Listening to My Hair

I don’t have a lot of hair. My natural hair is thin and very straight. It falls around my small face, letting gravity do all of the work, each strand aiming directly towards the ground. It’s dark brown, defying the stereotype of jet black Asian hair, which is why I am often mistaken as mixed […]

For Better or Frizzier

I have a long and complicated relationship with my hair. At 28, I’ve mostly learned how to cope with it in a finely-honed technique of leave-in conditioners, serums, blow-dryers, straighteners, curling irons, hairsprays and fairy dust (also known as dry shampoo.) But for the first half of my life, my hair was a wild tangle […]

When Your Body Prophesies to You

Two years ago, a very reputable hairdresser used faulty straighteners and burnt my hair. The next day, in the shower, when I was trying to identify the strange odour, I remembered the last time I had smelt it: I was 12 years old, trying to ignite a gas hob, leaning over to check that the […]

How Our Muslim Student Became Auntie Boo

  My three-year-old son tightly twisted the long strand of strong black hair round and round his fingers as he emerged from the guest room yesterday. I peeked through the bedroom door and found my one-year-old daughter squatting on the floor, peering into a fish tank at the “fiffy”—a silky black Betta fish that fluttered […]

Pretty Girls Have Long Hair, And Other Lies

I grew up in a fairly conservative church. Not so conservative that women were forbidden to cut their hair, but the line between beautiful and long hair was drawn thickly and clearly. Pretty girls, godly girls, had long hair. So I grew out my hair. It did not go well. My hair flatly refused to cascade […]