A Photo Gallery of Hairstyles Flattering on Asian Women
Fei Fei Sun
More and more Asian models, vloggers and “It Girls” are hitting the fashion runways, the most popular Instagram feeds and the pages of fashion magazines. In this gallery, review their fabulous hairstyles as well as how to best care for Asian hair.
Known for their fashion and beloved for their arty Instagram photos and blogs, these women are ones to watch and to follow in the next few years.
But first, let’s talk styling Asian hair. Rule No. 1: Find a hairdresser who knows how to cut Asian hair. That’s pretty much a given. But once you have a great cut, you need to know how to style it.
Asian Hair: Silky & Slippery
Not all Asian hair is silky and slippery, but most is. Some Asian women report their hair can be silky and straight — like flat-ironed straight — one day and wavy the next. But most Asian hair tends to be thick and silky. This means it’s hard for hair to stay in a curl, a wave or an updo. The heaviness of hair causes it to fall out quickly.
The secret to keeping a style is to create texture. You can do this in a number of ways:
- Texturizing spray. Spray this on hair to create that coveted piecey-ness. Use Oribe Dry Texturizing Spray. Prive Finishing Texture Spray is also nice..
- Dry shampoo. Usually used to soak up oils from second-day hair, dry shampoo also works to create texture in freshly-washed hair. Just make sure you buy one that works with dark hair.
- Matte shape paste. Thick in consistency, these pastes work as volumizers and texturizers, allowing you to create volume at the roots and crown that will last all day. Try Alfaparf S4U F’nK Matte Molding Paste or Shu Uemura Art of Hair Shape Paste, also.
To create volume, you need different products. Try:
- Mousse. Mousse fell out of favor years ago, but now is back. The new formulations are great for adding body at the crown and root. Apply to towel-dried hair before blow-drying. Try Kenra Professional Extra Volume Mousse.
- Volumizing spray. Spray this on the towel-dried hair before shampooing to add volume at the roots and crown. My pick: Bumble and Bumble Thickening Hair Spray.
How to Get Beachy Waves
Because Asian hair tends to be silky and slippery, it may seem impossible to keep a wave or curl. Curls and waves fall out almost immediately.
To keep the kink, you need product. Texturizing spray and dry shampoo (see above for recommendations) help. But there are other methods that work, too.
One blogger swears by twisting her medium-length hair into Princess Leia buns on the side of her hair. She starts by spritzing her dry hair with texturizing spray and a little bit of water. She then twists her hair into buns, securing with a ponytail holder. About half an hour later, she unwinds her buns to reveal perfect waves.
Vivian Vo-Farmer is a well-known vlogger who is famous for taking the twisted hair even further. She has a famous YouTube video that describes how she gets perfect beachy waves overnight without using hot tools or even very much product. Her method involves what she dubs, “twist braids.” She twist braids each side of her hair very tightly, winding her hair into (again) two Princess Leia side buns. She then sleeps on it. Her YouTube video, “My Everyday Hair: Heatless Wavy Hair,” has gotten millions of views.
You can also get beachy waves with a Korean Digital Perm. This specialized perm leaves you with waves, not curls. Your hair is soaked in perming solution then rolled into rollers subjected to a heating machine. Great things have been said about the digital perms done at Kim Sun Young Salon, which is based in LA, New York and Seoul.
The Best Dry Shampoos
Dry shampoos are an oily hair girl’s best friend. These work to soak up oils from your scalp, which can flatten hair, but they also add texture, which is needed when you want your hair to stay in a loose bun, a ponytail or an updo.
The secret to Asian hair and dry shampoos are to find ones that work with dark hair and won’t leave a white cast on your hair.
How to Go Blonde
More and more Asian women are stepping out as blondes, while others are embracing the ombre look (dark on top, light on the bottom). You’ll see many of these examples in this gallery.
But going blonde can be utterly time intensive. The double processing required can take all day and in many cases several days as your colorist takes your hair from dark to blonde. They will first bleach your hair, stripping it of its existing color and then they will tone your hair to achieve your desired shade.
The most important consideration when going blonde is a great colorist who is genius at matching your skin tone to the right shade of blonde. Anyone can go blonde, what counts is the tone of blonde. You may read all sorts of salon-speak about skin tone and blondes, like cool, icy blondes work best on yellow-toned Asian skin, while warmer, caramel hues flatter darker complexions, but leave that stuff up to the colorist. Hair color, after all, is a science.
If you are in the New York area and looking for a great colorist that specializes in Asian hair, visit Williamsburg’s Shizen salon.
- Keep your dry ends or processed hair in good shape with a decent leave-in conditioner like Mixed Chicks, which was formulated for ethnic hair.
- Nano Amino Mist from Japan is revered for conditioning hair damaged by processing.
- Shiseido Tsubaki Shining Shampoo is wonderful for Asian hair.