Curly Asian Hair

Asian woman with medium length curly hair
Photo: Chaay Tee/Shutterstock
Q: I'm Asian with naturally mid-length very curly hair & am fed up with having bad hair days due to the mistake I made in getting a layered cut a year ago (& still paying for it). Not to mention the baby hair growing all over the hairline & sideburn area. I can no longer afford the time to go to the hairdresser for a wash & blow-dry/ironing to get it straightened & I don't think it's good if I were to do it every 3 days anyway.
How can I save my hair? Straightening isn't an option as I like being able to switch from curly to straight. However, it doesn't look good anymore, with these horrid layers. How can I get rid of the layers? I've got an oval-shaped face.
Would a curly, same-length, just below the shoulder bob suit me? I'll be starting work soon & an ideal style would be a low-maintenance one. I haven't owned a brush since 1999 as I normally comb my hair using my fingers when putting in conditioner in the shower.
I'm now based in Shanghai, China, where it also is extremely difficult to find a good, reputable hairdresser who speaks English. Would you have any Shanghai salons on your international directory listing?

A: Unfortunately, the only way to remove layering is to either let the layers grow out and slowly trim away the lower layers, or cut the hair to the length of the shortest layers. With an oval-shaped face, you can wear virtually any hairstyle as long as you remember to keep the hair style in balance and proportion to the rest of your build.
The below the shoulder bob you mention is actually a typical style chosen by many women with very curly hair. Layered styles are generally unsuited to very curly hair, unless the layering is very shallow and intended to create a beveled edge on the hair. I also applaud your awareness that too much heat-styling can be harmful.
Very curly hair is often more coarse, and more porous, making it prone to dryness and damage from heat styling processes. Even if all you do is use a hair dryer to dry your hair, be sure to use a diffuser and a protective product (leave-in conditioner, styling balm, etc.) to avoid damaging the hair. The diffuser will also help to keep your curl intact and still allow you to maximize the volume in your hair.
As for locations of salons in Shanghai, I'm afraid that we don't have any listings yet in our international directory for Shanghai, China. However, my research did discover a number of hotels in Shanghai that have salons on their premises. Perhaps you can contact one of them to inquire whether the hotel salon takes non-guest clientele.
As the hotel salon's employees will be dealing with many different nationalities of guests, the odds are good that there will be a number of English-speaking persons there. If the hotel salon does not cater to non-guest clients, you can always ask for a referral from the manager there or a stylist for a salon in Shanghai that can accommodate an English-speaking client.
See also:
Curly hair and layers
Curly hair and hairstyles
The pros and cons of layered hair