Much like makeup and skincare, haircare needs can vary by ethnicity. The Reflect Beauty Awards celebrate the best of beauty for women of all ethnicities, so here are my two cents on Asian hair and what many of us need!
It’s impossible to boil down the diversity of Asian women into one single hair type (or foundation shade or skin profile), but my hair type is fairly common among East Asian women: thick strands that grow in stick-straight. Shine isn’t an issue as long as I don’t damage it too much with bleach or heat styling, but volume always is, since my hair prefers — above everything else — to lie perfectly flat on my head. On top of that, my scalp produces plenty of oil, further exacerbating the flatness problem.
At this point, I think I’ve conquered my basic haircare issues. Occasional use of an exfoliating acid on my scalp helps to control oiliness and keep my scalp clear and unclogged, while Olaplex conditioner handily repairs any damage I do to it via the Dracarys-level heat that I have to turn my curling iron to in order to get a curl to stay. Styling products remain a mystery to me, however, so I’m excited to call attention to the products our Asian influencers have picked for this round of the awards.
East Asian influencer Sandy Lin picked Briogeo Dry Shampoo as one of her winners. I can see why. I’ve never been able to stand going more than a day without washing my hair, and after some informal polling via my personal Instagram and friend group, I’ve found I’m far from the only East Asian who feels that way. Our scalps often get oily quickly, making our hair look limp (and smell less than beautiful) too quickly to allow for less frequent shampooings.
Unfortunately, daily shampooing can dry out hair strands as well as add extra styling time to already busy beauty routines, so dry shampoos can come in handy. Briogeo’s Scalp Revival Charcoal + Biotin Dry Shampoo uses rice, corn, and tapioca starch as well as kaolin clay to absorb excess oils. Meanwhile, biotin may help improve hair growth, while the fragrance in the product helps freshen the scent of your hair.
Lack of volume is another common issue for East Asian hair, which really wants nothing more than to lie flat on our skulls all the way down to wherever we’ve chosen to cut it. That is at odds with my desire for my hair to have an actual shape and style. Texturizing sprays help by altering the texture of hair strands so that they stand out from each other more, giving body and shape to otherwise limp hair. Sandy chose Bumble and Bumble Texturizing Spray as another winner; my hairstylist also uses this on me with great results.
Of course, East Asians aren’t the only Asians in the world. I was happy to see that Reflect Beauty included South Asian beauty influencer Sheba Snow. South Asian hair tends to be very different from East Asian hair, but one of Sheba’s picks, the Redken Heat Protection Treatment, is also relevant for East Asian hair.
As I mentioned before, I need to crank my curling iron up to the Dracarys setting if I want my curls to last longer than 20 minutes. Sadly, this means inflicting copious amounts of heat damage to my hair. Heat protectants work by coating the hair, slowing down and reducing heat transfer, as my friend, chemist Michelle Wong over at the Lab Muffin beauty blog, explains. This is absolutely critical to preventing high-heat styling from destroying hair.
No matter what ethnicity we are, we live in a time where there are beauty products available to address our specific needs. Let our experts be your starting point to finding the perfect products for your hair, no matter what kind of hair you were born with!