Traditional salon gives clients a close shave with history

By Sun Ruisheng in Taiyuan and Li Hongyang in Beijing (

Updated: 2021-06-11

On a street corner in Taiyuan, Shanxi province, two hairdressers, one 70, the other 50, still serve residents from the salon in the century-old house they've occupied for years. The vintage fashion items in the salon and the old-fashioned skills they mastered decades ago attract Retro fans from all across the country.

Wu Zhanmei, 70, began to work in the Huayi Hair Salon in 1978. "Some trendy hairstyles nowadays are actually similar to those of the 1980s, just with different names," she said. "For example, the Bob is what we used to call the Revolution haircut, which became popular during the early revolutionary years, so we can handle these new trends."

Although most regular customers are elderly, Li Feng, a 21-year-old college student from Jiangxi province traveling in Taiyuan, visited the salon after finding out about it online. It was 50-year-old Li Shimin, who has worked at Huayi for 33 years, who cut his hair.

"I came to experience a traditional haircut, and it turned out to be good. The hairdresser didn't talk too much, or try to sell me products. What he sold were his skills, nothing flashy," Li Feng said.

Peng Ke'er and Zhang Siyu contributed to this story.