Heat wave

Chas­ing the beach hair dream to its log­i­cal con­clu­sion in L.A. leads Shar­lene Chiu to a sur­pris­ing re­al­iza­tion

The Kit - - THE KIT.CA -

I’ve been ob­sessed with fab­u­lous, freeflow­ing waves since the day I learned how say “hot rollers.” But, alas, my nat­u­rally straight Asian hair, too smooth to curl (and stay curled), has al­ways stood in my way.

I still suf­fer from PTSD from the dev­as­tat­ing hair trauma of eighth-grade grad. As both a first-gen­er­a­tion Hakka Chi­ne­seCana­dian and an avid reader of teen mags

YM and Seven­teen, I was de­ter­mined to have bouncy waves just like su­per­model-du-jour Niki Taylor. I used hot rollers, hot sticks, curl­ing rib­bons, Vel­cro rollers and a curl­ing iron one af­ter an­other in a teenage panic (the most se­vere kind) un­til I achieved a sem­blance of curl. By the time I ar­rived at the cer­e­mony in a fit of stress sweats, the lus­cious waves I’d en­vi­sioned had al­ready fallen into a limp crimp.

In my 20s, my nat­u­ral­look­ing- wave ob­ses­sion evolved into a se­ries of waxy bed-head styles when I be­came ac­cus­tomed to hav­ing my hair pro­fes­sion­ally styled as an MTV news reporter. It took about a decade for me to fully sham­poo out all of that po­made. Now, in my 30s, I’m freshly as­sim­i­lat­ing to a new life in Los An­ge­les, the sun-kissed land of “I just woke up like this” beach waves, and my ob­ses­sion has been sparked anew.

The hairstyle that’s be­come as syn­ony­mous with the L. A. life­style as yoga pants and green juice is of­ten cut, coloured and “By the time I ar­rived at the cer­e­mony in a fit of stress sweats, the lus­cious waves I’d en­vi­sioned had al­ready fallen into a limp crimp.”

styled (and trade­marked as Lived In hair) by the duo of colourist Johnny Ramirez and cut­ter Anh Co Tran of Bev­erly Hills sa­lon Ramirez Tran, whose bleached and tex­tured ng ad­mired on In­sta­gram. “It om beach hair,” says Tran, who magic on no­table non-blondes g and Demi Lo­vato. “I think a uni­ver­sal look be­cause so e want to em­u­late that Ca liy-le.” Celebrity stylist Leanne Citrone, who co-owns the Andy Le­compte Sa­lon in West Hol ly­wood, con­curs: “L.A. is all about nat­u­ral beauty be­cause at the end of the day, we’re at the beach,” she says. “Peo­ple go to restau­rants in fl ip-flops!”

In an ef­fort to im­merse my­self in Cal­i­for­nian ca­sua lness ia those much cov­eted waves, I make an ap­point­ment to see Citrone at her sa­lon, re­quented by Jessica Alba, er and Heidi Klum. She starts blunt cut and then snips into r tex­ture, adding soft lay­ers “for move­ment and room to her other Asian clients, I have wn, so Citrone ad­vises me to use Vel­cro rollers on top to “over- diwn” and add vol­ume. rtly ap­plies her sig­na­ture styling Get the Look”) and just like that , i have the beach waves of my dreams.

I main­tain this “ef­fort­less” look for a few weeks, but then I start think­ing about some­thing Citrone told me be­fore I left the sa­lon. I asked her what the next big thing in hair would be, and she replied, “I love re­ally straight, beau­ti­ful, shiny, sleek hair. It would be great for you—flat-iron the ends, add a lit­tle oil and call it a day.” My in­stant re­sponse was “No! I don’t want what I have!” But I’m fi nally think­ing that maybe I do. It’s no se­cret that Asian beauty ex­pec­ta­tions are ex­tremely high, and I’ve been try­ing to mimic white-girl looks for decades be­cause that was all I saw grow­ing up. Maybe my change in per­spec­tive is me truly em­brac­ing the ef­fort­less L. A. life­style, but I’d like to think that it’s also me learn­ing to love my­self a lit­tle more. I may never look like Niki Taylor, but I’m learn­ing to be more than okay with look­ing like Shar­lene Chiu.

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