In my limited salon experience, when you get your hair cut, you get your hair cut. When you get a massage, you get a massage. At my mom’s salon in Florida, hair coloring is separate from cutting, even! (But we wouldn’t know about that – we’re natural blondes, right Mom?)
This separation of services is not the case in Japan, I have come to find out. Today as I (ahem) had my hair cut and colored, my favorite stylist, Takano-san (at May’s Garden Spa in Roppongi Hills – go there – it’s amazing) told me they were having a special on hand and forearm massages and if I wanted to do it, the esthetician would come right over. The price was right and I was curious, so why not? I am hooked. It was unbelievable.
While I was waiting with the color on, Aiko-san massaged my right hand and arm, starting with a hot towel, going through the massage with cream, and finishing with a “pack-u” – or what I would call a “mask” for my hand. Right as she got the mask on, however, it was time for me to get a shampoo to rinse out the color. As we all know, hair coloring waits for no man – or woman – or hand massage. But that didn’t faze Aiko-san. She just rolled her little cart over to the sink where I was getting rinsed, and she started on my left hand.
Yes, that’s right. I got that fabulous head massage and shampoo combination about which I constantly rave, AND the hand and forearm massage at the SAME TIME.
At one point the shampoo man was massaging my temples and Aiko-san was massaging my left palm. Bliss. Purse bliss.
Just as the hot towel went on my forehead and then under the back of my neck as usual, Aiko-san finished applying the mask to my left hand. So I had to get up (shakily) and walk back to the haircut chair with my hands raised. As soon as I was seated and Takano-san was ready to cut my hair, Aiko-san was right there removing the hand mask and then applying moisturizer before finishing it off.
I understand this was a special treat and not something I can have regularly. I am very privileged to do these things, lest you think I take it for granted. But I do think it’s simply brilliant to have salon services put together so nicely. It saves time for the customer and I’m sure it makes the salon work more efficiently. What a day. I’m just going to appreciate it for what it is: Japanese work flow at its best.