A visit to Onion’s

It’s been over 6 months since I had my hair cut or dyed so today I took a last minute trip to our local Hairdresser in Phong Nha. We call her Onion and she is really good with the scissors as well as doing a good job with colouring, shaving and even manicures. Onion also does one of the best head massages and hair wash combos I’ve ever had.

The building is far from the fancy salons of Toni & Guy and very basic compared to my own hairdresser back in the UK however Onion always knows what to do to make your hair look so much better than when you arrived.

Onion is the sister-in-law to the infamous Ho Khanh, her ‘salon’ is in a small building situated about halfway between Ho Khanh’s and Oxalis Home, on the right-hand side as your going towards town – it’s near a small church building opposite a small junction. There are no markings or name above the door but it has some blue wooden shutters on the window that will be closed when there is bright sun, cold weather or rain.

Today’s hair colouring didn’t go as planned as I arrived with some hair dye that I bought in Hanoi (and was meant to be a dark brown colour). I had a hair cut, the colour was applied and after the head massage and a face wash resembling less severe waterboarding I was ready for my blow dry.

The colour had turned the grey part of my hair a bright pink and the bottom of my hair was more a dark brown. It looked ok but a bit patchy and Onion wasn’t happy with my hair colour. She asked the other customers their opinion too and we all agreed it wasn’t my best look yet.

Onion doesn’t speak English and I don’t speak Vietnamese so the colour chart was brought out and much pointing ensued until she decided she would start again. She mixed up a dish of ‘Vietnamese Brown’ and reapplied to my hair.  The ritual was repeated and I finally emerged with normal looking hair and a great cut for less than 5 dollars. Even the other customers, who’d been kept waiting longer than necessary because of me, said it looked ‘dep’ (beautiful) but then the Vietnamese are such a polite bunch.


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