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Salon number76

Review: Deep layer system treatment at number76

Verdict: A facial for the hair

Written by
Su Ann Ng
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number76 – a Japanese import – is famed for dip dyes, soft waves and the latest in Japanese cuts and trends. First, a bit of background: I have very dry, very damaged hair. I’m guilty on several counts of hair crimes; I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve bleached my hair in the past couple of years. It’s a miracle I haven’t gone bald – no, baldness isn’t an issue, but breakage is. I arrive at number76 thus, hair and heart frazzled, and more than a little suspect. Stepping into the salon, I’m greeted by a small, stylish space gorgeously outfitted with bare bulbs, exposed bricks and pipes, and wooden fixtures; the whole effect is one part decadent, one part industrial café. It shares a space with Caffé Crema – but I’m not here for coffee. There’s also a row of wooden lockers to keep one’s bags and belongings, as well as a private room and a shampoo sink.

Charles Wong, a senior stylist, sits me down in a plush leather chair; he runs his fingers through my (tangled) tresses and tells me what I already know – that my hair is very dry, very damaged. The treatment, using products by Japan’s MoltoBene’s ‘Deep Layer’ range, is available in two-step, three-step or five-step processes in increasing intensity: two-step for virgin hair, three-step for low-to-lightly damaged hair, and five-step for middle-, high-, or super-damaged hair, he explains. Today, we’ll be treating my hair to the full five steps.

After my hair is shampooed and slightly drained, my stylist divides it into several sections and starts applying the treatment in a rubbing and tapping technique – in this first step, the lotion contains hydrolyzed keratin to penetrate and repair the damage holes in my hair. The second step serves to fill the gaps between the damage holes; the lotion is a mix of hydrolyzed keratin and keratide, combined with hair peptide.

Next, my hair is rinsed. Please allow me now to wax lyrical about the wash at number76: I love a good wash as much as the next girl, but I’ve avoided one at salons for a long time now because the stylists are too rough on my breakable, bleached hair. Not here at number76: The wash is leisurely but meticulous, gently ironing out the kinks and knots in my hair and my neck. Repairing ingredients formulated with keratide are next applied to my hair; the molecules in the lotion grow bigger to fit within the damage holes.

After another round of rinsing, the fourth step consists of a coating on the surface of my hair to lock in the results of the repairing ingredients. My hair goes under for a rinse before a gloss-up, water-repellant coat is applied and rubbed into my locks; this is left on for ten minutes before a final rinse.

It’s a long, laboured process; I’m torn between anticipation, because surely a treatment this thorough must do my hair some good, and anxiety, because, um, how much keratin and keratide can my hair take anyway? I was told at the beginning that it would last 45 minutes; I stay for double that, but that’s because my locks take a long time to dry, and then to style. Nevertheless, I walk out of the place with a more manageable mane. It’s not shinier or softer – the treatment isn’t cosmetic, it’s designed to repair and restore hair health from within hair structure – but it does feel stronger and smoother. Nothing short of an intervention from the hair gods will restore my hair to what it was before I began bleaching, colouring and over-processing it, I know, but this treatment proved quite the treat.

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