5 Tips for the Hair Salon and a Recommendation Near Osan Air Base

Whenever you are moving anywhere, leaving behind a hairdresser that you love and trying to find a new hairdresser feels like so much work. It is an even bigger struggle when you are moving to a new country and you add in language difficulties and differences in hair. There are differences in Korean hair salons and what Americans might expect from hair salon experiences in the states. Knowing that your hairstylist understands your hair type will help with the difficulties at Korean hair salons.

Where is Osan Air Base?


Osan Air Base is a US Air Force Base located in Singjang-dong, Pyeongtaek-si, Gyeonggi-do, South Korea. The area may also be called Songtan by both international residents and many Koreans who work with international residents. However, when people reference Songtan they may also be referencing Seojeong-dong, Jisan-dong, or parts of Godeok as well. Clarifying locations with exact addresses becomes important when sharing information for locations in this area.

My first experience at a Korean hair salon

When I first moved to Korea, I took a chance one day and got my hair cut at a salon that advertised that they spoke English. I explained that I did not want my hair thinned out because I understood that Korean hair is thicker and often hairdressers will thin it when cutting. I told the hairdresser that I had layers and wanted to keep them. When I left the salon, not only had they thinned my hair out, but they also took layers to be just cutting a straight line across the back of my hair. I ended up wearing my hair in a ponytail for a few days because it looked terrible.

Finally finding a hair salon that met my needs

I had a Korean friend who took pity on me and brought me to her hairdresser who did not speak much English. He did a fabulous job of fixing my cut and I continued to see him after my friend moved away. There were quite a few difficulties with this because my Korean is so minimal and his English was as well. We occasionally chatted using Google translate.

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Hurdles I faced with my hair salon in South Korea

The biggest issue came when I decided to dye my hair back to my original color (strawberry blonde) after it had been a darker red for the winter. I tried unsuccessfully four different times to get my hair lighter but each time I walked out with a version of red much darker than the strawberry blonde I craved. I tried showing many different pictures of the color and even used his book with hair samples to show the color I wanted, but it just did not work.

Finally discovering my “forever” hair salon in South Korea

After the last unsuccessful attempt, I asked a friend to recommend someone. Without a doubt, she told me to get an appointment with Sophie Lee from Sun’s Hair Salon. I first contacted Sophie via Facebook to get an appointment. I sent her pictures of my current hair color and pictures of the color I was trying to get back. After consulting with her, we scheduled an appointment and she worked her magic. I was back to strawberry blonde again!

Suns Hair Salon

Suns Hair Salon5


Copy and paste phone numbers into Naver Maps to get directions

Hangul Address

경기 평택시 밀월로43번길 43

Sophie Lee is a hair dresser with 17 years experience. She understands how to work with both Korean and American hair. She is skilled and knowledgeable.

(Listing information provided by the South of Seoul app)

About Sophie as my “forever” hair stylist

I have been with Sophie for quite a while now. I enjoy going in for my appointments and catching up with her. Sophie is very kind and listens to whatever concerns I have about my hair. She will recommend products if I need them and helps me keep my hair very healthy.

Sophie Lee has been a hairdresser for over 17 years. She has been working with spouses from the Osan and Humphreys bases for about 15 years but also has many other ex-pat clients as well. Sophie explained that part of the reason why the previous Korean hairdresser had been unsuccessful in achieving the color I wanted is that there are not a lot of products for blonde haircare here in Korea and because Korean and Caucasian are very different you have to know how to work with them to achieve the desired color.

Sophie is very skilled and understands many of the cuts and colors that those coming from America are looking to get. Due to her amazing skills, she does not accept walk-ins and her book tends to fill up quickly. It is recommended to book at least a month in advance to get an appointment. Your other choice is to watch her Facebook page consistently for last-minute cancellations. You can request to join Sophie’s group here: (https://www.facebook.com/groups/1118168995376889). I personally book out my next appointment while I am there to make sure I stay on the books 🙂

Sophie has also worked hard to keep the salon clean and sanitized. She provides masks for her clients to wear while they are in the salon. She is very careful to try to keep her family and yours safe during these crazy times.

5 Tips that will make your hair appointment easier

My hair journey taught me many things about finding a “forever” stylist. Here are 5 things I know can help you find the perfect spot for you.

1. Be realistic with your expectations.

You cannot healthily go from black hair to blonde overnight. Sometimes what you want to do may take several services to get there or might destroy your hair. No hairdresser wants to ruin your hair or send you away unhappy. And be realistic about how much time it may take to get your service done.

2. Be specific with your hair history.

If you are consulting a new hairdresser, please let them know what you have done with your hair. This is so crucial. Many people don’t tell their hairdresser the true history of what they have done and this can cause damage to your hair or even the color to go on incorrectly. (And yes, you should tell them if you are using box dye which is different from professional dye).

3. Have a consultation.

Send pictures and be specific as to what you are looking to have done. Once I told a hairdresser I wanted a cut when I meant trim. I got a cut…oops! Remember that when a person speaks a second language they often will lack an understanding of nuance or they may have a different conceptual understanding of a word in English. For example, it might be hard for them to understand things like “blunt cut” or even “layers”. Bring as many visuals as possible from photos to videos.

4. Speak up if you are unhappy with your results.

Communication is key. If you have given an accurate history of your hair and the results still do not come out correctly, speak up. Your hair is a billboard for your stylist. So, they do not want it to turn out badly or for you to be unhappy. If you speak up politely at the time of the service, they may be able to correct it on the spot.

5. Respect your hairdresser’s time.

If you will be late, realize that this is putting their day behind and may impact how much time is available. Also, if you have to cancel your appointment, do it as soon as possible. Having last-minute cancellations not only messes up the schedule but also affects their income. And do not no show, just don’t.

To find out more about hair and beauty in South Korea check out our blog posts on the topic.