Problem Hair and Park Jun’s Salon
When my curly roots started showing, I went to Henry Calayag in Greenbelt to have the rest of my hair permed. I did not want my head to look like a mushroom: curly on top, stick-straight at the bottom. They refused to perm the chemically straightened parts because they said exposure to more chemicals will kill them. They did, however, cut my hair in such a nice way that I was able to deal with my head until all the straightened parts grew out. To their credit, they really did a good job of shaping my head. The cut worked with my awkwardly growing curls.
On GOOD days back in 1999 before I subjected myself to straightening methods. Photos below are my passport and US visa pictures, taken almost 11 years ago.
These photos showed the very rare instances when my strands would seem to be in harmony instead of waging war with me. The thing I’d hate about getting my mane trimmed during those times was that I’d have beautiful hair when I get out of the salon but I’d loathe washing my head because I’d know it would be back to its disastrous state the next day.
See, here’s the source of my problem. My dad had an afro in the 70s, before he married my mother. My mom has fine locks with big waves. My sister inherited my mom’s curls and my brother inherited my dad’s. I was unfortunate enough to have my hair, as with my skin color (mom is yellowish fair, dad is reddish dark), be somewhere in between. For most of my younger years, I constantly struggled with my forever frizzy hair. Brushing it to “distribute the scalp oils”, as what most grandmothers advised, seemed to make things worse. If you do not believe that static electricity is true, you will start believing when you see it manifest itself on my head. Oh, there were good days when the strands would group themselves into lovely ringlets…until the wind undid them. Hence, when I was old enough to afford splurging on my hair, I immediately had it rebonded.
Me in Painting class. See those broom-like ends and the awkward curls growing out from the top of my head? My hair looked really nice when it was first straightened, but it was only nice for the first four procedures. After those four, my strands started looking like a broom’s: straight but totally dry, brittle and frazzled. Going back to curly after 8 years of having straight hair wasn’t so bad. In order to tame my locks into moving to a definite direction, I would apply mousse to it then braid it every night. In the morning, rebellious baby springs would sprout out of my head but a little water and mousse went a long way.
This is how it looks like when I remove my braids. Of course, it’s irritating to be perpetually asked why you had your hair permed. Gad, I spent my entire life struggling with my curls, took a break from them for 8 years and when I finally go back to them, I get asked why I permed them WHEN I DID NOT! You’d be annoyed too if you were in my shoes, especially when you see women with beautiful fake curly hair. (Oh, after so many years of chemical bombardment, I can actually tell who the fake curlies and the fake straights are. Much like the way my gaydar functions. LOL.) The ones with fake curls never have to deal with rebellious baby springs because their roots just fall naturally downwards and that annoys me. Haha!
This afternoon, I paid a visit to Park Jun’s at my classmate Jenny Ortuoste‘s recommendation. I told them I wanted big curls (insert thoughts of my mom’s beautiful mane here). They removed my pony tail and checked my roots. The Korean woman at the reception area said, in the best English and Tagalog she could muster, that it’s bad because I have very strong, little curls (by “strong”, I think they mean “tight”). If I kept my naturally tiny curls at the top and they did big waves at the bottom, I would look like a disaster. They suggested that I have the top of my head rebonded then they can do big waves at the bottom. I vehemently said no. I do not want to have my hair rebonded yet again because then I’d still be worrying about the “strong” roots growing out and ruining the shape of my face. I also don’t want to iron my hair every morning as I used to do whenever my roots began to show.
The guy who shampoo’d my locks remarked that it was very thick…can you imagine having to run a straightening iron through that stubborn thickness everyday? So while the girl and I were discussing my options — apparently I have very few, given the stubbornness of my hair — I decided to just have the remaining fake straight strands cut off and wait for the real ringlets to dominate. She also exclaimed that my hair was very dry and was hesitant to add more chemicals to it. I asked her if they had any treatments for dryness and she gave me more options. The only available stylist at that moment was Maiya Noh, their creative director, but Jenny recommended her specifically and I was only too happy that she was available. A cut from her was P1,300, but I think it’s worth it because she seems to really care about hair.
I had to go through a five-step process that utilizes a Japanese shampoo method that involves opening the cuticles of my hair and treating them from the inside out. The shampoo dude also provided me with cold green tea, which I chose from the other drinks he offered, and gave me a massage to relax me. He was very thorough with the back massage and I appreciated that.
When they were blow-drying my hair, Maiya taught me how to make my curls big. I must twirl and squeeze it while my hair is damp and I must twirl it into small groups repeatedly till I finished drying it. Then I should apply a bit of Kerastase: Oléo-Relax and some curl cream. Maiya’s assistant told me that this is only effective for people with natural waves because straight hair would go back to being limp after a while. Apparently, they do not have the natural springiness of wavy hair, so even if they achieve the big curls effect, it would not last the whole day.
Thing is, I don’t want to have to twirl my hair on a daily basis so that they’d obey in small groups. And the process also involves ironing the top of my head still. I don’t want to have to do that again. I want to wake up to nice bouncy waves like those seen on girls with fake curls. We’re going to talk about what to do with my “strong” curls the next time I come back because I really would like to live with what I was born with instead of subjecting it to more chemical cruelty. As of now, I am lamenting the dryness that resulted from all that straightening. And I still have about 3 inches of rebonded hair left. Maiya didn’t want to cut all of it off because when my hair dries, it will be appallingly short.
I like my hair now, actually. I love what Maiya did to it. I think she’s making it possible for my hair to go back to the way it was without me plodding through the awkward stage. I will have to check back if my hair is still this nice tomorrow. In the meantime, I have my Finesse Self-Adjusting Curl Defining Mousse (Alcohol Free) on hand in case the cut fails. I recommend this mousse because it has the least number of synthetic chemicals compared to the leading brands out there. I wish someone would come up with an organic mousse for us with problem hair, but I don’t see that happening anytime soon. Not in this country, anyway.
UPDATE DAY 2:
So I woke up the next day and took a bath and this is how it turned out. I don’t know if it looks good or not, since I’m still struggling with renegade baby springs (although people don’t seem to see them if they aren’t standing close to me). I should have asked what Maiya used to make the curls soft and obedient yesterday.
Park Jun’s Contact Information
Park Jun’s Beauty Lab, Inc.
G/F Glorietta 3, Ayala Center Makati City
Tel: 819-3003 to 02