Mrs. Purple Hair

Three months after I gave birth to Tala, it struck: the dreaded post-partum hair loss. The thick, glorious, shiny hair I had accumulated during nine months of pregnancy decided to flee the scene all at once. My hair’s mass exodus lasted for three months; mercifully, it showed signs of slowing down a few weeks ago. But to my horror, the new hair around my face started growing back white. Yikes!

I had grown out my hair to its natural black after a year without coloring. My last color job (just the usual reddish brown) was during my first trimester, which always shocks folks back home; meanwhile, people here laugh when I tell them that in the Philippines, dyeing your hair during pregnancy is strictly forbidden.

Black had gotten boring. It was time for a change.

Dark hair with purple tint

We girls with black hair don’t have many options, do we? Much as I needed color in my life, I didn’t want to bleach my hair to get streaks put in. Tala has black hair, and I still want to look like her mom. My brief to my fabulous kapper Iris, who gave me my first Amsterdam haircut two years ago, and has been doing my hair ever since: black with a shot of color.

“What about purple?” she suggested. Bingo!

Black hair purple tint

I love how she did my crown and bangs in a natural black, then the rest of my hair in a rich, plummy purple shine that really comes out in the light. It’s subtle, but interesting. I am totally loving this wine-meets-amethyst color for fall. Iris also gave me shorter layers that make my waves (the loyal ones who decided to stay behind!) look fuller.

Also, the color reminds me of Kodachi Kuno (the Black Rose of Furinkan High!) from my all-time favorite anime series, Ranma 1/2. All I need is a black rose, a leotard, a hot brother, some rhythmic gymnastics slash martial arts talent, and I’d be a dead ringer.

Kodachi Kuno Ranma 1/2

The funniest thing is, my best friend Justine and I used to call Marlon Mr. Purple Hair. We used to sit in the back of our English class and make random observations about everyone. Marlon’s hair is black with bluish-purple highlights, so one day Justine nicknamed him Mr. Purple Hair, and it stuck. When we got married, she addressed her wedding wishes to me as Mrs. Purple Hair. And now I guess I am Mrs. Purple Hair!

How do you like the new ‘do? And have you ever dyed your hair a really funky color? Inspire me with your bravery, please!

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Doing the Twist

I first discovered The Twist on Pinterest. I thought it was cute, neat and perfect for those days when I just don’t want to deal with my bangs. And the tutorial on Youtube was easy to follow.
Then I went home to Manila for Christmas. My bangs shriveled up on the first day and simply refused to uncurl. Boy, I’d forgotten about that humidity. It would have been a bad hair day every single day for three weeks if not for The Twist. 
Although I know my forehead is too wide to be exposed to the world on a daily basis (a guy I know once told me pilots could land planes on it), I lived in The Twist every day of my stay in the Philippines. The Twist helped me face the world with confidence!

Now, one of my favorite fashion sites, Refinery29, has dubbed The Twist “2012’s hottest ‘do.” So I’m sharing the tutorial here for those who want to get in on the trend (or are just sick of what Manila’s humidity is doing to your bangs). Let’s do The Twist!

P.S. In case you’re curious about what else I’ve been pinning, you can follow me on Pinterest!

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The cut

My approach to getting my hair cut was exactly the same as it was for my first-ever haircut in Singapore: to put it off for as long as I possibly could. Back then, I was converting from Philippine peso to Singapore dollar, and looking at salon price lists made me swallow hard and walk away. When I started working, my wallet loosened up and got used to it. Then I moved here… and the whole process began all over again.
Except now, I was mentally converting from Singapore dollar to the Euro. Haircuts became twice the price they were in Singapore, ranging from €45 to €80, or S$80 to S$140 (a whopping PhP 2,700 to almost PhP 5,000!). And judging from the expat forums I’d read, you weren’t even guaranteed good customer service or a shampoo and blowdry (!), much less a great haircut. So I put off the whole thing for five long months.
One day I woke up and I decided I couldn’t take it anymore. Happily, it was also the same day I woke up to find a little extra something-something in my bank account. I went online to do some research on kappers (hairdressers) in Amsterdam, and after much deliberation, decided to go Kinki.
Kinki Kappers, that is. It’s a Dutch chain of salons that’s known for being relatively affordable (€41 a pop for ladies’ haircuts) and quite edgy. I admit, seeing these kinds of hairstyles on the Kinki website freaked me out a little… and these are the tamer ones. 

But I easily get bored with my hair, so I was figured I could use a little edge. I’ve never been the type to show my hair stylist pegs of the cut I want. Instead, I composed this litany: “short, no precision cutting because I have wavy hair, side bangs, little to no styling needed.” Then it was off to the Kinki branch on Van Baerlestraat, 10 minutes by tram from my house.

Kinki was pretty much what I expected of an edgy yet mainstream salon chain. Graffiti on the floors, eye-popping walls and fixtures, stylists in funky hairdos with lots of body piercing and ink. While waiting, I saw this woman getting a perfectly normal (if rather butch) haircut, which did a lot to quell the images of green locks and spiky Mohawks rattling around in my brain.

The guy who gave me a shampoo was about six foot three and had huge hands, which made up for his lack of technique. The whole experience called to mind silicon oven mitts (his hands) cradling a baseball (my head).If you ever want to feel like a baby again, a shampoo by a big strapping Dutch guy (or girl) is a virtual time warp.

I couldn’t have been happier with my stylist, Iris. For one thing, when I requested side bangs to cover my wide forehead, she smiled, shoved aside her own side bangs to reveal her forehead, and said: “Me too!” And while she was blowdrying my hair with a diffuser (which emphasizes natural curls), she remarked: “I love your curls. Let’s switch?”

Wow. This was worlds away from Manila stylists who will insist on rebonding as a prerequisite to a haircut. I once nearly walked out on a Bench FIX stylist who had the gall to tell me: “Magpa-relax ka muna. Kulot ka kasi eh. Kahit anong gupit ang gawin ko diyan, hindi talaga maganda lalabas.Kapal! Bumalik ka nga kay Ricky Reyes!

So, stylists of the world, the way to my heart is through my curls. I always know I’m going to have a great cut when stylists show that they can appreciate my curls, or can at least deal with them. And Iris did more than just deal with them. After the jump: presenting… my first Dutch haircut!

Tadaaaaa! This was me fresh from the salon. My first thought was: Edna Mode, you’ve been a very naughty girl. My second thought was that I look like I should be living in Berlin… in the 1920s. Don’t get me wrong… I love it! Long in front and short in back, with bangs cut much further to the side than I’ve ever had, it’s edgy enough for safe old me, but is also soft, feminine and versatile. It would go perfectly with both my favorite vintage outfits and my normal, er, present-day wardrobe.

Here’s the cut a few days later at home. I haven’t been able to style it exactly how Iris did at the salon, so I’ve taken to using a curling iron on a few random strands to get the whole piece-y effect.

Still, getting my hair to curl is a hell of lot easier than getting it to stay straight. Making it loose and messy is a lot easier (and more fun!) than making it perfectly neat. My hair never looks exactly the same every day and instead of stressing out about it, I’ve come to love it. It feels really good to stop struggling with my curls and finally like how they look. Maybe I’m getting old. Or maybe it’s just a really good haircut. Definitely €41 well spent!
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