Ep 1: The Tragic Tale of Needy, Frizzy hair
Is frizzy hair the bane of your hair-xistence? It was mine. Living in a tropical climate like Singapore’s made it unbearable. In this podcast, I tell my hair story. Beginning from when I think the root cause of all the hair problems started. Along the way, I have included some frizzy hair solutions which I think has transformed my relationship with my hair. The lesson learnt? Life’s problems exist for you to create solutions, to help yourself and others.
Is your hair needy? I’m going to tell you the real reason why
Have you ever tried so hard, so many times
From all directions and angles,
With all your strength and dexterity
Rain or shine
To control something
And at the end
It doesn’t even matter
That you tried so hard
The one thing you don’t get better at
Even when you’ve clocked 10 000 hours
That’s frizzy hair, life’s real tragedy
Welcome to Girls With Long Hair
The podcast about life lessons and needy hair
My Hair Story
I’m Dr.TWL and I’m a girl with long hair. I’ve had long hair since I was 14 and I’m now 38. I’m really familiar with the hair problems that beset us long haired lasses, so I think that 24 years of personal experience makes me an expert. Apart from that, I also happen to be a board certified dermatologist and the founder of a beauty pharmacy Dr.TWL Dermaceuticals.
Lesson #1 Frizzy hair solutions are disproportionately important to girls with long hair
I am going to begin with why I have long hair. Growing up as a child, I wasn’t always encouraged to have long hair. I think when I was 9 I did grow a ponytail, I remember that from some photographs taken at the etiquette courses I was sent to, so I could grow up more lady like. It is quite funny now that I realise how worried my mother must have been about me that she sent me to classes every school holiday to teach me about walking with books on my head and eating without food all over my face!
I started taking my hair more seriously when I was 15. At around that age, then grooming course instructor told me about different shampoos to use and even talked about hairstyles. Very specifically, she went round the class pointing out who had the face shape most suited for certain hairstyles. This very poised instructor suggested that my face shape was the most suited for super long voluminous hair in small curls which she envisioned would make me a goddess when I clipped it all up in a butterfly hair clip. Funny I had instantly an image of what she must have meant which still sticks to my mind now. That ideal of a super beautiful me with that voluminous hair and that butterfly clip which I didn’t clarify what that even was.
@drteowanlin For hair as light and smooth as silk .. in the air #showyourhairmoves ♬ original sound – Dr. Teo Wan Lin – By Dr.TWL
Get your frizzy hair solutions at Dr.TWL Pharmacy. Girls with long hair often struggle with keeping their hair neat and groomed, especially in a humid climate like Singapore’s. Dr.TWL Pharmacy carries a range of hair brushes and tools that are designed to tackle frizz without chemical treatments or even styling products
The Butterfly Effect
The only thing was, I didn’t have that super long hair, maybe, just slightly below shoulder length, my natural hair as an early teen/tween wasn’t actually voluminous. It was straight, kind of fine and flat. But I suspect that must have been what sparked my interest in hair accessories. Because according to her, it would be the elusive butterfly clip that would culminate in my gorgeous eventual self! Looking back, I think she must have meant a claw clip of sorts?
Although I am pretty sure whenever I saw a butterfly on a clip, especially if it was the shiny bejeweled sort, with dangling chains, I would most certainly buy it. All this time, I was under the impression that the one fine day would arrive, when my gorgeous goddess self would manifest with all the hair and butterfly clips she was talking about, just not then.
@drteowanlin Girls With Long Hair- The Beauty Podcast You Must Listen To! Check out my new show where I share about my past relationships… With hair elastics. And why you should definitely choose one that doesn’t rip your hair out. #drtwl #girlswithlonghair #girltalk #beautytok #beautypodcast #dermatologist @Spotify @Dr.TWL Dermatologist Skincare ♬ original sound – By Dr.TWL
Lesson #2 For girls with long hair, frizzy hair solutions like hair treatments are answers to life’s greatest tragedies
Anyway, she also taught me that a woman can never have enough lipsticks, just like her. By the time I was 18 which was around 2003, I was already a bona fide beauty fiend ready to tackle makeup, determined to be the best of all 18 year olds. There was a makeup contest hosted by the then Virgin Cosmetics at a mall, where they also did makeovers whenever we purchased a product. They took some photos and by the following week, I got a call from Elite Models Singapore, who asked me to go down to their agency for a go-see.
The Episode Where I Turned Into A Golden-Blonde
So I started modelling then while awaiting entry to medical school. I remember one of my first fashion shows was a hair show by L’Oréal. The show had my long hair cut to shoulder length and dyed to golden blonde. I don’t remember very much other than something about the hair disturbed me so greatly after the show ended the very next day I went to my agency crying.. yes crying… about my hair being ruined and that my new alien look was not going to get me jobs. LOL.
Anyway, it wasn’t funny at all to me then, and it was amazing my bookers were so kind. They said the client was going to dye my hair back to dark brown for me and were offering me a free hair treatment too. Among the gazillion memories I had of my life, I somehow still remember that I had this hair correction done at Toni and Guys at Holland Village. I think I felt my life went back to quite normal after that.
Lesson #3 Girls with long hair get exploited when they are in a compromised position, for example, when their hair is frozen in a tall, painful spire. When in doubt, seek the advice of older girls with long hair for the best frizzy hair solutions.
Until, the second memory of my hair. This time, it was just before I was due to enter medical school I think. It was a makeup event for Estée Lauder where my hair was pulled up to a sky high ponytail and frozen in a tall spire like shape with extensions and glues. It was very painful. But what I remember most acutely was that the makeup artist asked if she could shave my brows so she could stick glittery stuff on my skin over where my brows were. Luckily I had said no, thanks to another older more experienced model who told me that I should tell her it would cost me jobs and the client more money if she were to do that. However, what she did was kind of tricky.
She still went on to groom my brows to an extremely thin arc which took ages to grow back. I think it was after this show with all the hair spray and gels and glues that my hair really started suffering. The texture of my hair really changed from being straight coarse asian hair to frizzy unruly…
Lesson #4 Some girls with long hair have superpowers to keep their hair in place. Whatever they say about frizzy hair solutions does not make sense.
Oh, and the way memories and our brains work, is like a chain of events, one leads to another- because our brains are wired by circuits that create connections. These connections can be utterly meaningless and random, but sometimes, we can learn to make meaning out of them. So the train of thought I have now is that after this show, I became really conscious about hair
There was a particular older model from Hong Kong named Janis that I really looked up to at that time, she was already in her late thirties (unbelievable) and she had the most beautiful hair I had ever seen. In my mind, she still has the most beautiful hair in the world. It was so long down to her waist, super thick and voluminous with those little natural curls that I thought my grooming instructor must have been referring to when she said it was my ideal hairstyle.
Janis, The Effortless Rapunzel
I asked Janis what she did to maintain her hair, hoping that she’d impart her beauty secrets. I still remember what she told me, “oh I don’t do anything at all, I hardly cut it and I don’t go for treatments. Sometimes before I leave the house I even use some cooking oil to keep it in place!” Sounds funny, except that it wasn’t a joke, she was very serious about it. I was so envious because no matter what I did I knew I could not transform into effortless Rapunzel because I was simply not her.
Well, this marked the start of my needy hair journey, which, if you are still listening now, I suppose you must be vaguely interested in. If you were looking for some high brow content, I’m sorry you must be disappointed. But you’ll get that in my other podcast: Dermatologist Talks – Science of Beauty. Remember, not all clever girls act clever all the time. But we must be as clever as we can.