Hosts love ridiculous hair. It looks like a cross between Glam Rock hair and the protagonists of every Square Enix RPG ever created. The reason I say it’s ridiculous is because the amount of hair spray that goes into making it is responsible for the holes in the Ozone layer more than emissions from hybrid vehicles. The good news is however that being a white girl with super fine hair will not stand between you and your dream of looking like Kabukicho’s most eligible bachelor. So what do you need to get yourself this amazing hairdo? A mere 1500 yen.
No matter how many youtube tutorials you watch, you simply won’t be able to do this style as well as a hairdresser. You could probably get a friend to do it for you, but in my case this turned into several minutes of pain before giving up (I ended up looking more like a caveman). It’s really hard to balance the backcombing and the separating of the strands so they look smooth individually. I managed to do this for myself eventually, but it still didn’t have the overall structured look I was after.
(That’s me on the right.)
So my advice would be to head to Kabukicho. Or any area with host clubs really. Where there are host clubs, there are hairdressers catering to them. I went to a salon in Kabukicho a year and a half ago, so being a loyal customer I tried to find it, but after wandering around for a few minutes and passing some shady gentlemen more than once, I decided to give up and go to the first unisex salon I saw. Most salons are unisex, and will have a picture of both a guy and a girl out front, so they are easy to identify. There are however some that are for hostesses only, like the one on the main road where the Shinjuku Ward Office and the Pasela Resorts with the Capcom Bar are. I ended up going to one on a road parallel to this one, behind the ward office. The salon was on the second floor, and I told the girl who came to greet me that I wanted my hair set. She had pink hair and several facial piercings, so I knew that I had chosen the right establishment for me. She asked me if I had a time limit, as most patrons come to the salons just before work. I told her that I didn’t, but I wanted it done as soon as possible, so she told me the wait would be 10-15 minutes. Unlike most businesses in Japan, the payment in these salons is up front, so once you’re done you can just run along to your champagne call. So I handed over the 1500 and sat down to wait. There was only one other girl before me, and I was shown to a stylist’s chair quite quickly. There I had another 5-10 minute wait, so I picked up the host hair magazine and started looking for the style I was going to ask for.
After a while, a visibly amused young gentleman came along and asked me how I wanted my hair done. I showed him the picture in the magazine, and we discussed if I wanted the typical host M parting at the front, and if I wanted the tips of the strands curved. If I had to imagine his back story, I’d say that he himself used to be a host in Kabukicho, but after one trip too many to ER with alcohol poisoning, he decided to retire and enter the hair spraying business instead. As he went along doing my hair, he didn’t ask me any typical questions you get in Japan, which was kind of refreshing. The set took around 20-25 minutes, and involved a lot of straightening, backcombing, spraying and separating the strands. When he was done, I said thank you and went on my way, like every other customer. When he realised I was leaving, he ran out after me and thanked me profusely for my patronage. I thanked him again, and told him I’d be back. What a nice young man. And I think that he did a better job than the lady at the other salon I visited before. Also, these guys used industrial strength hairspray, so my hair was virtually unchanged when I woke up the next morning (after a night of clubbing). Bravo. It takes a lot of conditioner to get all the tangles from backcombing out when washing your hair, but if you take it slow, this hairstyle doesn’t really damage your hair that much. A definite must for a unique hair experience when visiting Japan, and if you’re not really into the boy styles, they can do gorgeous hostess creations for you too.