Monday, September 19, 2011

Cheap Haircuts in Singapore

Back when I first arrived in Singapore, I used to convert everything from Singapore Dollars into US Dollars and most things didn't seem too expensive. So a SG$10 haircut used to be about US$5.88, which wasn't too bad (although there used to be a place in Houston where I got US$3.50 haircuts.  I was able to get pretty cheap haircuts in the Philippines too but the cheapest was this guy in an alley in China who charged less than a dollar).

So all of a sudden, a lot of "cheap", fast, convenient haircutting places like QB House and EC Cuts sprung up everywhere.  The draw of these places was that they where everywhere, they charged "relatively" low prices and you usually wouldn't have to wait too long since each haircut should be finished in 10 minutes.  Why do I keep putting "quotations" around words while I'm talking about their prices?  It's because they're not really that cheap.  First, 10 Singapore dollars is now about 8 US Dollars and considering the quality of the haircut you're getting, USD$8 would've gotten you a decent haircut and a wash back in the day (I'm not sure about now).

Now, I don't know much about haircare and stuff like that since I have so little to little to speak of, so I always go for the cheapest available place.   Here are some of the options I've tried in Singapore:
  • Shaving your own head - I used to do this for about a year and half but eventually I got tired of the mess and time it took (although I was getting faster with more and more practice).  Although it is probably the cheapest way--you need to stock up on razors and shaving cream--getting cheap shaving cream is ok usually, but if you skimp on the razor, it just makes the whole process slower and more painful, much like dealing JP Chase/Morgan bank accounts while you're overseas.  Get one of those triple-bladed or quintuple-bladed razors and repalce it once it starts to get dull.  I recommend that everyone shave their own heads at least once. Even the girls.
  • QB House/EC Cuts/ etc - I know it sounded like I hate these places in the paragraphs above but they're actually ok if you temper your expectations and aren't afraid to speak up if you're not happy with how it looks or if they missed a spot (they tend to rush).  Although they don't wash your head, they do have this crazy suction device that sucks up all the stray hair....well not really.. if your hair's extremely short like mine it can't get everything so you'll need to go home and wash anyway... but still better than nothing.  As I mentioned, these places are usually SG$10, so if you look a little bit harder you can do better (cheaper).
  • Mom and Pop Barbers - No, I'm not talking about your old lady and your old man, I'm talking about the small shops around residential areas or around schools in Singapore.. the last time I went they charged about SG$8 (sometimes less) and some even gave washes after the haircut, like this one place at Nanyang Technological University that offered some kind of discount if you had a membership with them, which made the price even lower.  and that brings me to:
  • Snip Avenue - I googled "cheap haircuts singapore" and found out about this chain of salons from other cheap-minded internet denizens.  I forgot the exact amount but I think it's about $5 for a walk-in haircut here (for guys.... sorry ladies).  But it gets better... they currently have some kind of promotion where you pay $15 upfront for twelve $0.80 haircuts that can be used within the next year.  So it comes out to $(15 + 12 * .8)/12 = $2.05 per haircut.  Even I think that's pretty cheap, and we all know how cheap I am.  You can even add a wash for an extra $2 or something and that would come out to about $4 for a wash and haircut (but I still forgo the wash because as I said, I'm SUPER cheap.  Washing's free at HOME, suckas)
  • Hair for Hope - So every year(?) or so often they have this event where people shave their heads and donate money for charity.  It helps raise cancer awareness and is a way to show solidarity and support for cancer patients who've also had to shave their heads while undergoing treatment. Yes, it's actually not a big sacrifice for me to go shave my head compared to others, but I recommend people do this or at least donate next time you see an event like this.  To be completely honest though, it was the WORST shave I've ever received.  Ever.  The electric razor was obviously dulled by the hundreds of people who went before me, all with thicker heads of hair that would leave clumps in the razor...causing it not to operate smoothly and efficiently as an electric razor should.  The razor kept getting stuck and would catch onto my hair instead of cutting it, ripping out the hair by the roots instead... which was pretty annoying and painful. Also some of the people doing the shaving obviously had no idea what they were doing, and the one who shaved my head was particularly noobish.   In the end my head looked the same as Pig-Pen (that dirty kid from Charlie Brown) with totally uneven shaving and some patches of hair still here and there... and the free shirt they gave me was way too small. Ok, all that being said, it's all good, my ninjas.  It was for charity.
My free extra small t-shirt
This kid is obviously being forced to support cancer patients

Update: Oh yeah I forgot about one other way to get cheap shaves--join the army.  Apparently they only charge about $2 also, but I have no idea what the quality is like.  Also, you might get sent to the front lines if Singapore were ever to go to war.

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