A Beauty Day at Bijoux Hair Make

Bijoux Hair Make is a charming hair, nail and makeup salon located in the heart of Tenjin. Just as the name “bijoux” (jewel) suggests, the salon mixes sophistication with a twist of cuteness. The all-female staff is committed to ensuring Fukuoka’s women leave the shop happier and more beautiful than when they first entered.

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The carefully designed interior mixes a color scheme of soft pastels with vintage-style furniture, a chandelier and screens.

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Men shouldn’t let the store’s “cutesiness” put them off. Several men stepped into the store during my appointment, and left just as happy as any other customer. The staff’s diverse experience and skills make this the perfect place to get your dream manly haircut.

I know it can be intimidating for a foreigner such as myself to trust a Japanese stylist with my non-Japanese hair texture. As a person with Jamaican heritage who has been getting straight perms for her naturally curly, frizzy hair for years, I was apprehensive. The staff, however, has experience with a wide range of hair types, and will help you find the best treatment for your hair, whether you would like to cut, style or perm it. And remember that not all Japanese customers come in with straight and silky hair; it isn’t unusual for the staff to deal with a wide array of textures.

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The owner especially, Mayumi Kumagai, has 27 years of experience in the field, dealing with all types of hair and styles. More than once, she has participated in the renowned Fashion Week in both Paris and Milan, styling foreign models of various hair textures, as well as coming in close contact with skilled stylists.

Mayumi has also studied hair and makeup in the international fashion hubs New York and Milan, under the tutelage of highly acclaimed artists. In Japan, she currently manages two stores, and is in charge of hair and makeup in “DO-MO”, Kyushu Asahi Broadcasting’s trademark TV show. She also works on Japanese celebrities’ makeup for commercials, TV shows and magazines.

Despite her prestigious background, Mayumi is not nearly as intimidating as you might expect. She is the most adorable and bubbly person I’ve ever met. She’ll set you at ease and make you feel welcome.

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Mayumi (left) and me at the end of my appointment

On my visit, I decided to treat myself to the “carbonated” (tansan) spa treatment (¥1,080), followed with a “fuwafuwa” (lit. fluffy) wavy blowout (¥2,160 when paired with another treatment). Emi Ueno, known for her expert head massages, lead me to the chairs for my shampooing, which reclined to a comfortable lying down position. She then placed a small towelette over my face to protect it from splashes, a standard practice in Japanese salons, and started massaging in the special carbonated shampoo. Most popular in the summer, the shampoo feels fizzy but incredibly relaxing and soothing. It gives a fresh, cool feeling to the scalp and is supposed to cleanse all the gunk and oils that wouldn’t come out with regular shampoo, as well as promote healthy blood circulation. My hair had never felt so light and squeaky clean! Not to mention the relaxing 10-minute head massage (¥1,080) had me dangerously close to dozing off.

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To make the process faster, two stylists blow-dried my hair simultaneously before the owner, Mayumi, took over. She made an excellent job at styling my hair with a curling iron and some hairspray. I emerged feeling more confident, prettier and less shy – I have to confess that I couldn’t stop trying to catch a glimpse of myself in any and all reflective surfaces!

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Emiko, the manager at Fukuoka Now, had her nails done by Ayumi Kimura, the main nail artist at Bijoux Hair Make. Ayumi has five years of experience, and is a master at nail art and drawing small characters. You can either bring a picture of your desired nail design or ask for her recommendation, as Emiko did. Ayumi suggested French nails (only the tips are painted white) adorned with small gold seashells and two blue accent stones on her ring fingers (¥4,860). The design is subtle but gives off a “ready for the beach” feeling, perfect for first-timers or people who don’t fancy the bedazzling sparkly nail trend.

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If you haven’t experienced getting your nails done in Japan, gel nails here are the norm.
Unlike regular nail polish, gel nails only set and harden under a UV light, and can last 3 weeks to a month without chipping. It is a smart option for women (or men!) who wish to grow out their nails, without the hassle of being extra careful handling things to avoid breakage. The nail artist will first buff your nails for a clean, smooth surface, and then ask you to place your nails under the UV light after each gel coat. When finished, you don’t need to worry about smudging your nails as they are already completely set! And if you are dyeing your hair, Bijoux suggests doing your nails while you wait for the color to process. Simple one-color nails take 40 minutes and cost ¥3,780, while more intricately designed nails start from ¥4,860. Prices may vary depending on the kind of decoration and number of stones you use.

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Bijoux Hair Make is the perfect place for visitors who want to update their style, have a complete do-over for special events, or just treat themselves. You also won’t need to run from salon to salon in order to get you hair, makeup and nails done – you can do it all at Bijoux! As the shop is situated in the heart of Tenjin, you can also find plenty of accessory and clothes shops right around the corner. And if you’re worried about the language barrier, the stylists are all very helpful and do their best to be accommodating and communicate in gestures, a few English words or images. All foreigners of all genders are welcome!

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I also recommend you take a look at Bijoux’s original hair products, so you can maintain your style at home.

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Lastly, Hanabi (fireworks) season is right around the corner, and many Japanese people like to dress in yukata to go watch the fireworks. Why not join them? Bijoux offers a yukata dressing service (¥4,212): the staff will expertly wrap you in yukata, tie your obi and help you with any accessories – avoid the struggle and inevitable frumpiness of a self-tied obi!

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• Address: 3F The Shops, 1-12-56 Daimyo, Chuo-ku
• Cuts: 11:00~20:00, Perms & Color: 11:00~19:00
• Closed: Mon. & 3rd Tue.
• Cards accepted
• 092-732-7558
www.bijoux-hairmake.jp

Text by Alba Tinelli, for Fukuoka Now
Photos by Narumi Ishii and Alba Tinelli, for Fukuoka Now

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