Tag Archives: hair
Alright, so you’ve heard me complain about my thick, wavy-ish, unruly, Asian hair a few months back, now it’s time for an update!
Not long after that post, I received my first dental school interview, and I knew I needed a haircut. So I did some research on Yelp and decided on a salon. I chose Sally’s Salon, a Korean salon in Japantown that advertised itself as an Asian hair specialist. Sounded promising. So after a dentist appointment in the same area I stopped by without an appointment. There was no wait. I was really nervous, but my hairstylist, Betty, was super nice and put me at ease immediately. And she spoke perfect English, which was awesome since communication is key when it comes to haircuts! I actually told her everything about my hair woes (basically a short version of my previous hair rant post). She, like all the other hairstylists who’ve worked with me, marveled at how much hair I had. But she reassured me that she’ll take care of me. She even said that my straightening job wasn’t actually that bad, it’s just that when hair gets to shoulder-length it naturally follows the curve of your shoulders and flip out a bit. That made me feel a lot better about it. I told her to thin out my hair, even out the layers, cut some long side bangs, and keep the length. I received exactly what I asked for. It was actually cray how much hair she cut off when you consider the fact that my hair stayed the same length. The price was reasonable too, $40 before tips. And they give their customers free bang trims! I felt really great after my haircut! Here’s how it looked on the day of the haircut:
Of course hair always looks great when you walk out of the salon after all the treatment, so I was still a little nervous about how it would look with a lack of all the styling. Well, I was pleasantly surprised! So since my haircut I’ve been fairly happy with my hair for a change.
In addition to a good haircut, there are a few more things I’ve found that helps keep my hair under control and looking good. The first is a good hair serum/oil. I’ve used Garnier Fructis’ Sleek and Shine Anti-Frizz Serum before, but I haven’t replaced the product after my last bottle got used up. I did like the results from before so I went and got another bottle. I put a little bit in my hair when it’s about half dry (I air dry my hair) and it keeps my hair smooth and shiny. And it smelled amazing!
I also bought a porcupine round boar bristle hair brush (I bought it here). It has a mixture of nylon and boar bristles. I usually just use a wide tooth comb for my hair, but I found that this brush gets my hair a lot smoother.
One more little tip which I’ve always done is to not wash your hair too much. Too much shampooing dries out the hair and makes coarse hair even dryer and unmanageable. But my hair is quite oily and it can start to look gross if I don’t wash it for 2-3 days. So I invested in a dry shampoo (this one) and I’ve been pretty happy with the results. It’s easy to use, gets rid of oiliness and flatness, and smells great.
So now it’s been more than a month after my haircut, and I’m still very happy with my hair. Here’s a very recent photo.
So to sum it up, to treat thick, coarse, stubborn Asian hair like mine, here’s what you need:
1. A good hairstylist who understands your hair.
2. A good hair serum or oil.
3. A good natural bristle or natural and synthetic hair brush.
4. Not too much washing and dry shampoo.
I hope this is helpful to anyone who has similar hair to mine. As always, please let me know in the comments if you have any other tips or products suggestions!
For as long I can remember, or at least since I was old enough to care about my looks, I’ve always struggled with my hair. When I was a little kid, I had perfectly good, shiny, straight, doll-like hair. Exhibit A:
That was when I was 3. Then somewhere between the ages of 8 and 12, my hair turned into this unmanageable mess, and I suffered through years of terrible, awful haircuts, most of which are too embarrassing to display on the internet. Basically, unlike typically Asian hair. which is straight, shiny, and smooth, my hair was – is – super thick, hard, coarse, and slightly wavy in that no matter what I did, some parts of it always stuck out or was bent out of place. And I have a lot of hair. Every single hairdresser I’ve been to have said that to me. The texture drove me crazy and I had no idea how to style it.
The the summer after eight grade, I went back to China with my family and my mom finally let me get a perm. I think that was the first time I’ve ever felt really happy with how my hair looked. I didn’t have to worry about whether my hair would be flipping everywhere all over the place, it was all set in place with the perm! Unfortunately, I don’t seem to have any photos of my hair from that time, so it’s just a nice memory now. But the perm eventually grew out, and for most of high school, my hair looked at best like this (before Stanford crushed my dreams):
And at worst, like this:
Actually, I think the worst was worse than that, but who’s keeping track. And so that’s how it was for a while. One particular days my hair would look fine, if I happend to sleep in the exact way that flattened out all the kinks in it. Oh, and here’s the other thing with my hair. It never looks good after a shower, no matter if I let it air dry or blow dry it. It always looks poofy and awful. And most hair straighteners didn’t work on my stubborn hair either. So to make my hair look semi-decent, I would always have to wash it, let it dry, then sleep on it the day before. SUCH A HASSEL. Anyway, the point is, I suffered through more of this aggravating hair until the summer after my freshman year of college, when I went back to China again and got another perm. And I was in hair heaven again. The curls made me feel pretty and effortlessly glamorous.
I kept the style for as long as I could, and it look pretty good even almost a year afterwards:
But inevitably, I had to get it cut again. And it was back to same old cycle of fighting with my hair. Until last summer, when I decided to do something drastic again, this time to get it but short. I was nervous about it but it turned out amazing.
Although I loved the style, I still feel more comfortable with long hair, so I decided to not keep the style and grow it out. Little did I realize that this was to be my latest, year-long battle with my hair. Everything was going fine, and the grown out version of the cut actually didn’t look all that bad:
That was last winter, and also the last time I remember being happy with my hair. What happened was that I decided to get a trim over winter break back in Vancouver, and my hairdresser did an absolutely terrible job. Not only did she cut way more hair than I wanted (I told her that I was planning to grow it out!), but she did this thing that made my hair look like it had 2 distinct layers. Like the outer layer was very obvious shorter than the inner layer. Ugh it was awful. And graduation was coming up, and so in a move of desperation and frustration, I went to a Chinatown salon to get a cut and Japanese straightening. But it didn’t turn out the way I imagined. I asked them to even out my layers without losing too much length, which I guess wasn’t really possible since the difference in length between my 2 tiers were so great. So the layered thing was still kind of there, though slightly less noticeable. And the straightening, for whatever reason looked kind of off. I don’t know if it was because my hair was too short, the cut was still bad in the first place, my hair is just THAT stubborn, the salon didn’t do it right, or whatever else. It’s straight in some places, but other parts of my hair still looked like it had its original texture, and yet another small part of it feels like it was scorched. Here’s a photo of it a couple of weeks after the procedure (you can definitely see the 2-tier thing going on on the left):
So that was back in May. Now 3 months and an ok trim later, my hair is still not looking ideal.
That’s how it looks right now on a good day. It’s no longer as straight as before and some of my natural texture is back, which I kind of like. But now I will be having dental school interviews in the next several months (unless I get 0 interviews, God forbid) and because I miss feeling good about my hair, and I want to get a nice haircut. But I’ve been so traumatized over the past year ever since I got my hair cut short that I’m really nervous about it. And I have no idea how to find a salon that will know how to deal with my difficult mess of hair. One of the hardest things about moving to a new place to finding a new hairdresser. I tried to find the salon I went to last summer, but it seems to have disappeared off the map (or at least off Yelp).
Sigh. If I had to do it all over again, I probably would never have cut my hair last summer. I would have grown it long and then get a good digital perm for big curls/waves. But it’ll be a long while until my hair is long enough for that again. In the meantime, I’m stuck. How should I get it cut? How short do I go? Do I get side bangs again? And how to find a good salon? I don’t know.
Readers, have you ever had hair struggles? Do you have any tips on how to find a good hairdresser in a new city? Do you know of any good salons in San Francisco that doesn’t cost an arm and a leg?
Update 10/25/12: read about some solutions I found!
So last Thursday was the last day of my summer internship; all the interns were back in Nashville for the final presentations and a few last meals together, and then everyone was off again.
I probably won’t realize the full significance of this summer until I look backon it much later, but I have to say that I really did have a great time and that I’m very happy that I got to experience everything I did. Although this internship wasn’t my first choice for the summer, and Nashville was in the bottom half of my location preference list, I think it worked out for the best. Life works in a funny way sometimes; you may not always get what you want in life, but what you need.
After I said my goodbyes, I was on my way to San Francisco. I was super excited because I was just happy to be back on the west coast and SF is an awesome city and I get to spend time with Yufei. And the night I arrived we ordered Thai food and I had my first pad kee mao in months! Yum! This was off to a good start.
The next morning I had a mission: to get a haircut. I’m someone who gets tired of her hair very easily, and I’d been very agitated with my hairstyle the whole summer. So I opted to get it cut short, which I hadn’t done since about the ninth grade. I think it turned out pretty good, yeah?
Then that afternoon I walked over to Twitter, where Yufei is working this summer, and we walked around Union Square for a bit, before stopping for dinner at Sanraku. Delicious Japanese food… mmm oh yeah San Francisco is shaping up very well food-wise. After dinner we went to see the last Harry Potter movie – finally. I’ve already written extensively about the profound influence Harry Potter has had on my life, so I won’t say much now, besides that yes, I did shed tears at some parts of the movie and that I now have the urge to re-read all the books again.
So my stay in SF was off to a good start! Despite the cold weather and all the hills I’m subjected to climb every day, I still love this city.
Weekend adventures coming soon!
Different shades of grey. White long sleeves shirt, grey puff sleeve blazer, skinny jeans, grey leopard print booties, grey heart hair clip.
Close-up of my hair clip:
I love these booties I got in China last year, so cute:
About time I got rid of those side swept bangs I’ve had since… gosh.. like 10th grade. Also chopped off what remained of my curls/waves from that perm a year ago. Like it?
I’ve been staying at my friend’s place in Baoding, a small city in the province of Hebei, for the past few days. This is the place where I spent most of my childhood, from kindergarten until I left for Canada in grade 4. But for some reason I don’t have much memory of the city, only memories of events that occurred. So I was pretty lost this time around, especially since we didn’t go to any of the places where I used to spend time, like the university my dad worked at or the elementary school I went to. So what did I do there? Girly stuff. Like getting my hair done… it’s now dark brown and curly:
And getting my nails done for the first time ever:
They’re pretty, but my nails have never been so long before and I am not adjusting to them very well. I can’t seem to do anything with them, and it’s taking me forever to type this up.
We also went to take photobooth photos:
The machines are a little different from the Japanese ones at the arcade back in Vancouver, but I’ll take them anyway they come; they’re so fun. It frustrates and surprises me that I can’t seem to find a photobooth machine anywhere in New York, and if anyone knows where there is one, please please please let me know (Chinatown? Koreatown? Flushing?).
I also went shopping (finally!) and bought some smaller items such as jewelery, wallets, and shoes, and I have to say that I really missed shopping in China :)
One thing I certainly don’t miss though, is being sick. I caught a cold from my mom a couple of weeks back, and all of the symptoms have disappeared except for the coughing. It just won’t go away. We’ve tried everything from antibiotics to traditional herbal medicine, and nothing seems to work. The last time we were back in China, the same thing happened to my mom, and she was still coughing for weeks after she came back to Canada. She went to the doctor and he suspected it to be tuberculosis, but it wasn’t. It was just a strangely persistent cough, and she eventually did get better. I’m afraid it’s the same thing this time :( Something about the bugs in China…
PS: My typing speed has greatly improved by the end of this post :D