The BIBA Experience



When you move to another country, you need a lot of things. You need a new place to live, a new job, new appliances, perhaps a new car, or new clothes for a different climate. Thinking about all those big things you need, you might forget that you need some new services too such as a new accountant or a new hair stylist.

I have curly hair. The first problem with curly hair is that, when it grows out, it takes on the shape of a pyramid – flat at the top and wider towards the ends. The second problem is that many stylists will say they know how to cut curly hair, but they don’t. Then they will proceed to ask you if you would like to straighten it. That’s a good time to go look for another stylist.

I did what any social media junkie would do and crowdsourced. That is, I asked my Facebook friends and total strangers on Twitter for some recommendations. I found a stylist named Neel working out of Cherry Bomb Hair in Collingwood. Unfortunately, like Westpac, they never answered their phone and never returned my call despite multiple voicemail messages.

My sister outlaw recommended BIBA Academy in Fitzroy, which I’d also seen mentioned around the web as a good option. BIBA has 13 hair salons and two training academies. Expats often complain about how expensive Melbourne is and getting good hair styling is no exception. At Cherry Bomb Hair, a new cut begins at $110. At BIBA Academies, it’s $25. All you have to do is be a guinea pig. I’m cool with that.

A few minutes after I arrived and was greeted and sat, I was approached by a woman with fabulous curly hair and I felt much more at ease about being there. She turned out to be the head colorist and asked if I wanted color. Sure, why not? It’s just hair. The worse that could happen was I’d hate it and re-color it at home. If the haircut was bad, well, it’s just hair; it will grow back. I could easily hate a $100+ hair cut too.  This kind of attitude is important at a place where students are working on your hair. If you’re really fussy about your hair, as the woman next to me was, BIBA Academies may not be for you. Also, if you’re in a hurry, it may not be for you. Again, these are students in training. They work slowly and they pause often for their instructors to review.

Cosette 11/13I got a great haircut and fantastic color with the balayage effect. Listening to the instructor and the students, I learned that the young man cut my hair in a different way than he would straight hair, which is good. A stylist that treats curly hair like straight hair doesn’t know what s/he’s doing; get out of there fast.

Here’s a photo of me that I quickly snapped with my iPhone that afternoon. It was a rainy day so it looks a bit frizzy, but I’m super happy with the cut and color, and I will definitely be returning to BIBA.





  1. I have the exact same problem here and I am in the states so I sympathize! I have gotten my haircut & colored at lower priced salons as well as by more expensive brand backed “professionals” yet it is impossible to find someone who knows what they are doing with my hair :/ *sigh* It’s the bane of having fabulous hair lol Closer to the time I visit I may need to get more information from you on where this place is located; maybe AU will have someone who won’t turn my hair into a hot mess lol

    • There are some seriously cool hairstyles seen in Melbourne, but mostly on straight hair. I was pleasantly surprised with Biba.

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