Then the water was freezing cold. I was so very glad when the washing was done, but the shampoo did smell lovely.

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We discussed how much I wanted trimmed off and my layers redone. Then I realized the only pair of scissors sitting in front of me had orange handles and looked like paper scissors (warning number three?) I was near complete panic mode until I took a deep breathe and said to myself “hair grows back”. Thankfully, she soon brought out her little cart of goods and thankfully, another pair of scissors. I think she cut every hair on my head, meaning she was very thorough. You would think this was a good thing, however it was taking forever and since there was no AC in the salon… I was accumulating major boob sweat.

Finally she begins drying my hair, which escalates the heat issue by ten. I swear I almost passed out in the salon. The hair dryer smelled bad, probably burning my hair along with my scalp. I couldn’t take it any more and screamed “stop your burning me.” She backed off and felt bad, but finished her job. I paid the girl 700 rupees, about $7, and walked out the door to fresh air. I have never been so thankful to leave a hair salon.

Overall my hair cut was cute and there are no visible signs of permanent hair damage from being burnt. It might, however, take another six months before I try getting my hair cut again overseas.

Dan, meanwhile, walked out of his salon with a sharp haircut, a straight razor shave, a beard trim, and a head massage for about $9. He couldn’t have been happier, since there is very little he loves more than a good bargain. He says that he still misses his salon back home for the free beer and the hot stylists, but I know that he is going to bitch about paying $50 again as soon as he gets back.

Posted by JenGarbelyA?A?05.09.2008 21:27A?A?Archived inA?A?EventsA?A?|A?A?Sri Lanka


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