Gia Kuan has a knack for reinvention. The Taiwan-born PR representative grew up in the Dominican Republic, New Zealand, and Australia before moving to Manhattan’s Chinatown, where she now lives. “I think I just always like a change,” she says. It’s an ethos that runs from her relocation habits to her fearless career shifts—encompassing projects in the beauty, fashion, and art worlds—and, perhaps most recognizably, her hair. “I’ve been blonde, purple, green, blue, [and] pink,” she explains of her chameleonic dye jobs, which, chronicled on her cult Instagram feed, give it the appearance of a sun-bleached rainbow.
But it wasn’t until a happy accident three years ago that Pandora’s box really opened for the 29-year-old. At the recommendation of a friend, she tried a new hairstylist in New York in hopes of taking her hair to a subtle brunette. After the toner was washed out, she met her reflection only to discover she had been taken well past light brown into pale blonde. “It wasn’t what I was expecting,” she admits. “But I was like, ‘You know what? I really like it!’” And her stint as a towhead proved that a near-white base also provided even more freedom for toying with the color spectrum.
Now, when considering shelves of Manic Panic or sitting down with her newly trusted stylist every four months, Kuan’s only criteria for her wavy, shoulder-grazing bob is that each new hue be soft. “I like a romantic color palette,” she says of her lineup of powdery blues and baby pinks. “I like it when [the dye] is a little too washed out.”
Aside from their aesthetic appeal, the faded shades are also easier to maintain. Kuan has found that just about any shampoo will keep the tone intact, as long as she follows it by a purple conditioner or a hair mask, which she applies every other day to seal in extra moisture. She staves off damage with her daily devotion to almond, avocado, and argan oils after the shower. And, while she plans to eventually return to her obsidian roots, she’s not finished experimenting yet. “I need to go through a couple more colors,” she says. After all, when it comes to reinvention, there’s no time like the present.
“Dove Hair research found that 8 in 10 women feel pressure to wear their hair a certain way. In order to break down the beauty standards that prevent women from loving their hair, and celebrate all hair types, Vogue and Dove have teamed up with real women—not celebrities—to tell their inspiring hair stories. Discover more about Dove’s mission on Pinterest.”
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