Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Bad Hair Day, or the Big Mistake

They generally style Constance Wu with the kind of hair I wish I had on Fresh Off the Boat

I'm bad at hair, like really bad. My ponytails are almost always a little sloppy. No Youtube hair tutorial has ever been equal to the task of actually teaching me anything. My younger sister once bought me an expensive flat iron as a two-birthdays-plus-a-Christmas gift while we were both still students, and I never figured out how to use it (the shame! the waste! sorry, W, for not putting it to use after specifically requesting it). Sometimes, a friend would even show me how, and it would seem easy, but I just couldn't manage. Besides, I'm also lazy, so even the effort of blow-drying my hair just doesn't regularly happen.

I've always longed for the sleek, pin-straight hair that's not uncommon with people of Chinese descent. My sister even has that exact kind. My own hair is mostly straight, particularly the topmost layers, but also partially wavy, and extremely prone to frizz. It requires styling to be worn down to the office. Because styling my own hair is just not happening, I've instead gotten Japanese straight perms. They're generally expensive, ~$120 at the low end, and I've historically gotten worse results at that range (generally through unnatural-looking, limp hair) than when I get one for $240 at a small salon back in California. Because my natural hair is mostly straight, I never touch up the roots. My hair stays straight and manageable, just wash, air-dry and go, until a good while after all the permed sections are finally cut off in a future haircut, generally eighteen months later with my one haircut per six months or longer habit. Or at least, that used to be the case.

I'd had straight perms done five times in my adult life. It was only with more recent sessions that I started to notice side effects, small chunks of hair growing in noticeably damaged, "completely fried"  to be colloquial, afterwards. The permed hair would stay lovely and smooth,  the exact results I wanted, but at some point after, some of the new growth (not all of it, and not immediately) would be weird and fried in a way I'd never experienced before. Mysteriously, this only happened after all the permed areas were finally cut away. Nonetheless, I kept going back to straight perms because the eighteen months or more of perfectly manageable, no-fuss hair were worth it. After it was all cut away I'd delay a long time, generally almost another year, before my next perm, thinking that maybe this time I'd learn how to style my hair, before getting annoyed and returning to the salon.

Last October, I had another Japanese straight perm, at the $240 price no less, and for the first time ever, it didn't have the results I expected. It came out perfectly, but within a few weeks, it was clear that something went wrong. After a few washes, I discovered that a full inch and a half wide chunk right in the middle of the back of my head, up near the roots, had gotten damaged. Just that chunk frizzes up into a rat's nest that can barely be tamed into a puffy, sloppy ponytail, but only sometimes. Some days, it'll dry up nicely on its own, sleek and smooth, but after I go to bed and wake up the next morning, the frizz may come back. It's all very confusing, and makes the perm an expensive mistake. I'll probably never get another.

Please note that this portion of the post contains affiliate links that could result in a commission, typically a few cents, for me if you click. Thank you for your support!

Obviously, from everything I've written, it's clear that anything I say about hair products must be taken with a massive grain of salt. Also, my hair is behaving in such an idiosyncratic way that anything that's working for it now couldn't be reliably predicted to work for anyone else, or even for me in another week or month. I've seen improved results and reduced number of frizzy days by switching from my normal OGX Keratin Oil shampoo and conditioner (it smells good! and works well enough with my unpermed hair). I purchased travel sizes or kits from Sephora, full sizes linked in the widget, and while each was only enough for four to five uses each, only enough to get a feel for whether I'd consider a full size purchase (and my hair's being so weird anyway that it reacts differently to the same product on different days). I've had the best results with the Alterna Replenishing Moisture set (which they've labeled as the "Anti-Aging Transformation" set) though it smells weird, the Living Proof Restore set is awful and seems to increase the frizz, and the Bumble & Bumble Hairdresser's Invisible Oil travel sizes are somewhere in between, but probably not significantly better than the OGX.

Has anything really strange ever happened to your hair following a salon treatment? Are you good about styling your hair? How did you learn how to style your hair?

No comments:

Post a Comment

I love to hear from anyone who might be reading! Please feel free to leave a comment or question.