Wednesday, 6 May 2015

A Vanishing Trade - Hairdressing Salon in 1950s

Decades ago, there was once a hairdressing salon back in 1950s where my mum used to work with before she set up of her own salon later that year after she was married. Even though she is skilled in hairdressing, makeup artist and making clothes (garments) too. She loves hairdressing more than other things as she has worked through her glorious years since 1950s till now. Before in 1950, Singapore didn't even have postal districts till 1970s.
My Mum (right) at 'Kampong' Lorong Tai Seng 1950s
When she was a teenage around 18 or 19, started work at hairdressing salon soon after she completed her course of hairdressing in early years. She worked at Lorong Tai Seng where there was lots of kampongs/huts built by wooden and straw over the rooftop around at that time and her "working" salon was nearby. I believe what she mentioned the place was Kampong Yew Keng which was near Lorong Tai Seng. Sadly the road to the huts were no longer exists today.
My Mum's Salon in 1950s
You must be wondering what was the hairdressing salon shop looked like back in old good days! I remember there is one old hairdressing salon near my mum's place at Commonwealth Drive which she mentioned that it is also the same old salon that she worked as the door indicated in Chinese character '電髮' or 'Din Faat' that used in Cantonese, not Mandarin/Standard written Chinese and of course she can speak Cantonese too! But now, the door of the shop at Commonwealth Drive is no longer the same as my mum's salon.
My mum's Hairdressing Salon in 1950s
Ever wonder what was it like back then 1950s? This is the photo of my mum stood at the door entrance of the hairdressing salon in 1950s. The salon shop was a 2-storey shophouse. And I believe that the salon was occupied with other shop next door that was once a dentist shop - 'Mah Tai Dentist' which is no longer exists.
Inside of the Salon shop
Peek into the salon of the old, messy surrounding of the salon products and tools that hairdressers were used in good old days. On the left side of the photo, was the staircase leading up to the open space for the patrons to wait for their turns. Even the shop has it a 'Earth' god (below foreground) on the floor to pray for prosperity and their safety of the shop in running smoothly.
Upstairs of the Salon Shop
The 'Upstairs" Salon shop was where many customers sat on the 'old' metal chairs (photo behind where my mum stood) reading some magazines before their turns, those chairs were used by the salons in early years. She and her colleagues would shout to the customers for their turns.
Barber's Tools
I recalled that was in 1980s, there was a barber (mind you - it was not a barber shop) that was operated at HDB nearby. In those years, my mum knew the owner of the barber who was also a Chinese that lived since 1960s. My younger brother was there for his haircut when he was a kid back then. The owner of unit had this business for decades when they first moved in early 1960s. They used the one of rooms for haircuts as long as I could remember because I was there with my younger brother!
I would sit on the stool outside of their living hall. Their 'old timer' customers were mainly from neighbourhood blocks who came for a haircut. In early years, the cost of the haircut was about 50 cents to three dollar and now it will cost about ten to twelve dollar per cut without washing hair.
Old Hairdressing Towels (Suave)
These iconic white cotton towels with 'Good Morning' printed in red at the edge were often seen draped over the shoulders of hairstylists. My mum and I have been using this towel for decades till now. Now this towel with logo 'Suave' (USA) with Chinese words together with 'Good Morning' is no longer exists as told by my mum. You still can find those white towels with red wordings 'Good Morning' from the old shops within Singapore. There’s one thing that would symbolise Singaporean hard work, it’ll be the Good Morning Towel - the ubiquitous accessory of our forefathers.
Many customers, young or old alike came for a haircut or perm hair, Their busier days were on Chinese New Year eve and many 'regular' customers (young or old) came and the business was good.
Hairdressing Magazine in 1973
Have you wonder what the Hairdressing book looked like on those years in 1970s which I believe not many salons have these books and especially one of the books was from Malaysia where she bought it in 1973 before she set up her own salon in 1970s in Singapore. My mum had on her own skills in 'Make-up' & 'Braiding' for the Chinese ladies of all occasions or even Wedding/Reception occasions for the Brides. My mum also knows how to make 'Beehive' hairstyles that was in 1950s till early 1980s for the ladies with slim slender that looked best in their styles.
The Hair Fashion Magazine for Perm Hair (1976)
This magazine "The Hair Fashion Magazine" for PERM HAIR for Chinese ladies, young or old alike. It was printed in 1976. My hair is usually cut according to the books I choose and sometimes I will tell my mum what styles would I like. I have lots of photos of myself with different hairstyles in early 1980s till now. In this book, there are lots of "Perm Hair" styles - Changable Straight Plank, Boomerang Perm, Phonix Perm and so on. Both the Magazines were the sources for the hairstylists to learn from stretch based on the books and also the customers can choose the hairstyles of their choice.
My Mum's own salon in 1970s
In early 1960s, the hairdressing salon where my mum worked, had stopped working soon after she got married. Eventually, later in 1970s, she set up of own hairdressing salon together with a partner, her sister-in-law from one of her younger brothers. Their new salon was located at Rochor Centre that was built in 1977 where there was NTUC supermarket and the salon was just above it. She couldn't remember her salon name when I told her about it and I believe that this was done by her sister-in-law (my aunt) who was also beautician back then. She has a friend who owns beautician shop in Bukit Batok area. That was where I had a facial wash before I were getting married. My mum was also skilled beautician/Makeup artist who can 'touch-up' or 'makeup' of other people's face since young. When I was young, I saw her 'make-up' of her own face! Even now, she is still does  her makeup before she goes out despite of her old age, she is still young at heart.
Later in a few years, her salon at Rochor Centre was closed because her sister-in-law stopped continuing at salon as she has other business of her own which I presume. My mum has no choice but to close down. And all the salon products and furnitures brought back to her home, to start of her own later the same year 1970s.
The fact is that Rochor Centre will soon be demolished in year 2016 after they moved out to a new location. Sadly, such historical places are only the memories that linger in their minds from the older generations who lived through the years.
Old Salon's Chair
Barber's Chair (push up wheel)
Little did she bring back the salon's furniture including rubber string metal leg chair with handrail of old which dates back in early 1960s that used for the salons before invented new salon chair with push-up (as above). In early years, the 'push-up' chair and its cushion was black in colour back then.
Hairdressing Products
My mum's Old Hair Dryer
Styling tools may include Hair irons (including flat and curling irons), hair dryers, Hairbrushes (both flat and round), hair rollers, diffusers and various types of scissors , you may find in salons of yesteryears and my mum uses till today.
Old Hairdresser's tools
Her hairdressing also include the use of product to add texture, shine, curl, volume or hold to a particular style too.
Hairpin and Cutter
Wave Hairpin for old granny/woman
A hair pin or bobby pin is a long device used to hold a person's hair in place that my mum has been using this since. Hairpins made of metal, ivory, bronze, carved wood, etc. These wave hairpin is for old woman/granny with short hair (roundcurls).
Plastic Rollers of different sizes
There are two types of hairstyles tools that are used for perming - Plastic rollers are the tools determine the size of the curl and the larger the tool you use is, the larger the wave that will be put into the hair. And the hair must be wound around the tool with some tension in order to get a good curl, a weak wrap on the tool will result in a looser wave for as long as the rollers and clips are plastic they should present no interaction problems.
Perm Rods and Perm Wraps (white)
Perm Rods of different sizes and shapes for - Inverse or straightening perms that diffuse natural curls. Perm rods come with perm end wrap papers. Perm wrap is one which one end paper is place under and another is placed over the strand of hair being wrapped. Perm Wraps also known as 'End wraps" absorbent papers used to control the end of the hair when wrapping and winding hair on perm rods.
In fact, sometimes, I usually go to my mum's house for haircut or perm hair done by my own mum whenever she is free and even she dyed my hair too.
Her hairdressing skilled is often wide known to all young hairdressers as she has been doing for over 6 decades till now. I have learnt a lots from her since I was a teenage and sometime, I help to cut or perm her hair whenever she calls me up.

1 comment:

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