In the high-end fashion alley of Omotesando on the third floor in one of the buildings is Gratii Hair Salon. Stepping out of the elevator the Gratii staff greeted us and showed us around. The place had a relaxing atmosphere with easygoing music softly playing in the background. To the left were chairs and sinks for the head spas. In the center were the stylist chairs and in the back, were stations for hair dyeing. In Japan, it is very difficult to find a hair salon where they accept reservations from foreigners and language is not a barrier.
Clients of All Japan Tours requested to have their hair done at Gratii, which was finally approved by the famous Japanese stylists after a year of negotiations from our company. It was the first time for this hair salon to work on foreigners, but with the help of an interpreter it was a smooth process. All Japan Tours also prepared translated Japanese salon phrases into English for the stylists to use. The Gratii staff limited the amount of reservations for that day in order to devote more of their attention to All Japan Tours’ clients. The clients were fine with us taking photos and videos of them as well as the stylists as long as we did not interrupt their work.
Famous people have had their hair done at Gratii, which have been showcased in different magazines. Due to their popularity, it takes months to get a reservation. They do not accept walk-ins. However, they informed us that those, in the future, who book a tour with All Japan Tours will be able to get a reservation with no problem. Tadasuke, Tomoaki, and Yodai are the names of the three stylists who were working that night. First was the consultation of what the clients would have liked to be done. The stylists pointed to the translated phrases on the paper and the translator helped convey what they wanted into Japanese.
It is recommended that you tell them the length you wish to have and leave the rest in their hands. Kind of like omakase, which means you trust them to decide on the style that fits your face the best. It is like the saying “I leave it up to you.” The stylists then asked the type of scents they would like to be mixed into the shampoo used for the head spa.
After the consultations were done the clients were escorted to their assistants who handled the head spas. The scents emitting from the wash had such an amazing relaxing effect that one of the girls admitted to almost falling asleep during the shampooing. When they were done with the head spas, the clients’ hair looked much healthier compared to before.
The male client was first to finish the head spa and was escorted back to the stylist’s chair. Tadasuke was in charge of cutting his hair. He made sure the style fit the client and their preferences. As the cut began the assistant swept the floor at periodical intervals regardless of the amount of hair on the floor. Which is vastly different from some of the salons in America, where they wait till the whole process is done then sweep the floor.
When the female clients were escorted to their seats, Tomoaki began cutting one of the client’s hair, while Yodai had an assistant help him with drying the other girl’s hair. It was interesting to see two people using hairdryers on one person. The conversations that each of them had were great. The stylists talked about their hometowns and their lives as hair dressers. The clients responded with their own stories of their lives and the places they went to on the tour.
A good moment that happened between Tomoaki and his client was when they were talking about Instagram. She wanted to update her story and asked if it was okay to do so. He responded with enthusiasm and asked her to tag him. He also said “don’t forget the #gratii_official” in a playful manner. For a little while they were liking each other’s photos.
When Tadasuke finished cutting, he added some products in the guy’s hair. Then he was escorted to have one more wash. After the final drying, Tadasuke started to add the final touches and the male client’s hair looked amazing. One by one the stylists finished their work and applied the final hair products to the girls. Before the appointment their hair looked alright, but afterwards they looked fabulous. It was great to see the skills of professionals at work and seeing the end product. After all was said and done, we were left with the urge to make another reservation there and get our hair done.