Hair Adventures in Koreatown – Just Ask for Hannah

Last weekend I got my hair cut and permed. Let’s pause for a silent, personal “hurrah!” for me, because it was long overdue! Several factors contributed to that.

Factor 1: I had my hair done just before moving to Canada (that’s right, I’m in Canada, but we’ll get to that in a second) so in the craziness of settling in a new place, the last thing on my mind was hair.

Factor 2: I’ve always had low-key hair. I’d simply focus on trying to get a stylish cut…and then depend on it for months on end. I used to happily brag about how I only cut my hair twice a year (I know, it sounds ridiculous to me now too).

I never got into coloring (although there was that one brief “red” period freshman year of college), and stopped entirely when Steve, my hairstylist in NY, said to me once, in a mildly threatening manner, “don’t you ever, ever dare color that hair.” He was a fabulous black man expertly wielding a pair of shears, so I guess I was a little scared.

The only time after that was during my internship with Redken a few years later when I caved to the promise of getting a free color treatment if I volunteered to be a model in a class for experts at the academy.

Anyways, that was the extent of my relationship with treatments until last fall when I conquered bad-perm-fear and decided, in determination to revive my lifeless locks, I’d give it a go. Loved it. Did it once more before leaving Hong Kong as I knew I’d be parting with the deft and able hands of Ray, my stylist in Hong Kong. Long story short, I suppose it was due to my limited experience with treatments that I just didn’t expect for it to get unruly so quickly.

Which brings us back to March in Canada.

I left Hong Kong mid-December and I moved to Toronto on January 3rd. I waited until Mid-March to do my hair. At which point, I realized, I had no idea where to even go. I wanted a place that understood Asian hair, and more importantly, knew how to perm it. On the other extreme, I also needed a place that wouldn’t give me a “trendy” Asian pop-star cut.

So, I turned to a fellow rep, who is not only Asian and beautiful, but also has fabulous hair, for advice. She had a few recos, and eventually, told me about her friend who, “had a great perm…in a basement in Koreatown…don’t know the name…the stylist’s name was Hannah.”

Somehow, I was sold.

I typed the keywords “Hannah,” “Koreatown,” “Toronto,” and found Goa Beauty Salon. Through my “extensive” research on community forums, I learned that Hannah was supposedly the only one in the salon that spoke English and that you had to book her way in advance. But you know what: the reviews were solid, all referred specifically to Hannah by name, and one of the girls in one of the online articles had a cute hairstyle.

Fast forward to last week. Hannah asks me a few questions about what I’m looking for, and very quickly just “gets” me. And I kid you not, I have never sat in a chair and seen my hair literally be transformed, in front of my eyes, inching closer to fabulousness with every snippy snip. I mean, I’ve had great cuts, but usually, the fabulousness is revealed after the blow-out. She put me in rollers for a digital perm and told me she was creating tighter curls than what I had before so they’d last a bit longer, but would still be medium-loose.

In all honesty, I didn’t love it at the reveal. The blow-out hid and took all definition out of both the curls and cut, and I was like, THIS is supposed to last me for the next few months? I would need to return NEXT WEEK! But all was redeemed when I waited to wash it out, ran some curling product through it, scrunched it up with my fingers, and left it to air-dry. The curls were indeed tighter than I had ever had them, and my cut was shorter than I had realized in the salon – but you know what, it looked amazing.

Verdict: While I’m not likely to go back for a blow-out, I’m certain I’ve found the perfect spot for everything else (at least until I’m gone in a few months), cut & perm included!

Goa Beauty Salon
Address: 714 Bloor Street West
Tel: (416) 516-9292

Ask for Hannah. Yes, she’s talented, but a real sweetheart too.


About jessyclaire

A blogger passionate about the beauty industry and the quirky beauty differences across the globe.
This entry was posted in Just Jessie and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Hair Adventures in Koreatown – Just Ask for Hannah

  1. Allie says:


    I’m just wondering how much your digital perm cost?


  2. useyourcleanser says:

    Hi I found your blog through google search. I want to get my hair bleach blonde (I am Asian and have dark hair), I am trying to find a good salon in Korean Town, but most of them doesn’t have a website for prices. Do you which salon offer the best price and colouring ?

    Thank you 😛 !

  3. lauren says:

    this is so old, but im in the market for a perm in toronto. is this a regular perm, or a digital perm, which you are talking about??

  4. I am very grateful you did share your knowledge here. It is an excellent post.Thanks for sharing your valuable thoughts with us & our readers

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