First published in ELEQT on 12 May 2012.
On a weekday evening, Jasmine and I found ourselves on the spa floor of Four Seasons, staring at the dazzling view of the Victoria Harbour. What brought us here? Well, we were invited by John Mouzakis, the latest addition to QG Private i Salon, to share with us his tips on everything from hair styling to secret hideaways on Lamma. As someone who always struggled to communicate exactly what I want to be done with my hair, this was an enlightening conversation, and hopefully it will shed some light for you on your next trip to the salon!
What brought you over to Hong Kong?
It might sound like a terribly rash decision, but it might just be the best one I have ever made. Back in 2005, I was in Hong Kong on transit to Sri Lanka to do some tsunami relief work at one of their coastal cities, so I really only had a few hours out of the airport, but that was enough to convince me to move over five years down the line.
The best thing about Hong Kong is how compact everything is. You don't really need to drive to get around, since there is a huge variety of very efficient public transportation. My favourite spot in Hong Kong is definitely Lamma Island, with its nature, tranquility, and lovely eateries. In fact, I love it so much that I am now living there with my wife and our visually-challenged pug. If I could only recommend one place on Lamma, it has to be the Lamma Beer Garden, which does the best Indian vegetarian curry. Try it for yourself next time you are over!
How did you begin your career as a hair stylist?
I was trying to become a big time snowboarder before I was injured and forced to take a different route in life. After travelling to Sri Lanka for tsunami relief, I thought it was a good idea to follow my mom's footsteps and pursue hairstyling, so I started with a course back at home near Marquette Michigan, and work just took me over to Chicago, and eventually to Hong Kong. It has been an exciting career, because I was home schooled and didn't really met much people growing up, so I am quite an introvert. This job allows me to get to know people from all walks of life, and ultimately led me to meet my wife. It is also pretty challenging on a professional basis, since everyone's hair is different, so nothing is ever quite the same. Trying new things all the time is what counts the most for me!
I was with Toni & Guy in Soho before I recently joined QG Private i in Four Seasons, and I am still enjoying the terrific harbour view a lot. After participating in the production of fashion shows, photo shoots, and television shows both back at home and now here in Hong Kong, I must say, the skill level in Hong Kong is definitely way higher than it is in the States. I reckon it is because salons here really focus upon training up their stylist, since there isn't much of a beauty school around. Back in the States, you are pretty much on your own after you get out of your very basic school training. So you Hong Kong people are definitely spoilt by talented stylists around!
What are some weird stuff you have seen people doing with their hair?
Girls in Hong Kong are very fond of keeping their hair dead straight, so it is difficult to get them to do anything but the ionised straightening. Guys over here, on the other hand, like to shave off the sides and leave loads of hair on top, which is why I get lots of requests for shaving off the sides or leaving a tail. Personally, I don't like my hair getting rained on. Not quite sure why that would be bad though, I guess perhaps the acid rain might make me go bald?
Any tips for getting a haircut?
When you are trying out new salons or hair dressers, make sure you ask around to check out what their reputation is like. You can leave your designer bags at home if you don't like it after you bought it, but your hair goes everywhere with you, so it is definitely worth the investment. Also, try to let your hair stylist know what you like and what you simply can't stand, and be open to their opinions as well. Flipping through magazines to get an idea of what you want is good, but do bear in mind that the person in the picture will have a different hair texture, hair density, or face shape from you, so whatever it is they have on them probably won't exactly translate back onto you.
People usually think that the girls are getting a better deal at haircuts because their hair is longer, but that is totally not the case! The hardest haircut to do is actually for men, because of how short it is, you need to be painfully precise and immaculate. A graduated bob for the girls is pretty difficult too if you only do it with scissors and comb. Back in my training days with Vidal Sasson, I spent months just perfecting my grasp on their signature graduated bob!
For 2012 Spring/Summer, I would say the blondes can go with big wavy hair, which is playful and easily takes you from work to play. Brunettes, alternatively, can focus on getting that nice shiny healthy look by richening up your colour, which is totally attention grabbing! My favourite hair style for Asian hair is definitely the asymmetric bob, which is always in style no matter what the season is. It works great with the natural hair texture, facial features, as well as the bone structure.
John Mouzakis, Hair Stylist
Address: QG Private i Salon, Podium Level 6, Four Seasons Hotel, Central.
Telephone: 2521 0070