Coif Force

Jules Chan wants to eliminate your bad hair days.

December 9, 2010

Photos by Patrick Gonzales Rafanan

Chances are, you’re at odds with your hair: The two common types of Asian hair are thick and coarse or fine and slippery. Both are difficult to cut and style, one being unruly and full of life and the other limp and lacking body. You’ve also probably had enough of hairstylists taking on your mane without understanding it enough to give you a great crop and style.

Step into San Francisco’s Dekko Salon for a cut by Jules Chan, an English expatriate of Chinese descent who established herself in the city after obtaining an O-1 visa for an Alien of Extraordinary Ability, for which one unusual requirement is to show documentation of winning the likes of a Nobel or Pulitzer prize. A genius visa for a hairdresser? Chan, co-owner of Dekko, is that good, and she’s garnered a large clientele of Asian Americans who rejoice in finally finding someone who not only understands their hair, but also combines boundless creativity with thoughtful consideration of one’s personal style.

Chan, who has taught and styled hair all over the world for nearly 30 years, isn’t just settling with giving Northern Californians of all ethnicities amazing cuts. She’s always envisioned a line of products for Asian locks — something that didn’t exist until she created her own Juju Chan line that boasts the slogan “A Product Line Designed with Asian Hair in Mind.”

“People with other hair types can also use it,” she says. “This just means that each product will be created to work best for Asian hair with certain textures. The styling cream will be thicker and stronger to give straight thick hair some hold and texture, but the volumizer will be light enough to give hold and volume to thin Asian hair.”

While the line has yet to be fully released, the first product out, the Texture Powder Styler, has already received rave reviews on beauty and fashion blogs. This dry shampoo absorbs excess oils, but unlike baby powder (which many women have used to combat oily hair) adds volume and texture. It’s a great midday pick-me-up for a hairstyle that’s gone through the hustle and bustle of a busy day. The powder can also be key for mornings when you’ve slept past your alarm and don’t have time to shower and fully style your tresses: Just give them a quick tousle with the powder, and you’ll look fresh.

Next is a styling cream that gives messy body and texture, then a smoothing cream for calming down thick, wiry hair after blow-drying. Down the road, there will be volumizers, hairsprays, curl enhancers, pastes, styling waxes and straightening lotions, and Chan hopes to eventually add men’s styling and natural products.

If you can’t get a coveted hair appointment with Chan, her blog serves as a solid substitute, chock-full of tips for Asian cuts, as well as a chronicle of funky and interesting styles that the Englishwoman comes across during her travels back to the UK and other places around the world. Getting yourself and your roots pumped up is now just a click away.   

Margot Seeto, Hyphen’s Music Editor has fine and slippery hair.

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