A Hair-y Past

I’ve been looking for a new hairstyle/color for Fall, and ended up digging through past photo archives. Let’s just say that the hair gods have not always been kind to me. Shall we start the journey back in the 1990’s?

Ages 3 through 10:
If you’ve had the Asian bowl haircut, raise your hand…

Late middle school:

Recoil! Please be kind on this one : P This is my hair in it’s natural state (combined with untamed brows and a beginner’s eyeliner job), cut by le stylist Dad. Coarse, thick, and wavy. I think it’s safe to say boys weren’t knocking down my front door….

High school:
First cheap, brassy blonde job. Didn’t know what “toner” was back then.
Testing out different shades of blonde. I rather liked the middle color, but it was $ to maintain.
Covering the blonde with reddish / milk tea brown.
Short vs long. Back to basic black.
Readers – do you have a favorite hairstyle or color that you keep on reverting back to? I’m thinking of going back to ashy brown because blonde is costly, damaging, and may look unprofessional (on me personally, I feel). But boy do I miss it, especially in the summer!
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  1. libys11 wrote:

    i really love the current one!! and the early childhood photos are so so adorable!!! 😀 nothing is cuter than seeing a lil kid with full bangs! 😀

    Animated Confessions

    Posted 8.18.10 Reply
  2. Anonymous wrote:

    I never really liked blond hair on Asian girls, but you look GORGEOUS in those pictures! I wish I was younger and had the courage to try going blonde!

    Posted 8.17.10 Reply
  3. The reddish/milk tea color is SO good on you!! I think you should revert to that color this instant! :p

    The blondish hair makes you look like a wild child in college!! hehehe 😀 But you look fab though! 🙂

    Posted 8.17.10 Reply
  4. Zoe wrote:

    how did you dye your hair blonde? just bleach and tone? or was it an extremely extensive time/money consuming process?

    Posted 8.17.10 Reply
  5. Soo wrote:

    Thanks so much for sharing! Although I myself have never gone completely blond, I went through the brown/reddish stage in college. I feel like it's the rite of passage for an asian. Now I'm back to basic black, so I save money and my hair is so much healthier! I definitely feel that you look more mature and professional now, although i do like the brown look too! oh heck, you look good in everything 🙂

    Posted 8.17.10 Reply
  6. Anonymous wrote:

    I'm sorry, but the blonde looked really bad and cheap. If you're from SoCal, I can see why you'd want to look like a blonde beach girl but really, NEVER do that to your hair again. The brown isn't that great either. Your natural black color is much shinier and nicer.

    Posted 8.17.10 Reply
  7. Abby wrote:

    I love your hair in black the best, though brown doesn't look bad. I haven't really done anything fun to my hair except cut it all off a few times. No haircuts or dye jobs. My mom cuts my hair and she cut layers a few days ago but I can't see them.

    Posted 8.17.10 Reply
  8. Jackie wrote:

    LOL, you were so cute!! OMG, thanks so sharing this…made me smile. You wear blode well, but I think I prefer the black.

    I've had my hair EVERY color you can think of. Now I'm loving my natural brown w/ blonde highlights =D

    Posted 8.17.10 Reply
  9. I think blonde hair only looks good on tanned skin or else one tends to look washed out. But imagine how much maintenance it would be not only dyeing your hair color, but also making sure you keep a sunkissed glow all year round to go with it.

    I vote for darker shades for autumn/winter and face-framing highlights(instead of full head or even 1/2 head highlights) during the spring/summer.

    Posted 8.17.10 Reply
  10. I'm looking forward to reading your series on building a professional wardrobe. I can certainly use some inspirations :).

    Posted 8.17.10 Reply
  11. Sunny wrote:

    Yes but you got a CUTE Asian bowl haircut! Mine were always horrific. And yes, my engineer Dad would cut it too, in his wonderful "beauty salon" located in either the garage or basement. Sigh.

    There was a period in my life when I had blue hair, but those days are way behind me. =) LOVE your hair btw! Your hair is gorgeous, with great texture! It's the kind of hair I bet always falls in just the right place.

    Posted 8.17.10 Reply
  12. Rena wrote:

    WOW! You looked gorgeous with blonde/brown hair! But black suits you too!

    As for me, I've never died my hair before since it could get costly and I'm a lazy person. Plus, I'm nervous about the turnout…So far my haircuts haven't been too successful…

    <33 Rena

    Posted 8.17.10 Reply
  13. J-ezzy wrote:

    I had the same blonde phase, I looooove the same color you want back, but don't want to pay for. I want it back too, but I can't invest so much money into my hair, maybe when the economy picks up, lol. I had the bowl haircut and I'm not asian, ROFL!!! My mom was a cosmetologist too, I still think she intentionally made me look bad to never get boyfriends, and boy was she right, as soon as it grew out, all the boys came a knockin, lol, a tid bit late though, 9th grade, haha. Now that I think about it, in 9th grade I dyed my hair with hydrogen peroxide, not dye, PAHAHA, I thought I was soooo hot, lol.

    Bahhh, I love the first two pics of you as a little girl, SO FREAKIN CUTE, I wanna just carry you around in my purse!

    The brown hair on you makes you look like a movie star, def go brown chica!!

    Posted 8.17.10 Reply
  14. Winnie* wrote:

    Yes hands up for the bowl hairstyle! I love love love brown on you. Though you like the middle picture of blonde of you more, I like the one on the right. Its crazy how hair color makes such huge differences. Thanks for the kind comments on my blog. You are almost too kind to comment on my bare face haha.

    As for the missha bb cream goes, you sure you are NC 40? You are probably darker than me but I don't think you are that dark haha.. I just bought loose powder from MAC and the number from the containter is NC20. Or maybe I am a noob and missing something? They are doing $8 for this BB Cream if you have a purchase over $30. Free shipping over $40 too. Here is the link 🙂 http://www.misshaus.com/pageControl.php?page=index You should definitely check it out!!

    Posted 8.17.10 Reply
  15. I am Khatu wrote:

    I can't help it but laugh at the childhood photos. I think we went through the exact same phases with our hair. I need a change with my hair too. It's been over a year since I last cut my hair, terrible I know.

    Posted 8.17.10 Reply
  16. Wow you are brave to put up your bowl cut LOL! I luckily never had the bowl cut but my poor brother did 😛

    The blonde suited you! I had blond highlights, but with my curly hair it just looked really dry and damaged. I go back and forth between dark brown and reddish.

    I really like your hair now and the reddish/milk tea brown.

    Posted 8.17.10 Reply
  17. wow u look awesome in the blonde with reddish / milk tea brown. I never went blonde but did tons of highlights but didnt look as good as you 😛 I do like your long black hair though

    Posted 8.17.10 Reply
  18. Elle wrote:

    I quite like the brown on you, but I think black hair makes you look most professional. I had no idea you went through a blonde phase. How often did you have to dye it to keep it ashy blonde?

    Posted 8.17.10 Reply
  19. R.L. wrote:

    Haha, my before pics (with the exception of the blonde college looks) mirror yours quite closely! So you have thick and wavy curly hair in your natural state? So do I and it is such a problem.

    You must share your tips on how you get your current hair so smooth and tame!! Combined with the humidity of summer I've ended up either cutting my thick/wavy hair into a bob (not very versatile and I'm not sure it matches my facial structure either) or pulling it back in the dreadful librarian's bun (eww!).

    Anyway, thanks for sharing these before pics. You were really cute back then and I like seeing how you evolved into a beautiful professional now 🙂

    Posted 8.17.10 Reply
  20. Elle wrote:

    This comment has been removed by the author.

    Posted 8.17.10 Reply
  21. You look so different back then with blonde hair. I think browish is a safe choice for Fall. Definitely less maintenance than blonde but still give your hair a pop of color. I had some crazy hair do in the past but I regret for cutting my hair short. I am going to stick with natural black hair for now. I can't wait for my hair to grow longer

    Posted 8.17.10 Reply
  22. I was digging through my old photos too and I have gone through every single one of those hair cut phases, except the blonde hair which I was too scared of doing after I went orange when trying the "cheap, brassy blonde" stage.

    Yeah I bet it took so much time to keep up that ashy blonde hair! It looks great on you though – really natural.. well, as natural as blonde hair on an Asian can be!

    I also had an identical bowl hair cut to you up until the age of about 6 – my dad used to cut my hair too… argh why did my mum let him??? Why??

    Black hair looks really elegant on you… but I know what you mean, sometimes it's nice to go to a bit lighter. I'm currently a kind if mid-brown.

    Posted 8.17.10 Reply
  23. Rachel wrote:

    I love the red/milk tea brown colour on you =) Altough black hair is stunning on you too! It's always nice to have a change though =)

    Posted 8.17.10 Reply
  24. DSK Steph wrote:

    I love this post! You sexy blonde you!

    Your childhood pictures are simply adorable 🙂

    I'm glad you're sharing your past with us (cause nosy bloggers like me live to learn every fact about you!)


    Posted 8.17.10 Reply
  25. nicole wrote:

    I love this post! It makes me want to dig up my old photos to see the stages that my hair has gone through. I've definitely had the Asian bowl cut and in high school I had bright red hair at one point but for the most part it was black and one length (didn't know about "layers" back then) and then I've always just had brown-black-dark hair (hence my recent change). I've never been blond until now and I never would have guessed that you had gone blond before – it looks great on you! I love the colour in the middle photo as well. Really cute photo of you and your boyfriend haha, and love the milk tea brown colour as well. May I ask (if you remember) what colour you used or was it professionally done? I'm not sure what I want to do with my hair come autumn, so I'm still trying to figure out what to do. You have a versatile skin tone where all of those colours (from blond to black) look so good on you!

    Posted 8.17.10 Reply
  26. love.blue wrote:

    I agree with the other readers that your current hair color makes you look professional, but I LOVE the milk tea brown with your boyfriend.

    I didn't expect you had blonde days in the past! From your blog, you just didn't seem like that type. You pull off blonde well though–and it's not horribly orange like I used to see on many girls at my college.

    I'm asian but my hair is naturally brown. With flash, it photographs even lighter than your milk tea brown. I bet everyone thinks I dye my hair. LOL.

    Posted 8.17.10 Reply
  27. sophia wrote:

    Wow haha it's a whole 'nother side of PAG! It's nice to see you share more personal stuff on your blog 🙂 I like you with long hair! How come you chopped it off?

    I've been thinking of going back to black but my skin is so pale I look (even more) ghastly and sickly! It is much healthier though and no maintenance.

    Posted 8.17.10 Reply
  28. MizzJ wrote:

    Wow you're so classy now that I would never have imagined you'd be "one of those Asians" with the blond hair! hahahaha Your current color is much more mature and pretty!

    Posted 8.17.10 Reply
  29. aww, its so funny, your first picture (4 year old?) looks SOOOOO much like you right now. i can see more of you in that picture than in your blond hair picture. i much prefer asian girls with dark hair, and maybe a little highlights, but blond is too much for me!

    Posted 8.17.10 Reply
  30. Steph wrote:

    I love the "reddish / milk tea brown" on you :]
    Looks awesome.

    Posted 8.17.10 Reply
  31. Ping wrote:

    omg i would never think you had blonde hair! my fave is the 2 pics above current pics. it must be a college phase, because i had light color hair too.

    i decided to keep my natural hair color because it's so little maintenance, cheaper & looks more professional! but at the same time i'm so bored with it. i'm thinking about getting highlights or something.

    Posted 8.17.10 Reply
  32. In reference to your comment: Chin length hair = less fuss, more studying!

    I literally laughed out loud at that. IT'S SO TRUE!

    What's funny is that when I was in India, I went to a private school and they had a rule about that! Girls had to keep their short (like a boy-cut hairstyle) or else they wouldn't be allowed in. They'd even check our nails/toes to see if they were painted; and if they were, we'd be sent home and not permitted in school until it was removed. And obviously we had uniforms… suit jacket, pant, shirt, tie, and boys dress shoes/socks.

    I swear I dressed like a boy for half my life, lol. It was AWFUL!

    Posted 8.17.10 Reply
  33. MoneyMaus wrote:

    Not Asian, but I've had my fair share of bad hair! A perm when I was 12 that took SO WELL, I had to have it professionally straightened TWICE (!) to get it to its now-wavy look. Hah!

    I stopped highlighting my hair right after college b/c it was so $ to maintain. But even before I stopped, I was only going 2x per year because my natural color is dirty blonde. I'm totally natural now and I love it! Just like I think you look the BEST with your natural hair color. Gorgeous, and never pictured you as the blonde Asian type 🙂

    Posted 8.17.10 Reply
  34. Eden wrote:

    I am so glad you did this post because I had been wanting to dye my naturally black hair a lighter shade similar to the milk tea brown! Some questions for all you ladies…I have never colored my hair, and was wondering if it was possible to get to that color without bleaching it first? I know the best bet would be to go to a salon, but for curiosity, is it possible to do it using the drugstore coloring kits?

    I never would have guessed you would go blonde, but props to pulling it off so well! I also agree that black is more professional, but I think a dark brown will look just as good.

    Posted 8.17.10 Reply
  35. Nelah wrote:

    Seriously, you look good in both black and blonde (but I love you with blace hair the most, very classy and pretty)! Boy I am glad I get to see different looks of PAG :D. I got to experiment with different hair colors in the past but I still don't know which shade looks best on me up to this day.

    And yes, I used to have a bowl cut hair style when I was little as well. I guess that's a trend or something.

    Posted 8.17.10 Reply
  36. Hanna wrote:

    No bowl cut for me but definitely had bangs when I was younger. I experimented with light brown/red in my high school years. The blonde has a bold statement for you! I got peek-a-boo blonde highlights 2 years ago? I STILL HAVE THEM on the tips!! It's been driving me nuts so I usually just tie my hair into a bun for interviews.

    As for fall I'm going to grow my hair out! Thinking of crazy buns and messy do's tucked in beanies.

    Posted 8.17.10 Reply
  37. I came back to see if you replied! Hmm I just googled coral red and that definitely wasn't the colour I had. My hair stylist during the time said it was that colour thouhg! Mine was more of a…deep burgundy? I don't know.. ahaha

    Posted 8.17.10 Reply
  38. Aradhana – lol! Guess they were "in" all over Asia. It's easy and cheap (for DIY!)

    And yes…I definitely hesitated at putting up the scary middle school one, but screw it, I have no shame & nothing to lose : )

    Posted 8.17.10 Reply
  39. Glad to know I wasn't alone with the sad bowl cuts : (

    April – you're totally right, I loved blonde but I agreed it gave out the wrong image to guys!

    Angie- snip off ponytail…how horrid! I don't think Dad ever let my hair grow out long enough to muster up a pony. Chin length hair = less fuss, more studying!

    jessy – coral red…hmm! Can't picture that.

    PetiteXXS – oh no, the eyeliner was secret for sure. I would bring it on the school bus yet they would find and confiscate it (lookin back on the pic, I don't blame them lol). Had to "glam up" for school pictures day, of course!

    Liana – that is very sweet of you, but noo, I'll leave modeling to the pros. I can barely put on a good face for blog photos : )

    Posted 8.17.10 Reply
  40. I actually REALLY REALLY REALLY love the brown on you; it gives you a really pretty warm summery glow look! (which, I don't even know if that made sense to anyone but me)

    But honestly, I think I'd stick to the basic black if I were you. [: Like everyone said: professional, mature, classy.

    Then again, I seriously LOVE the brown… |: I can't pick.

    Oh and I've had an awful bowl hair cut (they were really "in" when I was a kid in India)… and I have a puny forehead, so you can just imagine what an absolute DISASTER that was. You're REALLY brave to post up pictures. Kudos! [:

    Posted 8.17.10 Reply
  41. Erin wrote:

    I am so a fan of the basic black. I WISH I could do it, but I am just an ashy plain brown haired gal. I did the brassy blonde too and I am debating going back to it as well 🙂 I guess if we can make it through summer, we'll be in the clear! 😀

    Posted 8.17.10 Reply
  42. ch3r wrote:

    I've never gone all blonde (the though scares me since I have such yellow-toned skin!), just blonde highlights. And yes, upkeep is just too much! Every few summers something will come over me and I'll go for some caramel-colored highlights, but I think I much prefer my natural hair color for the most part, if not for the fact that I'm saving tons of money!

    Oh and I've had my share of bowl-cuts too. Hehe.

    Posted 8.17.10 Reply
  43. Liana wrote:

    wow your hair looks good any color! i actually like the lighter brown shades, but it looks good black too…you're lucky you can pull off so many colors, some asians can't (like me)! you are super pretty too, have you ever considered modeling?

    Posted 8.17.10 Reply
  44. PetiteXXS wrote:

    I never really wanted to go blond (got blond highlights once that came out so orangy that it totally turned me off of the color). I would've loved your milk tea brown when I was younger but I think basic black does look a lot more classy and professional.

    Lol on the middle school pic… my hair in its natural state is like that too! And your parents let you wear make-up in middle school?? Lol… so sad but my current eyeliner attempts are kind of like your beginner eyeliner job back in middle shool 😛

    Posted 8.17.10 Reply
  45. hahaha This is cute! When I was 4 or 5, I had a cut similar to your 3rd childhood photo. 😛

    I love the middle blond on you and I think you look fantastic with brown hair. : )

    My hair is currently dyed like the brown in your first brown photo. It's only my first time dying my full head so I don't know what to think of it. I keep delaying my hair post on my blog for some reason, but I'll post it up eventually! I've also had coral red highlights before. I find that I always go through some emo stage whenever I get a hair cut. I'd mope around regretting it for a week after a hair change. D:

    Posted 8.16.10 Reply
  46. Angie wrote:

    whoa! this blew my mind to think that once upon a time you had blonde hair! i really really love your dark locks now and yes, it does look very professional. it also gives good contrast against your skin

    and yes, i have had amazing bowl haircuts and my dad's *snip off ponytail ok you're done run off and play* styling. hahaha i should definitely dig up some ugly pictures too!

    i'm trying to go for a lighter brown but i just can't get rid of the red in my hair. maybe i should hit up a salon for once, eh?

    Posted 8.16.10 Reply
  47. D wrote:

    I love your hair in college and the milk tea brown one but I think the black hair one suits for professional usage! Cute earlier haircuts. I , myself, have never had the bowl cut but my sis did and she matched it! hehe

    Posted 8.16.10 Reply
  48. elleandish wrote:

    My favs are basic black and reddish/milk tea brown!

    I used to have hair like that in high school… in college I stopped dyeing my hair altogether and now I'm back to a medium brown 😀 i think ill stick with this for a while.

    And trust me… my middle school haircut was FAR worse. I had a pageboy cut that stopped at my chin. TERRIBLE!!! X(

    Posted 8.16.10 Reply
  49. April wrote:

    Wow, I would have never guessed you'd try blonde! I honestly like the basic black. It makes you look soo classy and professional. When I see a blonde Asian girl, I think young high school or college, but after that time I think they are just kind of trying to stay young. I also love your milk tea brown hair. Back in college I had blonde highlights and the "wrong" type of men were trying to hit on me. Hair makes a big statement. This was an excellent blog post as always. I look forward to your post if you can tell I'm usually the first to comment. LOL!

    Posted 8.16.10 Reply
  50. I had my share of bad hair cuts. I like your current hair color, but the pic of you with that cutie comes a close second.

    Posted 8.16.10 Reply

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