The Blonde Dilemma: Tresses in China

Upon eating some fantastic salty fish fried rice (咸鱼鸡粒炒饭 Pinyin: xian2 yu2 ji1 li4 chao3 fan4) from Tea Garden in Seattle (new management and the food is fantastic), I had a revelation while conversing with my mom. I've had nice, shiny blonde highlights (Highlights: 挑染 Pinyin: tiao1 ran3) since I was 13-years-old (roughly the same age I fell in love with platform heels and makeup).

Although there was a period of time where I experimented with light brown highlights, my hair has stayed roughly the same color for quite some time (plus or minus a few varying shades).

Exhibit A:

With my upcoming trip to China, this level of blonde is practically unheard of, especially since the majority of women in China stick to hair that's within a shade of black. There are, however, exceptions to the rule.

"Light" brown in China is something I consider as dark brown.

Occasionally, Japanese culture will also wedge its way into Chinese hair trends. Picture a slightly tamer Ayumi Hamasaki and you'll more often than not run into a hair style like this:

If you haven't noticed either, bangs are in.

Take a look at this Baidu album to see more hair trends in China.

As I prepare to leave this Saturday, I'm noticing that my roots are ever more noticeable. Time to call the hair dresser right?

But before I even consider dialing her number, I have a problem. I need to decide on a color and cut that won't alienate me from my three-week long trip without also sacrificing my love affair with blondeness.

So far, after looking through fifteen-something Baidu albums, I've decided on a honey blonde look like this:

So it's definitely not as blonde as what Ayumi Hamasaki has done before, but it's definitely a comprise so that my mom and aunties can haggle vendors without them knowing we're from the States.

Another makeup set back due to differing cultures? Subtlety is everything in China. No more crazy cat-winged eyeliner or extreme blush.

Along with more beauty no-nos, extreme lip color (e.g. coral, red) is something to avoid. So what is considered OK? Natural looking foundation, subtle tight-lined eyeliner, faux lashes and light blush.

With all that said and done, it's time to start packing. I'll post pictures of the pre-trip carnage later on.