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Sei-Tomoko Salon

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With three sister locations downtown, Sei-Tomoko has become a cult destination in triplicate for anyone obsessed with Japanese hair-straightening techniques. Pint-size powerhouse and owner Tomoko Kawamoto and husband Sei first opened the 13th Street branch of this mini-chain back in 1995. Since then, the Kawamoto claim to fame has been all about gentility: You will find no burn-inducing flatirons, and your shampoo will be followed by an abbreviated shiatsu massage. Sleek Asian-inspired haircuts are also available here, as are a number of hard-to-find Japanese styling products. One thing that you won’t find is a “walk-ins welcome” banner. Be prepared to book three weeks in advance.