Clickbait-style title aside, this is a real question I asked myself on my way to Head Spa Kuu’s newest Osaka Umeda Store location. Opened on August 1 this year, it was purported to be an almost addictive experience. I had my doubts — after all, it was just a head spa. At the same time, I held onto a tiny kernel of hope it might be true — after all, isn’t a complete transformation what we always hope for after a beauty treatment? I know I do, but I also know that my expectations haven’t always been fulfilled. Until now, that is. Read on to find out how a 90-minute head spa treatment at Head Spa Kuu changed my life for the better.
Okay, But What is a Head Spa?
Let’s start with the basics: what exactly is a head spa? While the word spa conjures up full-body massages with oils and clay masks, a head spa is more focused but offers the same advantages. Head spas include deep scalp massages, which encourage blood flow to the area, releasing tension in the jaw, neck and shoulders. They also gently clean the scalp of dirt and product build-up, aging skin cells and ease fatigue. A head spa is an excellent mini escape from a hectic lifestyle.
Given that most of us spend hours hunched over our phones or staring at computer screens all day, the shoulder, neck and head area gets hit the hardest. Bad posture takes a toll on the body, causing eyestrain, neck and back pain. Not only that, regular hair care like perms, dyeing and heat styling damage the scalp and can have long-term negative effects on hair health.
Many hair salons across Japan offer head spa services for an extra fee, but if you want the real deal, go to a head spa specialist. In this case, my obvious recommendation is Head Spa Kuu.
The Head Spa Kuu Difference
Unlike most hair salons, Head Spa Kuu specializes in head spa experiences — it’s literally the only thing they do. Staff members go through months of technical training and are tested rigorously before they can start work. This is to ensure that they not only can perform the job but also give tailored advice to their clients.
Newly opened Head Spa Kuu Umeda Osaka Store conducts their treatments in spacious private rooms. Each has a different design, soundscape and fragrance to create a soothing experience for all the senses. The shortest course (the Premium Head Spa) is a generous 90 minutes, while the Premium Head Spa-Plus is 120 minutes of absolute bliss. It includes an extra option treatment of a hand or foot massage, a neck and shoulder massage, or facial eye care.
The salon also offers a small bottle of Nomu Silica water for guests to enjoy either before or after their head spa experience.
Head Spa Kuu: The Process
A staff member will take you to your private room for a counseling and hair/scalp check. You’ll be asked to fill out a form and indicate problem areas (stiff shoulders, dandruff, wrinkles, etc) and your treatment will be based on a combination of your concerns and the staff’s analysis of your hair.
After you get changed into the loungewear provided, they will begin with an oil-based scalp and neck massage to ease any built-up tension. This is followed by a concentrated carbonic acid cleansing to remove dirt from the pores; then another head massage, this time using cleansing milk to moisturize the scalp. You’ll then receive a cuticle care treatment and a scalp lotion to keep the scalp moisturized.
Finally, you’ll get a full brush blowout. They won’t style your hair for you, but after your treatment, you’ll be taken to a counter overlooking the streets of Umeda where you can touch up your makeup and style your hair as needed. This is a great time to relax and people-watch with a cup of herbal tea before heading out into the busy streets again.
Back to me and my life-changing experience. So, did my head spa at Head Spa Kuu change my life? Well, I’m not dead yet, so the jury’s still out on that.
It did, however, affect me in ways I didn’t expect. The tension release from my face was clearly visible — I didn’t look as tired and my skin was practically glowing. My hair felt softer and lighter than it ever has in Japan. Even the frizz I’ve learned to live with in the humidity calmed down (this only lasted about half a day but it’s still a win).
“A head spa is an excellent mini escape from a hectic lifestyle.”
Ueda-san (my head spa esthetician) explained the potential damage I’m doing to my scalp on a daily basis. I learned that I should always wear a hat or use a parasol when out in the summer sun — especially in Japan — to protect my scalp from harmful UV rays.
She also advised that I could use gentle cleansing milk (just a small amount on the fingertips) to massage my scalp with to reduce dryness. But the thing that amazed me the most was that I didn’t have to wash my hair for five whole days afterwards. This was life changing for me. Even in the summer heat and humidity, my scalp was clear and my hair was light and bouncy. While results may vary, I was genuinely impressed by the knowledge and care provided at Head Spa Kuu and I will definitely be making a pit stop there on my next trip to Osaka.
Head Spa Kuu is making every effort to ensure the safety of both their guests and their staff by putting strict Covid-19 measures in place. All staff members wear masks and guests must disinfect their hands upon entrance. Clients are also asked to wear masks — a new one is provided during the head spa treatment, as it may get wet. Doors to the private rooms are open (with a closed curtain) during the head spa, but are closed during the consultation to ensure privacy.
Head Spa Kuu, Osaka Umeda Store
Address: 8F Matsumoto Bldg, 1-1-26 Shibata, Kita-ku, Osaka
Cost: Premium Head Spa, 90min (¥15,000), Premium Head Spa ～ Plus ～ 120min (¥20,000)
Head Spa Kuu also has a salon in Takarazuka, which you can find more information about here.