My hair is not rebonded

The following post first appeared on on October 13, 2004.

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I wish hair rebonding had never been invented.

Alright, so it’s unfair to people who want straight hair but didn’t get born with it. But rebonding spoils your hair, ok? Like drugs kill people, it’s bad, so people shouldn’t do it.

I know hair rebonding is not fatal like coke snorting, but it is a particular annoyance to me because, since rebonding came into fashion, everyone automatically assumes that anyone with straight hair has had it rebonded.

What, can’t people be born with straight hair these days?

I am annoyed.

I was at MediaCorp for the Living With Lydia shoot yesterday and had just had my hair and makeup done.

I’m supposed to play a beauty pageant contestant, right, so I’m supposed to have one of those outlandish beauty pageant contestant hairstyles. Like with big buns and lots of hairspray and wavy wisps falling over the sides and everywhere.

But the lazy hairstylist just steamed my hair a bit so I don’t have ends that stick out (like you get after you wake up in the morning). And my hair ended up looking exactly the same as my hair always does.

(Just pretend the headwear isn’t there. The hairstylist didn’t know I had to wear this thing since I wore it only after leaving the makeup unit.)

For comparison, the other girls’ hair looked like this.

They’ll probably murder me if they see this posted here but this is the only full group photo I have. I took it because I thought it was a funny sight to have a bunch of “beauty queens” eating dinner out of cheap styrofoam boxes at a dusty alley.

So, back to the original topic.

After I did my hair and makeup, looking like the above photo sans the headwear, I met up with the styling coordinator and we had this conversation.

Her: Is your hair done already?

Me: Yes

Her: Why is it… just like that?

Me: I don’t know. The hairstylist said that’s all he’s doing for me.

Her: Strange. We left specific instructions for him to give you all glamorous hairstyles.

Me: Yeah, I know.

Her: Oh, maybe he didn’t want to spoil your rebonded hair.


Me: My hair is not rebonded.

Her: Oh, really? I always thought it was rebonded cos it’s so straight!

Me: Yeah, I know, everyone says that but it’s not rebonded. =(

Her: Wow, you’re so lucky.


This isn’t the first time I’ve had a conversation like that. Everyone likes to ask me about my “rebonded hair”.

And when I tell them it’s not rebonded, they either think I’m a liar or they envy me. Both of which reactions I do not want!!

So I try to save the situation by saying that I hate my hair because it’s always limp and flat and makes me look old, plus it’s impossible to style because it’s so fine and slippery it resists styling gunk, and fancy hairstyles on me fall apart at a rate seven times faster than on the average girl.

THEN, they’ll either think I’m ungrateful towards my wonderful straight-hair genes or I’m trying to be modest. Both of which I’m not!!

I really do hate my hair. So much so that when I was at Uni, I went to get it “damaged” by going for a full-head, permanent dye.

After the dye job, my hair was rough and tangled easily and had more split ends. But I liked it because it wasn’t limp and my fringe could stay up better so it didn’t restrict my vision too much.

But I didn’t keep up with it because dye hurts my scalp and I can’t imagine myself going to the salon to punish my scalp every two months to touch up the roots.

So, right now, I have again my original head of horrid, limp, boring, un-stylable hair, which apparently people envy. But they don’t know the trouble it causes me.

Besides, they only like the hair in itself. They don’t consider how it makes me look.

I think hairstylists hate me.

When I was involved in TNBT, we all had to go for a hair makeover, and EVERY SINGLE ONE of the contestants had dye or highlight jobs EXCEPT ME.

Where is the justice in that??

The hairstylist said she didn’t want to spoil my hair so she’s not dyeing it.

Another time, we had a photoshoot for The New Paper and everyone had fancy hairdos EXCEPT ME. The stylist (a different one) did exactly the same thing to my hair as the Living With Lydia stylist did.

It’s a conspiracy!!!

They all hate me.

But that’s a digression. I need to do SOMETHING to my hair but I don’t know what.

I hate it that people think I get my hair rebonded because I’m vain, which, of course, I am, but I don’t like to be credited for more vanity than I possess, know what I mean?

Some people might say I’m already so vain no one could possibly think me more vain that I really am, but they are wrong. Or liars. All of them.

In fact, I am so NOT vain that, once, I went around Uni for a day of lectures looking like this:

I’m sure you can figure out which one is me.

I mentioned this event briefly in one of my comment boxes. We were the openers for the Melbourne University Drama Festival Parade, which is supposed to kick off three weeks of drama events at the Uni.

We were supposed to be like mud people or something because the festival is called MUDFest for short. And we walked around banging on pots and pans. Generally, our job was to look crazy and make a din. And since the parade was in the morning, I attended lectures and tutorials in this get-up all day after that.

But again I digress. So I was saying I hate that people keep assuming I have rebonded hair just because rebonded hair is the rage.

Let me present to you a parallel case for comparison.

Let’s say there’s this woman born with huge boobs.

Now, because boob jobs are so common these days, people she meets start assuming that she’s had a boob job. Wouldn’t she be frustrated to have all these people come up to talk to her about her “boob job”?

To complicate things a bit, wouldn’t it totally piss her off if she, in fact, hated her boobs because she thought they were too big and cumbersome, or maybe she’s into athletics and the boobs get in the way?

So, I was in this state of mind this morning, thinking that hair rebonding is a curse. Coincidentally, I also needed to go to the store to buy some shampoo.

I’m at the store and picking out my usual shampoo. I’m about to go pay when this lady pops out of nowhere and tries to sell me a new shampoo.

She’s holding out this bottle and waxing lyrical over its incredible hair enhancing qualities. On the bottle, these words in big, bold letters jump out at me:



On the side are smaller words that say something like “For chemically treated or damaged hair”.

I cut her off mid-sentence and say, quite politely, with a friendly smile, “My hair is not rebonded.”

And she says, “Oh, it’s not only for rebonded hair. You can use it on hair that’s been dyed or dry or treated with chemicals.”

And I say, “I don’t do anything to my hair.”

“Oh,” she says, looking a little worried, and then she scurries over to her corner where her products are displayed and plucks out another bottle.

“Here!” she says triumphantly, “We have a version for normal hair, too!”

Now, I wasn’t offended or anything — she’s just doing her job — and I kind of almost wanted to buy it.

But for two details.

One, the shampoo doesn’t come with a matching conditioner (the lady says this shampoo is so good it doesn’t need conditioner). But I’m wary of “too-good-to-be-true” things until it’s been proven and recommended by many people.

Two, it is made by Follow Me and I have some problems with Follow Me. I think their commercials are stupid (those that I saw long ago, anyway, before I gave up watching TV), and I think that Follow Me is an absolutely ridiculous name for a brand.

But I might try it out one day, anyway, just for kicks, because I like trying out new things. But now, I just don’t feel too adventurous because I’m on a tight budget.

Having said all that, I have to admit that part of me is secretly pleased that I was born with something that girls all over the world are paying good money to get.

The only trouble is that I don’t think it looks good on me and I don’t want to have people mistakenly think that I’m paying all this money to get something that doesn’t look good on me. That would make me feel so misunderstood.

I was discussing this with a friend earlier and I said, “My hair isn’t even THAT straight! The back curls out a bit because of the layering. How does it look rebonded??”

And he said, “That’s true. Your hair looks like it was rebonded six months ago and now it has grown out and you’re too lazy to maintain it.”

Like, how about smearing salt onto my wounds and then setting an army of maggots on them!

Perhaps I shall, from now on, roll my hair up in a bun and wear it in a baseball cap. That should save me all the trouble!

Why I have Cleopatra hair

I will tell you why.

But, first, allow me to say a few words in my defence.

  1. Stop hating my Cleopatra/Emily the Strange/China doll hairstyle. I can’t help my hair being this way.
  2. Stop envying my naturally straight, silky, never-rebonded hair. Yes, it sounds like a shampoo ad dream but it’s really nothing but trouble.

Let me illustrate.

I was going for an audition the other day. It was for a young mother role, so I decided to gel my hair back in order to look older.

First, I tied it back in a low ponytail. Then, I brushed my Cleopatra fringe to the side with the help of hair wax. Once I’ve got it into satisfactory shape, I hairsprayed liberally all over to set it in place.

I was pleased that I was able to recreate my Kao Magiclean look.

All set, I left for my audition.

Walked to the MRT station and took the MRT to Chinatown where my audition was held.

When I reached Chinatown MRT station, I went to the ladies to freshen up and I saw that my hair had become thus:

Went for the audition, nevertheless.

Did the audition and went in search of another toilet to recover from post-audition nerves.

Alas, I saw that I was looking more and more dishevelled. Where did all the hair wax and hairspray go?

By now frustrated by my rubbish hair and also by the audition (I either get post-audition jitters or post-audition blues. This time, it was post-audition blues), I went straight home.

Another trip on the MRT and a short walk home.

By the time I reached home, my hair had gone back to almost square one.


Compare again the first and last pictures. And this is like less than two hours apart. And this is also with tons of extra strength hair wax and hairspray to supposedly hold it in place.

In the past when I needed to keep my hair up, I would bring my hair wax and hairspray out with me. When that happens, you’ll see me going to the ladies every half an hour to spray my hair back to where I want it to be, because no matter how many times I spray, it just keeps falling down again.

By the end of the day, I am a walking can of hairspray and I still look like a China doll.

It was similarly frustrating when I had a long fringe.

It was forever covering my face, which was very, very annoying. And I realised one day that I had developed a very ugly head swing to shake the hair off my face.

I saw myself do it on TV too many times to count.

Cameramen hated my long fringe because they could never see my face when shooting profile angles. And they were always asking me to stick all the hair behind my ears, which just makes my whole hair look flat.

Yes, my long fringe looks really nice on photos. But those are still photos and my hair can be manipulated for split seconds, long enough to allow a nice picture to be taken.

But in real life and on TV, the long fringe is just too much trouble.

I have tried dyeing my entire head of hair. I thought if I damaged my hair, it wouldn’t fall so straight anymore.

Didn’t work. My hair got damaged but it was still as straight as ever.

I have tried perming it but the fringe still falls into the front of my face.

So, to beat all the frustration, I cut my fringe short.

Now, I can concentrate on acting without having to worry about my ugly head swing or stress about my hair covering my face.

In fact, I think my acting has improved since I cut my hair.

Unfortunately, I can’t do anything about the Cleopatra look. I have tried to wear it to the side as you can see, but it just keeps wanting to be straight.

What can I do?

Even if I look uglier with this hairstyle, I’m keeping it because it’s less frustrating and it makes me a better actress.