Asian Hair Blues
August 30, 2006 9:15 AM   Subscribe

I would like to grow out my hair and sport a beard. one problem: I'm asian. help! (more inside)

For those who aren't familar with the curse that is asian hair. It means that your hair is stubbornly straight, stronger than steel, and nearly impossible to style into anything other than a bowl cut or buzz cut.

Firstly, the side of my hair grows straight out rather than molding to my head which looks quite weird after about a week (especially since I have significantly more hair on my left side than right). I tried trimming it every so often, but it becomes quite a pain since it grows so much faster than the rest of my hair.

As a few weeks go by without a trim, the rest of my hair grows straight outwards resulting in what I like to refer to as the asian fro.

Letting my hair grow out to longer lengths results in something similar to that of the little girl from 'the ring.'

Lastely, I yearn for the ability to grow a grizzly beard, but I am cursed with genetics that makes this an almost impossible task.

All I want is a hairstyle that is somewhat stylish, easy to maintain and one in which I can wake up with it looking half decent.

Any ideas would greatly be appreciated!

posted by anonymous to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (12 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
You need to get in the habit of shaving, which will encourage your hair follicles in your face to grow. It may or may not help, but depending on your ancestry it could work.

Haircut: try a short crew cut, probably one-quarter inch length.
posted by parmanparman at 9:52 AM on August 30, 2006

If you're younger, think about waiting a few years for the beard. Midlife hormonal changes might bring that in.

Also, mustache dye can help to make a beard look fuller.
posted by Gordion Knott at 10:01 AM on August 30, 2006

Buck up, some of the best beards I have ever seen were in China. Unfortunately there were on very old men, or members of Chinese minorities. As for you hair, I would honestly just keep it really short, my Beijing roomate did that my when my girlfirend came to visit and met him she pointed out to me that he looked rather fetching with his hair that way.
posted by BobbyDigital at 10:15 AM on August 30, 2006

Lots of Japanese dudes have cool wavey hair which they probably get from some sort of perm.

As for the facial hair, not sure what you can do about that.
posted by chunking express at 10:16 AM on August 30, 2006

You need to get in the habit of shaving, which will encourage your hair follicles in your face to grow.

Myth. See, for example, here and here.
posted by pracowity at 10:59 AM on August 30, 2006

Since it's different lengths on each side, how about shaving/trimming the sides a bit and letting the top grow out into a floppy mohawk? Fun, if not professional.
posted by wzcx at 11:25 AM on August 30, 2006

There are those that would recommend using Rogaine (well, minoxidil) on the face, since it's over-the-counter. However, doing so is not approved by the FDA or the manufacturer. A little googling should turn up lots of discussion and experimentation.

Personally, I wouldn't recommend it, but it's an option.
posted by jedicus at 11:32 AM on August 30, 2006

I'm Asian and have the same type of hair.

Keep it short and use a bit of product (pomade) to keep it close to the head. Don't use heavy gels or hairspray. You just need to use a smidge of pomade diluted with a bit of water to keep it down. Over time, your hair will conform to the shape.

Asians usually have no problems growing sideburns and chin beards. However, getting that beard growth around the cheeks that connects sideburns to chin is rare. If you don't get that cheek beard growth, you'll have to settle for sideburns and chin beard. I recommend getting a beard trimmer and keeping it short and close to the chin. The above picture is a good example.
posted by junesix at 12:04 PM on August 30, 2006

A whole bunch of Asian men hairstyles here.
posted by junesix at 12:05 PM on August 30, 2006

Everybody's hair looks weird while it's being grown out. Don't worry about that. As far as the facial hair, just be patient and have faith. Grow out the moustache and the goatee, even if they don't connect. The beard on your cheeks will probably be sparse, so just go ahead and keep that shaved.

Rock the Fu Manchu.
posted by Faint of Butt at 1:23 PM on August 30, 2006

I sympathize, brother. My hair is a 3:1 blend of poker-straight and wavy, and all of it is stubbornly coarse. I get the 'fro, too. If you're not using conditioner already, I recommend getting one of decent quality and using vast amounts of it. It helps weigh the hair down, and the hairs are less inclined to prop eachother up into the 'fro shape. If you can, keep two shampoos on hand, and alternate them sometimes, as they seem to lose effectiveness when used too many times in a row.

The best haircuts I've had were very short (buzzed) on the back and sides (cutting down on the mullet effect), and had a definite shape to them (thus avoiding the dreaded bowl). It's hard to describe. If you don't already, I suggest going to various Asian hairstylists and looking at their work, or their catalog if they have one. They'll know best how to work with coarse, straight hair.

Garnier makes a spray gel that works pretty well. It's also good to apply the products out of the shower to towel-dried hair.
posted by evil holiday magic at 1:54 PM on August 30, 2006

Late to this thread, but I think growing out your hair is easier than it sounds. It will look ridiculous until you get it the right length, so just bear with it. Also, instead of having a blurry abstract idea of long hair, you really need to go get a designer haircut from someone who is Asian and is trained to cut Asian hair. They have ways of texturing the hair (distinct from layering) that will make it look less like a fluffed up black q-tip or long stallion mane, so you should see if you can find recommendations in a magazine or something. The haircut makes a big difference in terms of the type of long hair you want and how it should suit your face. If you're in NY, there are a ton of places that could cut your hair.

Also, you might want to get product: get clay, not gel. Finally, don't use too much shampoo as it takes the oil out of your hair and thus the shine.

I would recommend growing it out, as the shorter it is, the more likely people are going to stereotype you.
posted by johnasdf at 11:09 AM on November 14, 2006

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