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Wednesday, January 6, 2010

How to have Long, Healthy, Hair the Flirty Girl Way

Photo by: Critsey Rowe

This is not advice because I am not a hair expert. But these are the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions people (friends, colleagues, strangers on the street) ask about my hair. I figured some of you here on the blog may be wondering about them as well so here goes:

How long did it take you to grow your hair so long?
The last time I cut my hair short (right to the shoulder), it took 3 years to grow it back down to my waist again.

Do you blow dry your hair?
• I wrap my wet hair in an Aquis micro fiber hair towel for at least 20-30 minutes. By using a super absorbent Aquis towel I can cut my blow drying time down from 40 minutes to about 10 minutes!
• I do avoid using a hair dryer whenever possible. In the summer I almost never use a dryer and will even forego it in the winter by wrapping my hair in a towel longer and letting it air dry the rest of the way
• When I do use a dryer I avoid using the "hot" air setting and keep it on low or medium while using the "high" air setting

How often do you wash your hair?
My scalp isn't oily so I wash my hair once a week. I know a lot of, if not most, people say they have to wash their hair every day. The thing is washing everyday really takes a toll on your hair and scalp. I've read that it strips away the natural oils and can even make your scalp overproduce more oil which then misleads you into thinking you need to wash more, not less, frequently. I used to wash my hair every other day or every 3 days.

Then one day I heard SF stylist Jim Avila give a presentation about hair care. In it he said to only wash your hair once a week. I think I cringed when he said it but I also knew he is an expert and he knows what he's talking about so I slowly began letting more time lapse until I'd worked my way up to a week. And he was right. When I began washing my hair weekly my hair really did look, feel and stay healthier.

Who cuts your hair?
I have a fantastic hair stylist who has been cutting my hair for over a decade now. Armando Sarabia works in both the South Bay and San Francisco. Armando has never given me a bad cut. Ever. He is my hair genius who did my hair on my wedding day and has created several beautiful up dos for me over the years. You can learn more about him and grab his contact info on his Flirty Guide profile by CLICKING HERE

What brand of hair products do you use?
• I use several Aveda product lines: Smooth Infusions, Brilliant and Shampure
• I use a rinse out conditioner in the shower. I work it into my hair then brush it through in the shower with a vented plastic brush. I start at the ends and work my way up to the scalp so that any tangles are gently combed out so as not to damage the hair.
• After curling my hair I use Aveda Firmata hair spray to hold the curl in longer so that it lasts for days
• I've always liked the Aveda products because they work well with my coarse, thick, hair type and because the company has been cruelty free for years using no animals in the testing of their products.
• This is a company that has long been focused on being eco-friendly and using sustainable methods in their products and running their company. CLICK HERE to read a Vanity Fair article about Aveda

Do you color your hair?
• I do color my hair myself (to cover some greys) with a semi-permanent home color
• Once a year Aramando used to color my hair from roots to ends with permanent color but we haven't done that in years

Is your hair naturally curly?
• Um, no :) I am of Asian descent and as an ethnic group we have pretty much cornered the market on uniformly stick straight hair
• I use a professional grade, large barreled, curling iron
• I don't curl my hair every day. Usually I curl it about two times a week if at all.
• Because my hair is so coarse when I do curl my hair I do set the iron to high heat

One of my hair "trims"

How often do you cut your hair?
• I have my hair trimmed about 3 times a year.

General Comments
• I use two types of hair brushes: A round synthetic large barreled brush when I blow dry my hair and for daily brushing and a vented plastic brush in the shower
• I never comb my hair
• I don't subject my hair to a lot of sunlight. If I'm going to be out in the sun for a long period of time I usually wear a hat and often put my hair up in a bun to keep it better protected. Sometimes I do both.

After the trim pictured above

• I have my parents to thank for giving me good hair genes
• I've read that smoking can damage both hair growth and the color of your hair. I don't know if this is true or not but for the record, I don't smoke

If you have any other questions about my hair that I didn't answer just let me know and I'll be happy to add them to this list.

ETA: Fast forward to June 2010 when I cut my hair to donate 18" to Pantene Beautiful Lengths for women cancer patients who receive free wigs while undergoing chemotherapy from Pantene.


  1. I have coarse, thick hair too, and Aveda products have always worked wonderfully on my hair. (Plus they smell amazing.) Kiehl's olive oil shampoo and conditioner also make my horse hair velvety soft!

  2. I've heard great things about Kiehl's! I'll have to give that shampoo a try. I know there's a Kiehl's store in Berkeley and I may be going there soon :)

  3. You really do have AMAZING hair. I'm sort of glad to hear that you have to work to make it beautifully curly like that. Otherwise I'd be way more jealous!

  4. Thanks Gabrielle. Isn't it funny though how those with straight hair want ours curled and so many people with curly hair work just as hard to keep their hair straight? LOL the grass is always greener...


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