The Reluctant Stylista

I’m writing this entry because some time ago, before I actually got this undercut and I was still musing about my hair-shaving options, I discovered a parenting forum that linked back to the aforementioned blog post.  Curious, I read through the forum posts to find out how exactly my hair-shaving musings got into the discussion (as far as I could tell) that was mostly between North American moms.

Turns out, they were swapping stories of their highly experimental teens and the unconventional ways they’ve decided to style their hair.  It was very interesting, to say in the least.  Most of the moms were pretty cool about it, and very understanding even if they didn’t particularly care for the hairstyles their daughters wanted. But some were rightfully concerned.  There were, of course, a lot of questions, particularly about head-shaving–and I thought maybe that was something I could help out with.  Besides, that blog post about Anya Ayoung-Chee being my inspiration is one of the most visited articles in my site, so I figure a lot of girls must be curious about the experience of head-shaving.

Girls getting an undercut
B for Bald? Or Bold?


Now, I’ve had this hairstyle roughly around three and a half months.  But I figure I’ve been maintaining it every week, or at least every 2 weeks, by diligently trimming so you can say that yes, I like it.  In fact, I’ve raved over and over again about how much I love it.  But truthfully, when I decided I wanted to get my hair shaved (and at first, I even wanted a long mohawk, exactly like Anya Ayoung-Chee), I wasn’t expecting to be in love with it in the sense that I wasn’t expecting to look prettier or hotter, and I accepted that.  So why did I want to do it in the first place?  I did it because was itching for a really drastic change with my hair.  In my mind, it was gonna be cool and bad-ass and I was going to rock the hell out of it.  I’ve had years to try and look pretty as a doll, and one gets tired of it eventually.

So if you’re asking why on earth would your lovely daughter want to try messing with her hair my top three guesses would be 1) she’s bored 2) she doesn’t want to look like everybody else and 3) she wants to look different, but still cool.  Nothing to get worked up for, right?

Girls getting an undercut
How it looks when the shaved part is a bit long (I went without a shave for more than 2 weeks)

Girls getting an undercut
This is about a week’s growth

Girls getting an undercut
Piling it up on one side

Getting past the stares and questions

Now I don’t know how it is in North America, but I imagine it’s a lot more open-minded than Manila (where I live) when it comes to unconventional fashion.  Here, I get stared at a lot.  I wouldn’t say it’s uncomfortable, but I’ve gotten pretty used to it.  Once in a while, a cashier lady will just gape and forget to take my order or something, and it’s more amusing than anything.   It’s funny though–after this haircut thing, I noticed how little I’ve begun to care about people staring.  In the Philippines, if you’re out commuting and you’re not wearing an office uniform or a jeans and tee combo, people are bound to stare.  I used to feel self-conscious sometimes, because I’m not really a “basics” person and even my casual wear stands out in the MRT. Now, I go out wearing outfits that I normally would categorize as too dressy for commuting and I find that I don’t care anymore.  And I don’t know if it’s just all in my mind, but sometimes I even think people are more accepting of my manner of dressing because of how my hair looks.  Like it explains everything!

When I was in Singapore, nobody even looked at my head twice (and if somebody did, he/she’s probably Pinoy).  And I think I saw at least two other Singaporean girls who were sporting a similar haircut.  I imagine it would be the same thing in Hong Kong, which I observed is a lot more fashion-forward or accepting of experimental fashion compared to the Philippines.

If you do happen to be in a socially-conservative place like I am, then yes, you will get stares.  You will get questions and sooner or later, someone’s gonna try and get witty.  I give different answers to “Why did you shave your hair?”  To a boss, I said “I pulled it all out when you were stressing me out.”  To someone who thought it was funny, I said something like this with a dead serious face: “I had to have an important surgery that required slicing and peeling off this part of my head and it saved my life. You think it’s funny?”  (Never mind that if it were true, then one would have been able to see the scars easily, but at least it sobered and shut them up.)

Growing it out

It’s just hair.  It grows back.  It’s not like a tattoo, which requires a lot more thinking because the change is permanent.  Your kid wants to experiment with her hair?  Let her be!  At least she seems confident enough to pull it off.  It’s character-building, and it shows she has imagination.  It’s okay to be different.  Some people have this notion that if you have a punk hairstyle then you only dress in hooker outfits, biker duds or clothes that look like they should be washed.  Not true.  You might be surprised to know that a good number of fashion trends and styles go with this cut.  Just Google “undercut girls” and you’ll see.  I was inspired by Anya Ayoung-Chee myself, seeing how fabulous she was.  She was so chic and her clothes were always sophisticated–and she rocked them all with a long mohawk.

I get questions about growing out the shaved part a LOT.  Since I only have the half part shaved, it’s actually pretty easy for me.  Several people suggested that when it gets to a certain length, I should just cut it all short and equalize it, but there’s no need to.  See, I have so much hair that if I want to hide the shaved part, I can just flip some of my hair to that side.  Nobody even notices the shaved part when I do that.  So in a way, this is a pretty “safe” wild cut in that you have several options for styling it, even one that’s conservative or conventional.  Before you (or your kid) decide what edgy undercut you want to go with, research for a lot of pegs.  I even checked out for tips in maintaining it and getting the cut I wanted.  (I ended up with a lot of Alice Dellal’s photos and some from that livejournal community).

Hair grows unbelievably fast. I didn’t realize before how often guys visit the barbers, because I used to do it just two or three times a year! Luckily, now, I save money because we have our own clippers and shavers at home, and I just ask my dad or my brother to trim it for me at least every 2 weeks (ideally, it would be every week, but I don’t often have the time).  I’ve yet to have the long part trimmed, but I plan on doing that at one of my favorite salons soon.

Girls getting an undercut
A bit covered here, not too noticeable

What if I end up not liking it?

There was one person from that forum who shared the story of her sister who went through a “phase” with crazy hair and regretted it later, especially hating the pictures of herself taken that year.

Well, I’ve had normal hair forever!  Since I have wavy-curly hair, my styles were very limited.  I couldn’t cut it too short and one-length just made it frizzy, so I always wore it long and layered.  No surprise I eventually got bored with it!  Coloring could only get me so far as I didn’t want to damage my hair chemically.  I had a breakage scare last year and that was that.  So I went for an undercut.  Though I love it now, there is that possibility that it’ll look funny to my future self–but I think that’s the beauty of it!  I think it’s fun to look at old photos and see how different you were back then.  That you have actual proof that you’ve changed.  It’s an interesting story to tell.

And if you get your crazy haircut and you end up hating it right after…

…you can always wear a hat.



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