Fashionista: You went the opposite direction of most people, and got a perm! What was your motivation?
Chi Diem Chau: I’ve been obsessed with curly hair for as long as I can remember—you always want what you can’t have, right?—but finally took the plunge after seeing a model sporting my “dream hair” in a Shopbop editorial feature. It wasn’t natural (and it looked amazing!), and I thought to myself, if she could pull it off, I could too. With a picture in hand, I headed to my hair guy in Chinatown and three hours later, walked out a changed, curly hair woman. There aren’t many Asian girls with “afro perms” so I expected a few stares here and there—I’ll never forget an embarrassing moment when a group of guys started hollering “Foxy Lee!” as I walked by on my way to work—but what was really surprising was that a lot of people actually thought my curly hair was natural. Ha! Added bonus? The perm also gave me an extra inch or two in the height department.
Describe the texture you ended up with, and your routine.
Since the tight curl perm sucked out the natural oils in my hair, I began washing my hair every two days to retain moisture. Combing my hair with a fine tooth comb or brush was pretty much out of the question so I had to start using a hair pick to separate the curls after washing my hair. The key to non-frizz? TONS of Ouidad Curl Quencher leave-in conditioner and Climate Control hair gel. A hair diffuser also helped with creating volume when my perm started growing out.
Any advice for women still struggling with their curls, or who want to go curly?
I envy all the women out there with naturally curly hair–it’s gorgeous! I know that it can be a little hard to manage (cue the Curl Quencher), but with the right cut and hair product, I think curly haired women can confidently embrace their curls. For all the girls who want to go curly, just do it. I’m a huge advocate of switching up your hairdo, and really, what’s the worse that can happen? YOLO.