Home   |  Issues  |  The Daily Star Home | Volume 1, Issue 37, Tuesday February 17, 2004






Style file

An eye for style

Ever notice how hair always manages to play that ultra important part in your life? No matter how well you are dressed, or how perfect your makeup is, if your hair isn't done up to your liking, there is always a constant nagging feeling of something 'missing'. Each season has some new styles, often with the common style of meticulously arranging hair for the prim and 'proper' look. Apart from taking hours to get everything perfect, you also have to worry about escaping strands that might look untidy. Goodness, when would you possibly get time to enjoy? Well, it looks like the perfect solution to your problems is here.

A new variation of how to wear your hair up makes an appearance each season. This time around, it's all about the "undo" -- an up do that's purposely loose and seemingly on the verge of tumbling down. To get the current look of stylish disarray, it's as easy as randomly pinning up sections of hair with bobby pins, then letting some loose for that chic, tousled look. Instead of pinning hair up, short hair would also look great in tresses or waves (best for curly and hair cut in layers, respectively).

Curling irons would be ideal for setting the style, and generous amounts of hairspray will help keep hair from getting too out of hand. An ideal style for parties, where you can actually stop worrying and start having some fun! For a more casual look, what could be more perfect than the ponytail? The ponytail gets an unstructured update this year. Decidedly not prim or perky, the Spring 2004 ponytail is tied low and loose -- with plenty of free-flowing tendrils and bushy tails to complete the undone feel. To get the low-down pony, first create volume and texture in hair by setting hair in curls, using a curling iron.

Alternatively, you can also blow dry your hair, sectioning strands, and twisting while drying. Next, gather hair loosely into a ponytail low at the nape of the neck. To complete the look, free some pieces of hair from the ponytail so they frame the face. Guaranteed to look great with any outfit! No matter how hairstyles tend to vary and change, let's not forget the simple fact that great hair adds great style, not to mention elegance. If you have perfect, straight, shiny hair, why go through all the hassles of various hairstyles? No matter how varied styles tend to be each season, straight hair sometimes remains the only way to go, for some women. For those who want to stick to straight, I suggest updating the look with an of-the-moment cut longer bangs with an angle are new this season, as are layers throughout the hair. With such a glamorous look, you'd definitely end up being the 'belle of the ball'.

By Jennifer Ashraf


Tips for Asian hair

1 Take time washing your hair. Use only a dessert spoonful of shampoo and massage your scalp to improve circulation and stimulate growth. Rinse extremely well, as traces left behind will reduce shine.
2. Always use conditioner. When applying, concentrate on the lengths and ends of hair rather than the scalp to avoid greasiness at the roots. If the hair has been chemically treated, or is prone to dryness, deep condition once a week.
3. Use cold water for the final rinse, as this will close the cuticles, leaving them lying flat to make the hair look shinier and protect it from damage.
Styling products can leave a residue on hair over time, so when necessary, use a clarifying shampoo to remove any build-up.
4. An effective trick is to use a temporary colour. Choose one that is the same colour as your hair and there will be no noticeable colour change, but it will give the hair extra shine and look of healthy strength.
5. Do not wash and blow dry too often, as it can strip hair of natural oils. Long hair is especially prone to becoming dry and brittle. Whenever possible, allow hair to dry naturally, and use extra serum or smoothing cream on ends of long hair.
6. Invest in good quality styling tools to minimise damage and achieve a professional look. Follow the techniques used by your stylist.
7. Less is more when it comes to styling. Too many styling products will weigh hair down, leaving it dull, lifeless and difficult to style.
8. Need to rejuvenate hair, but short on time? Spritz hair with water and blow-dry quickly.
9. A great cut can give the flattest hair loads of volume. For long hair, layering is ideal for more volume.
10 For extra lift, apply a volumising product before styling hair. Apply it only to the roots.
11 For maximum volume when styling, blow-dry the roots first using a large round brush, or tip your head upside down concentrating the hot air at the roots.
12 For a long lasting perfectly smooth finish, apply smoothing cream to towel-dried hair, concentrating on lengths and ends. Blow dry hair in sections with a barrel or paddle brush, directing the heat downward from the roots to the ends. Keep the hairdryer nozzle moving to avoid overheating.
What do you take into account before styling someone's hair?
The whole aim is to compliment the face and lifestyle of the person. That, for me is the most crucial point. But it I'm doing, say, magazine work, I look at it differently. There is a lot of exaggeration in form and style, so that a stronger message gets across. When it comes to magazines, the eye is very spoiled, especially of beauty editors.
How should one choose a stylist?
As a consumer you have to know what you don't want. If you know what you want, you are taking the creativity out of the stylist. Get the best stylist you can afford and let them think for you.

LS Desk




Suicidal matrimonial

"So the first time you had physical interaction with him was the night of your wedding?" once again the imbecilic, personal question was asked by a co-worker while I was explaining the semi-arranged nature of my marriage.

It always brings such awe into an outsider's dark or fair face when I tell them how I met my husband, and how we evolved into a couple. How the parents got involved even before the first stage of dating and how dates were fixed and jewellery was bought before we celebrated our first Valentines Day or birthdays together before the marriage happened. I sometimes use my arranged-marriage story when a conversation with a new acquaintance turns boring, if someone's ignorance of another culture or their sense of superiority brings entertainment to my mundane being, why should I not share such details of my life?

It's true, I had a semi-arranged marriage. It's true I left it up to chance, and I know many Bengali women and men have also taken this similar path, as they realised that sometimes it's okay when you meet someone with mutual liking and leave the background checks and compatibility of families to your parents. I am not saying there is a definite compatibility of background in all arranged marriages; in fact it's rarely true, but there is a satisfactory bond in most cases.

"But you are an educated, independent woman. What made you do such a suicidal thing?" they ask me often. I never have an answer for them. I usually end up pondering, is it so wrong of me to be so adventurous? Why didn't anyone stop Darva Conger from getting her 15 minutes of fame when she competed against fifty other women to marry Rick Rockwell for the greed of marrying a millionaire in the television show "Who wants to Marry a Millionaire"? Or when women in TV shows like "The Bachelor" throw themselves into the arms of some "eligible" hunk? The man I married isn't a millionaire and neither does he fall in the category of a hunk. Is that why I am 'suicidal' and Darva Conger is a celebrity?

I agree that Russian mail-order-brides are not as popular as they were in the 90's, but the men who did marry the Russian women they ordered by mail, were they ever asked if they were suicidal for their desperate actions?

I am not sure about the meaning of acting or living with suicidal tendencies. The closest I have seen to that existed among few single-white-females in their 30's, paying high prices for hair products and engaging in short-term relationships in search of the blue-eyed blonde investment banker with a big house in the suburb and a boat by the sea. To me, being married to a storybook image and knowing it is unachievable is way more suicidal than being dull and Bengali.

"And what about divorce? That's obviously not possible. Girl you are trapped for life." They often tell me, reassuring my arranged prison-like marital status. I want to remind them that Darva Conger got a divorce a few days after her glamorous arranged marriage to the millionaire. Then I remember again that I am the suicidal one and therefore into self-torture. Why would I want out of something even when it turns miserable? So I remain silent.

Us Bengalis are known for being a repressed society. So we jump quickly at the first hint of excitement, we settle easy in the sake of peace and love. We are sexually and romantically repressed. Our repression drives us to arrange marriages, to blush when the word "Sex" is mentioned or to fall in love according to the Hindi movie formula. We are way behind when it comes to being open and accepting about sexual and physical liberation. Then I wonder why such an open and unconstrained society like the Americans have gone mad over Janet Jackson's exposed breast at the Super Bowl.

I do not stand up for arranged marriages. I do not stand up for our repressed Bengali society. However, I do stand up against our hypocrisy. Our contradictions of being dependent and remaining independent. I stand up for our undefined wants and distinctiveness as Bengalis. I stand up for being naïve and still believing in love and fate.

It does get hard though, answering questions about my 'suicidal' conjugal tendencies to the people full of choices, who only choose to identify but never to relate.

By Iffat Newaz



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