Tuesday, February 4, 2014

The Big Chop: Getting My Curly Hair Cut in Japan

The New Year is a time when everyone wants to start over, get a clean break to reinvent yourself. Well not to be cliche, but I thought there was no better time than now for the "big chop" If you have seen past posts about my transition hair, you know that I used to get the Japanese super straight perm but stopped a couple years back and tried going natural. Although my hair has been growing back, I still had straight hair that was thinning out in the bottom and couldn't leave my hair out without using sponge rollers over night.

It was fine for a while, a few years in fact, but it was getting ridiculous. My hair was at hip level, but what does that mean if it's unhealthy and always up in a bun? If the split ends just keep getting higher, and the hair keeps breaking off. So I thought enough was enough.

Despite the fact that the last time I got a haircut while my hair was curly here (the only time actually) I had such a horrible experience, I decided to give it a go. As a curly girl, getting hair products that work well for your hair isn't the easiest thing. Even organic cold pressed coconut oil, my holy grail product, can only be bought at supermarkets where they have imported goods and the prices are, of course, hiked up. Getting a haircut... that's another issue. They mostly have absolutely no idea about how to work with natural, curly hair.

The first time I got a haircut was when I turned 20, and wanted to get a "mature" look by cutting my hair sort. I mean short - below shoulder length. Not only did they botch it, I left with a frizzy bun with all my hair that couldn't be tied in a bun sticking out like a nappy mane! They didn't know how to style my hair, and since they dried my hair (with no diffuser and brushed it out after cutting my wet hair),  they decided to put it up in a bun. Anyone seeing me would have been like, "Bad hair day?", which I'd have to reply with "No, I just got my hair done!"

This time, it was pretty similar. When I walked in, I was given the option to pick the stylist to do my hair. A regular stylist, a top stylist, and the creative director of the salon were the only options available that day. Now to get a haircut (without getting you hair washed or anything) would have cost me 30something dollars with the regular stylist fresh out of beauty school. The top stylist was 50, and I didn't even bother when I saw the next up was 70something dollars. I am el cheapo over hear, but since I already knew what I was working with, I didn't think I should get the regular stylist. And I am glad I didn't.

 I guess one of the perks of being a top stylist is that you don't have to wash clients' hair anymore. She sat me down to discuss what I wanted to get done, and she actually said, I kid you not, "Shall we cut you hair while it's dry?" It was obvious that she knew that it would make sense to cut my hair while it's dry and can see the curl patters because upon further inspection of my frizzy hair she suggested we wash and dry it and then cut it. My hair had been in a bun all night and lost it's curl patterns and just looked like a hot frizzy mess.

So the ordered a stylist to go wash my hair, but this is where I started to cringe. She used so much shampoo, and I'm not even sure if she used conditioner (maybe I had to pay extra for that). Then she dried my hair with a towel, really rubbing my hair with it (FRIZZ!) and then she started to comb out my hair with a fine toothed comb. She blow dried my hair, at least with a diffuser, but she was combing my hair out while  blow drying. The top stylist walked by and told her to stop, saying, "Dry it like it would naturally. Isn't that what you do usually? Air dry?" The stylist put the comb down and then used her hands to help it dry but it was still creating frizz and the damage was already done. So I basically paid for a shampoo for nothing because now that my hair was frizzy and lost it's curls, the top stylist had to rewet the tips with a spray bottle to get the curls back and cut it.

It did give me an inkling of hope that some people do know how to somewhat work with curly hair. I still left the salon with frizzy hair tucked into a hat incase people ask my if I had a bad hair day. My hair felt like it had some heat damage and dry when I left, but it wasn't all bad. She didn't want to cut off all the permed ends, which is the opposite problem I usually have (stylists cutting off way too much). She convinced me that the tips have some wave to it and I can encourage curls by twirling it and drying it while curled and letting it cool before using some mousse. Sadly I don't dry my hair with a dryer, but I might have to invest in a diffuser for now in case I ever do.

So some parts of my hair still have about 2,3 inches of permed hair and those in the back, which are a bit shorter are all natural! I'm so happy that I can finally do wash and go's but now comes the tricky part. I thought it would be as simple as using less products than before (now that I think about it, 50% less!) but I find that the products I used before weigh my hair down so much that it lays flat on my head. It was fine when I needed extra hold to keep the curls from the sponge rollers but now that all the dead weight is gone and my hair is a lot lighter (and my hair isn't very dense and is fine) I have to switch up my hair routine yet again!

(my wet hair)

I'm so excited to rediscover my hair and what works. The last time I had to do this, I was a teenager! A TEENAGER! I was into using tons of gel to keep the frizz at bay. While this was fine, it was super crunchy and my curls had no bounce to them. So here's to a year full of discovery, challenges, and growth! Happy New Year Everybody!
My hair in the morning now! "I woke up like diiiiiis, I woke up like thisss"