beauty

RIHANNA RED

BEFORE

Before.jpg

Rihanna's Loud album was the inspiration behind my hair. On the cover, she had this exact same fiery red. She's one of my top fashion icons and I look to her for many hair and wardrobe ideas. I just love how unapologetic and unpredictable she is. Loud was released in 2010, so it took me almost a decade to do this. 

The Internet simply confused me, and I couldn’t find a general consensus on whether I had to my bleach my hair or not. Black hair is always tricky to work with, since extreme colors usually require bleach. Some said they had to start with bleach, while others said they achieved the color without it. Since I couldn’t find the answer, myself, I emailed Lan, who dyed my hair last year. She ironically did the same shade several months ago and bleach was in fact, the answer.

Last year, she dyed my entire hair blonde, but it had grown down to my ears. I’m so glad that I reached out to her because I would have grown it out, otherwise. Before moving onto another color, I wanted to appreciate the blonde for as long as possible. Now that I knew it would save so much time and money, I booked an appointment, immediately.

AFTER

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This session took a total of 5 hours, which is half the amount of time it took to go blonde. Lan began by bleaching my hair and leaving it in for 2.5 hours. She had me sit under a heating lamp to help speed up the process. The bottom portion of my hair was already blonde, so the color was really uneven after being bleached. The top half was yellow, while the bottom half was nearly platinum. I was worried that this would also make the red uneven, but I didn’t see any patchiness, at all.

After washing and blowdrying my hair, Lan applied the red dye, which made my scalp extremely tingly. It was really uncomfortable, at first, but the feeling disappeared after 15 minutes. She sat me under the lamp for another 30 minutes, and then shampooed and conditioned my hair, again. She left my roots unbleached and dyed it burgundy, so that it will look more natural once it grows. For the final touch, she sprayed my hair with Ionic Color Lock to help retain the color. 

The red turned out exactly as I envisioned, and I walked out of the salon feeling like a completely different person. It’s the boldest color I've ever done, so I definitely turn heads and stand out everywhere where I go. Not only is it a kickass color, but it’s also so forgiving and low-maintenance. Unlike shades of blonde and pastel, I only have to use red shampoo, once a week, to maintain its vibrancy. This is the best color experiment I’ve had yet, and I can’t wait to come back to see what else Lan can do.

+ Tube Top | Wild Fable (Poshmark)

+ Necklace | Etsy

+ Lipstick | MAC’s Ruby Woo

xx

Dana

JUNE HAUL

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1. CALVIN KLEIN BRA

Poshmark

$9

This basic bra was selling for $28, but I luckily found it, on Poshmark, for a third of that price. I never see this black on black version and was very excited when I saw it. I’m used to seeing the ones, with white elastic bands, circulating the internet. With my wardrobe, the more black, the better, so this was an easy selection. Although it’s a bralette, this won’t stop be from wearing it out, with a sheer top or set of overalls.

 

2. LAVENDER VIDA LOCA SOAP

LUSH

$7.95

I got this soap bar as a free sample with my purchase. For the past month, I have been taking a break from body wash, to use it. I have had LUSH samples, before, but not in this generous amount. The employees cut me a chunk of soap that has lasted me, weeks. I was never a big lavender lover, but this has a very settle and soothing scent. It may not have a creamy, hydrating formula, but it gets the job done. Most organic, hand-made products lack that nourishing lather that many of us are accustomed to. This is a likely compromise if you want something healthier for the environment and your skin.

 

3. REBELS REFINERY LIP BALM SET

Target

$9.99

Having dry lips is such an irritating feeling, so I can not leave the house without chapstick. I was running low on lip balm, and I wanted to try this skull-shaped one I saw on Facebook. Its packaging really reflects my style, since I am obsessed with skulls and the color, black. I got the three-pack, which comes with a mint, vanilla, and passion fruit flavor. They all smell good, but passion fruit was, by far, the most unique and refreshing scent. This set will probably last an entire year, and I can even use it as home decor, once the lip balm runs out.

 

4. AERIE ONE-PIECE SWIMSUIT

Poshmark

$18

I have been looking for a classic black bodysuit for so long. There are many different variations, so it was hard for me to find this exact silhouette, at an affordable price. This is actually a bathing suit, but I will mainly be wearing it as a bodysuit. It has a deep, low-cut back, along with plunged armholes that reveal a little side boob. This piece is very versatile, and I can’t wait to pair it with different styles, like maxi skirts or high-waisted denim shorts.

 

5. R+CO DRY SHAMPOO

Neiman Marcus

$17 (Travel Size)

Now that I'm blond, I wash my hair every two days, instead of every other day. The bleach has dried it up, which makes the shampooing and brushing process really tedious. The only time I ever tried dry shampoo was when I was in middle or high school. Not only did I use a cheap Walmart brand, but I did not apply it properly, either. This defeated its purpose and made my hair even greasier than before. I heard about R+Co’s dry shampoo from my favorite YouTuber, Jenn Im. She raved about how it absorbs oil really well and does not leave any white powdery casts. This review, along with the bottle’s beautiful packaging, convinced me to give dry shampoo a second chance. So far, I have used it, once, on day two hair. The formula removed any sign of oiliness and kept my scalp itch-free. Normally, my head gets really itchy, at this point, but the spray prevented any usual discomfort and irritation.

 

6. ENZO ANGIOLINI PLATFORMS

Goodwill

$8.99

I like Doc Marten’s infamous platforms, but certainly not its price point. I have always wanted shoes that resemble Creepers, so this cheap, toned down pair will do. They add extra height with zero ounces of pain and match nearly any outfit.

 

7. MARBLE-PRINT BEACH TOWEL

Society6

$29.24

I have had the same beach towel for six years, so it was time for an upgrade. Spending $30 on a towel may sound crazy, but I put that shit into good use. Summer calls for more poolsides, beaches, and traveling. I saw this while Googling “beach towel graphics,” for work, and was in awe. I love its color palette, marble textures, and geometric shapes. I have always had a radar on Society6, but was overwhelmed by its endless pages of graphics. The website has a plethora of unique prints by independent artists. Anyone can create an account and upload their work. Their designs can then be printed onto anything, from mugs and posters to bedding and cell phone covers. This is a great way to discover new art and to support talented people.

 

8. MOSSIMO LACE-UP FLATS

Goodwill

$8.99

I had a black pair of flats, just like these, but they were entirely ruined by sand and water. My boyfriend has this habit of taking me places at short notice. This leaves me poorly dressed for the occasion, and for this particular incident, he had us rock climbing along the beach. We live a bridge apart from each other, so if he doesn’t tell me what we’re doing over the weekend, I can’t just go home and grab different clothes. Suede lace-up flats are definitely not ideal for the beach, but at least I found a brown version, at Goodwill. This saved me from spending another $30 on the original GAP ones.

 

9. BUNNY EYESHADE

Miniso

gift

My boss went on a business trip to Shanghai and brought me back this soft, fuzzy eye mask. This has been on my shopping list, for a while, but all of the ones I liked were unavailable. I normally use these when I’m waken up by early lawnmowers or garbage trucks, throughout the week. Once I wake up during daylight, even at 6 or 7am, I have trouble falling back asleep. I’m super sensitive to light and sound, and the blinds in my bedroom are also broken. This mask has saved me a lot of sleep, and it will be very useful for traveling, as well.

 

10. THERMOFLASK WATER BOTTLE

Cosco

$24.99 (2-Pack)

For two years I had been using a large Voss bottle as my refillable water bottle. It worked, but the glass was very clunky and fragile. My brother bought us these 40 oz hydro flasks, since Cosco was selling two for $24.99. I drink a lot of water and would drink one to two refills of the Voss container, a day. My new flask is nearly double its size, so this encourages me to drink even more water than usual. I have never owned a stainless steal bottle, so it’s also been a luxury having long lasting cold water.

xx

Dana

 

FADED

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Going from black to blond hair is not easy. Believe me, I have had my share of fuck-ups. On both attempts of going lavender, my hair turned blue because it was not platinum enough. I love experimenting with color, but before going for round three of pastels, I wanted to perfect blond, first. It took me two sessions to achieve this shade, but there are still touch-ups that need to be done. This is my transition from brunette to blond, along with what hair routine works for me.

 

 

PHASE I

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Last summer, I dyed my hair dark brown and continued lightening it, using Sun-In hairspray. This is what it looked like hours before my first appointment.

 

 

PHASE II

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The first session took 5.5 hours, and three were dedicated to bleaching. After the foil started heating up, my stylist shampooed my hair with No Yellow Fanola. This turned the brassy color into a dirty, ash blond. She then applied toner to reduce any unevenness. There was a thirty minute wait, followed by a second set of shampoo and conditioning. She left my roots unbleached, since I wanted them to gradually blend to blond. This will save me from needing any touch ups, once they grow.

 

I did like the finished look, but it had zero resemblance to the picture I sent. Instead of an overall blond, I had a series of highlights. I wanted to trust my stylist’s judgement, and I knew that first sessions were never flawless. Even though I prefer having a grey tone over a golden one, I still expected the blond to be more prominent. The color was also uneven, but that’s typically the case in the beginning.

 

 

PHASE III

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Three months later, I finally booked my second appointment. I wanted to get this done much earlier, but my schedule didn’t line up with my stylist’s. She repeated the same exact steps, but this time it took 4.5 hours. I’m very satisfied with the result, but my roots still need to be toned. Right now, the top portion is brassy, but a few washes with purple shampoo should fix this. The most important thing is that my hair isn’t dead and still looks healthy.

 

 

GOING BLOND // DO'S AND DON'TS

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RESEARCH

Choosing the right stylist is critical, especially with Asian hair. I don’t recommend going to a white salon because the employees are probably not as familiar with dying black hair. Ours is much trickier to work with than blonds’ and brunettes’. I was referred to, Lan, by my friend, Angela. Her pricing is more affordable than other colorists’, who also specialize in Asian hair. In the Bay Area, there are many options in San Jose, but most of those stylists charge over $400 for one session. This is more than what I paid for both of mine, combined. I went to Precision 8, in San Anselmo, which is in Marin County. If you schedule an appointment, here, be sure to contact Lan, for coloring, since that’s her expertise.

 

PATIENCE

In the past, I found ways to squeeze a long and expensive process into one to two sessions. Consequently, I chose damaged hair over a damaged wallet. When going blond, you must accept the fact that it can’t happen in one day. For the first few weeks you will have to endure orange or yellow brassiness. Take this time to moisturize and condition your hair before bleaching it, again. The first time I bleached mine, I tried going lavender in one sitting. Not only was this unhealthy, but it was impossible, to begin with. After baking my hair for over ten hours, it turned extremely slimy, and I lost a lot of strands, that day. Those that remained, completely fried up. This is what happens if you rush the many stages, so don’t make the same mistake I did.

 

CONDITION

I’m sure there are fancy conditioners designed for dyed hair, but my priority is just to condition. I don’t think it matters which brand you buy, as long as you use it after every wash. When I have lightened hair, I apply a little more, and I let it stay longer than usual. The bleach will dry up your hair, so it’s essential to nourish it, as much as possible.

 

NO YELLOW FANOLA

In order to avoid brassy hair, I use No Yellow Fanola shampoo, just like my stylist did. Fanola is a pricey brand, but its hair products really work. As the name suggests, it prevents yellow tints by using cool tones to lift your color. The shampoo is a deep violet and is ideal for grey, blond, and purple hair. Similar to conditioner, the product should sit in your hair for five to ten minutes before being rinsed. I like to mix a drop of the purple shampoo with regular shampoo. The purple shampoo, alone, does not have that hydrating, foamy lather.

 

HAIR TREATMENT

I use Biosilk’s Silk Therapy to soften my hair, since bleach causes knots, split ends, and course hair. This treatment makes brushing a lot easier, since the oil helps loosen tangles. After showering, I rub a nickel-sized amount into my ends, and it leaves my hair with a really nice scent. This brand can be found nearly anywhere, including CVS, Ulta, Amazon, and Marshalls.

 

 

+ Hoop Earrings | Claire’s

+ Stud Earrings | Old Navy

+ Crop Top | Forever 21

+ Sweatpants | Missguided

 

 

xx

Dana

APRIL HAUL

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1. ABOUND MIDI SKIRT

Goodwill

$6.99

This skirt is made of stretchy spandex, with a layer of shimmery gold. The material is smooth and soothing against my skin, and the A-line silhouette is very flattering for my petit body. The high waist and midi-length makes my short self feel slightly thinner and taller. With its pleats and metallic sheen, this piece possesses a lot of elegance. 

 

2. SOPRANO SKIRT

Goodwill

$4.99

I own very few “going out” skirts, so this purchase will be put into good use. Mesh is one of my favorite materials, and I love the shape that it creates here. The dramatic pleats sets these bottoms apart from most ordinary black skirts.

 

3. BLOOD ORANGE CANDLE

Target

$9.99

Last winter, my boyfriend and I couch surfed at my friend’s apartment, in Los Angeles. In the morning, we woke up to the sweet and fruity smell of this blood orange candle. It’s always a challenge for me to find candles that I really like. This was immediately added to my shopping list, but my friend, Emily, ended up getting it for my birthday. I typically burn it, at night, when I’m doing a light workout or am winding down before bed.

 

4. LUSH SHORTS

Goodwill

$4.99

I always prefer clothes that look trendy, but are comfy and easy to wear. These floral shorts look best, high-waisted, with a crop top or a tucked-in shirt. They have an elastic waistband, so they slip on and off effortlessly. The stretchiness makes them very forgiving on food babies, and they're a refreshing break from tight denim shorts.

 

5. REFLECTIVE SUNGLASSES

lost and found

$0

My boyfriend, Adam, works at Century Theatres, and spotted these in the lost and found. He is in charge of this department, so he just gave the sunglasses to me. All of the ones I own happen to have mirror lenses. It’s not a choice I consciously make, but I do like how they completely shield my eyes. People say that eyes are the window to your soul, and as an introvert, I’d like to remain a mystery to most. 

 

6. SELFIE LESLIE MAXI DRESS

Goodwill

$6.99

Florals and pastels are heavily associated with weddings, so this dress is fit for the occasion. What’s special about its peony print is the watercolor-like design. This, along with the cut of the gown, adds a lot of romantic elements. It may reveal a little bit of skin, but in a very tasteful way. The high slit exposes one leg, while the neckline bares the shoulders. This thrift find came at the right moment, since I just received a wedding invitation, this week.

 

7. FRANCESCA'S MAXI DRESS

Goodwill

$6.99

I don’t normally do bold colors, but red has always been an exception. It’s a very sexy and striking color, even in this red-orange hue. This is an airy and lightweight dress that’s perfect for summer. Its back is entirely exposed, aside from a pair of criss-cross straps. A black leather jacket would accentuate the embroidery and really tie the look together.

 

8. CLEMENTINE KIDS SWADDLE

Two Birdees

$9

I already bought a Clementine Kids swaddle, last month, but I couldn't resist these colors. This is the company’s signature design, and it tends to sell out quickly. The print is very quirky, and I like how the mint and moss leaves compliment the bright orange. I thought this would look great as a beach or picnic blanket, so I’m looking forward to using this in the summer.

 

9. DEAD SEA MUD MASK

Amazon

$13.95

To remove impurities and keep my skin feeling soft, I use mud masks, once a week. All the masks I’ve used until now, had a 30-minute wait before rinsing. This one has a very creamy formula, and only takes a 10-minute wait and a light lather to wash off. Its other perks, include reducing pores and removing excess oil. The reason why I choose mud masks over sheet masks is because it lasts for months and produces less trash. In the long run, this will benefit both my wallet and the environment.

 

10. STILA MOLTEN MIDNIGHT EYESHADOW

Sephora

$24

I usually wear eyeshadow only for special events, like formals and weddings. After seeing YouTuber, Sophia Chang, demonstrate this product, I really wanted to try it. This liquid eyeshadow has a cotton swab applicator, just like lipgloss. I adore its sleek packaging, and unlike most glittery make up, these sparkles have minimal fallout. Emily knew that I wanted this, so it was part two of her birthday present, for me!

 

11. VSS DISPOSABLE WEED PEN

lost and found

$0

This is another lost and found article that I inevitably took. Adam cleaned it with alcohol wipes, so I won’t be catching any deadly diseases. Weed tends to make me drowsy, so I thought that getting a pen would help me fall asleep. I have to get up at 8am on weekdays, but my inner night owl has me tossing around. Adam already owns two pens, and this one basically has my name engraved on it. For one, it's made in my favorite color, and two, it says “BB” on the bottom. This actually stands for BBTank, but it’s also what Adam likes to call me. 

 

12. DOLLS KILL OVERALL DRESS

Goodwill

$6.99

The holographic leather is what caught my eye, but once I saw the Dolls Kill hang tag, I was sold. This is an overall dress with harness-like straps and metal hardware. It’s a bold statement piece that I would wear to a club, concert, or music festival. I have never seen anything like it, and I'm just waiting for any excuse to wear it.

 

13. ON THE BYAS JERSEY

Goodwill

$4.99

This jersey is from a men’s line that's sold at PacSun. It’s a size small, but fits like an oversized dress, on me. All of the cool tones work beautifully together, and I was very impressed with the quality. PacSun does not strike me as a premium store, so I did not expect to see this much attention to detail. Everything, down to the labels, was executed flawlessly. You know it’s a high quality garment, when even the labels look and feel luxurious.

 

14. LAUNDRY BAG

H&M

$17.99 

Ever since I moved in with my brother, I have been extremely spoiled. I was always babied growing up, and did not have to worry about cooking or cleaning, until I went to college. As soon as I moved back home, the same cycle persisted. My brother kept cooking dinner, cleaning the house, and even doing my laundry. We shared the same laundry basket, but have very different routines. In college, I would do my laundry every other week. This was the amount of time it took for my basket to fill up or for me to run out of underwear. My brother is the complete opposite, and often does laundry twice a week. I figured that buying my own laundry bag would force me to do laundry, and so far, it's been a success.

 

15. MISSGUIDED FISHNET BIKINI

Poshmark

$28

A fellow Drexel alum posted this on her blog, which lead me to an impulsive shopping moment. The suit was sold out on Missguided, so my last resort was Poshmark. The chances of finding the same suit in my size are slim, but luck was on my side. Everything was brand new, but the seller had sold the fishnet briefs, separately. All I got was the fishnet bikini top and thong bottoms. After days of searching the internet, I finally found an exact version, on Shein, to complete my set. 

 

 

xx

Dana

I HAVE A PROBLEM

Those who know me know that I’m a devoted MAC customer when it comes to lipstick. I love their bold colors, black packaging and affordable prices. Over the past few years I have collected 7 tubes of lipstick (and counting). I tend to gravitate towards their dark matte colors. Here’s a look of my MAC lipstick collection and how each of them look on.

As you can tell from the stubby tube, this was the first MAC lipstick I’ve ever purchased. I actually wore it so much that the lipstick broke in half. It’s a maroon color, but with a hint of pink. 

This is my new favorite color, and it basically became my everyday lipstick. It’s a warm brown that’s perfect for fall, but I’ve been wearing it all winter. 

The tube looks like a plum color, but against my skin tone it looks magenta. I’m not usually a fan of pink lipstick, so this is the only pink color I own.  

So this purchase was a mistake, and I thought I was ordering MAC and Lorde's collaboration lipstick. Little did I know that Pure Heroine was the actual name of Lorde's lipstick and that it was a limited edition. In contrast to Pure Heroine's dark plum, Heroine is a candy purple.

This is a deep burgundy that’s perfect for the holidays. It’s a romantic and vampy color that's my substitute for a traditional red. 

Before purchasing black lipstick, I wanted to transition to it by trying a shade that was almost as dark. At first glance it looks black, but it's actually an ultra deep violet. 

I’ve been waiting for MAC to come out with another black lipstick for years. Every time I try to purchase it, it sells out, but this year I finally got it. What I love about this black is that it has a hint of gold speckles in it. 

 

Of course, my MAC collection doesn’t end there. Now I’m on the lookout for a bright red and nude lipstick. Please feel free to comment below with your MAC favorites! I'm always open to trying new colors.

 

Photography | Dana Nguyen + Anand Patel

 

xx 

Dana

SILVER LINING

Before | After

Last week I stumbled across i-D magazine’s video on the tattoo artist, Grace Neutral. Neutral has a series of body modifications, including purple eyes, elf ears and a forked tongue. Although I would never go as far as getting plastic surgery or being decked out in tattoos from head-to-toe, Neutral made a point that really resonated with me:

“Just imagine, if everyone was themselves, how different everyone would be, and how refreshing it would be to walk out the door everyday, and the people that you would meet, no one would be scared…When you’re 100% yourself, I think you’re as beautiful as you can be.” 

After watching this video, I immediately got a “fuck the world” mentality. I knew that I had to start checking off everything I’ve been putting off just because of what other people would think. One of those things was this haircut. I’ve been waiting to get the Skrillex cut for years, but always had second-guesses on whether the style would compliment my face. 

My orange hair has also been bothering me, so I thought this was a great opportunity to dye it a pastel color. Silver was on my list of colors to try, since I love the idea of having a gradient from black to grey.

I ended up getting my hair done in Chinatown, since the prices are so much cheaper there. I went to Kevin’s Beauty Salon, which my boyfriend recommended. 6 cups of bleach and 4.5 hours later, my hair was finally done. Even though the result clearly wasn’t perfect, this was the happiest I’ve ever been with a new color. My hair isn’t fried or falling out, and aside from the blond lining, the rest of the color is really even. I couldn't have thought of a better way to start off Chinese New Year!

 

+ Lipstick | MAC's Black Night

+ Necklace | Forever 21

+ Threader Earrings | Forever 21

+ Hoop Earrings | Asian jewelry shop

+ Stud Earrings | Brandy Melville

 

Photography | Anand Patel

 

xx

Dana