Nestled in between two small businesses in Coal Harbour that have been around for many years, is a new bright and beautiful salon, locals are all too keen about.

What’s the first thing we all do when looking in the mirror? Check the hair. Kanako Igari, owner of K.Ko Hair Studio, checks this off the list for you.


In Igari’s younger years, the Delta-raised Japanese-born (Sapporo, Hokkaido) mom to three budgies, recalls braiding her friends hair in the mornings for school. “I knew I couldn’t not do hair when I left high school, so I signed up for an esthetics program at VCC. It used to be about fifteen grand back in the day, I can’t imagine what it would cost now!” Kanako laughed. The program focuses on hair but dabbles in skin and nail-care, we took a look into it and the program still sits at the same price point, almost sounds like a deal with how we are knee-deep in the city expansion project (ie. Inflation).



Six years following her completion of the course, Kanako worked in a salon in Delta building up a steady client base. On a trip down into the city, Angels saved her life as she was caught in a bizarre accident. It started when her silver Pontiac G5 was rear-ended at a light, while she was exchanging information with the driver who hit her, seconds later another car came flying out of another angle in a side-impact accident to straight on T-bone her car into bits.

Shortly after she had to say goodbye to her silver bullet, Kanako didn’t get long wear of her second car (a red Mitsubishi Eclipse Convertible), before it too did a few cartwheels outside of gymnastics practice, causing her not only to lose the chassis but almost lose her focus.

“At that point I realized, ‘life is too short. Time to take a chance,” Kanako expressed. This chance was greeted by stepping into IS Salon as a stylist in Yaletown’s original boutique hair salon in 2016.



Four years in at IS, the hair industry took several blows as Covid made it near impossible for clients to enjoy a hair appointment without hundreds of precautions. Kanako, like many stylists, had to make a decision on what would be best for her, as well as for her clients; She made the difficult decision of moving out of a salon she loved and opening up a home-salon for a few trusted clients through the tribulations of Covid. Her in-home salon was beautifully kept, clean, bright, exactly what you would expect from any other salon (and even nicer than many). Being able to only take on a few clients, Kanako was able to focus on hair techniques she loved most – colouring and balayage.



Ah, balayage, “I get so many requests to do this hair style but now it’s become so diluted with what it really means that I always ask my clients to show me a picture of what they want before they come… and most of the time it’s not even balayage!” said Kanako. Rapidly peaking its way back into the industry (thanks to Instagram), only the best hair salons with experts can really have your hair looking “sun kissed” like this much-loved hair trend. So, what is balayage? The French word for “sweeping” is a colouring technique that gives hair a natural blend with no lines. And no, balayage is not only for blonde hair! This multi-tonal finish uses techniques that light and shade will create a multi-dimensional look without any contrast between colours. Balayage is popular with bondies and those who want to be blonde, as there are many more shades of those wanna-be golden locks clients are looking for. The difference between colouring and balayage is primarily of how the colour is applied, instead of colour saturated through, it is “painted” on the surface of the hair strand. Tips? We got none. Only that it’s not close to as easy as it sounds and you should visit a professional.



I was one of the few invited into her home during Covid, and forever grateful she didn’t leave me looking like a mess for two years. But the time came when Kanako had had enough people gawking over her cute birds changed her number and told us to never contact her again! – Joking. Kanako shared her new number with us: the new number of K.Ko Hair Studio.


The salon is flooded with natural light by big windows, white chairs (please sit on a towel if you’ve had a tan, ok ladies?), white floors, white walls … Kanako had the help from her partner take on the task to renovate the space herself! Not without any troubles though, just about to open the doors and an accident with her front door left her glass shattered, and another few weeks before she would be able to open.



K.Ko (a play on “Kanako & Company”), now has three stylists making magic seven days a week. Although new, walk-ins might be a bit difficult as word has quickly gotten around and clients most often book 3-4 weeks in advance.


Kanako Igari and K.Ko Hair Studio is a sound supporter of Fueler Canada Magazine and our charitable program.



The salon is open seven days a week, 10-6pm. Don’t be afraid of waiting for a walk-in, Breaking Bean is located right next door for coffee, drinks or their infamous soups.


555 Cardero Street, Vancouver, BC



Nina @Fueler

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