Last Sunday at brunch an Asian woman with platinum blonde hair walked past me and stopped me dead in my tracks. I quickly turned to my left and my right to see if anyone else had been struck by her idiosyncrasy. Luckily, two of my friends had just the same reaction I did (I guess that’s why we’re friends) “Oh my god, did you see her?”

Unfortunately that was the first and last time I saw her, she lives as a fragment of a memory in my mind, and this blog post is my attempt to get her out of my head and onto a screen so I can see, and possibly, show my hairdresser.

It all started last year when I briefly wanted lilac hair, which morphed into wanting silver hair, and now this iteration of platinum blonde/pink/lilac/silver/white. You may be wondering what Asians with blonde hair and pastel hair colors have in common, but to me it’s obvious: they’re not found in nature. I know the pressure of trying to meet Western beauty standards is a loaded topic, believe me, I work for a company whose entire mission is to combat its harmful effects, but let me just clarify that I’m not talking about natural, golden, human blonde. I’m referring to white/lavender hair that no human is born with. I’m infatuated by the alien beauty that gives this look its edge. Kind of like when Tyra bleaches the girls’ eyebrows in the makeover episode of Top Model. It looks weird at first and most people hate it, but some find beauty in its oddity – and wouldn’t you agree that is precisely the definition of edgy?

BUT, and it’s a big but, the thing about platinum blondes is that they’re kind of like tattoos… 90% of the time they don’t look good. That may sound harsh, but it’s true. It’s such a big risk (though not quite as big as a forever-tattoo). My hair will definitely get damaged, my black roots will inevitably grow in faster than I anticipated, and it is very difficult to achieve the silvery platinum color that I’m going for. In my head I see the Asian woman from brunch, but realistically I can expect brassy, yellow hair with black roots and split ends. Plus, I’m only half Asian and have an olive complexion, so it might not have the desired alien effect I’m going for.

Here are the women I’ve been Instastalking while I make my final decision (of these six women, Eugenie of Feral Creature is the closest to the purpleish silver color I’m going for).

1 Lulu Chang // 2 Eugenie Grey // 3 Soo Joo Park // 4 Yana Shmaylova // 5 Vanessa Hong // 6 Yuuki Yamamoto



Have you ever gone blonde? If so, how damaged was your hair? And ultimately, was it worth it?



Cristina V. Cleveland

Cristina V. Cleveland is a senior beauty editor based in Austin, TX. She has been exploring personal style and decor on Fuji Files since 2009. Her work as a writer and editor has appeared in publications like Refinery29, Birchbox, TradHome Magazine, To&From Magazine, Coco+Kelley, CamilleStyles and ads in Glamour, InStyle and Lucky.

SHOWHIDE Comments (10)
    1. Aw thanks Jessie! I don’t blame you, I haven’t been updating consistently but definitely working on that in the New Year! Sanity Notebook’s looking really good 🙂 And yes totally agree with the natural eyebrows, if I go ahead with it I wanna try out the dark brows blonde hair look. xx C

  1. I’m asian and am pretty blonde! I wanted to go platinum blonde but my colorist (who I trust with my life) recommended not to. However, I really love the blonde look that I have– it actually looks kind of “natural”. Which sounds super weird but it does (one person actually asked me if that was my natural hair color lol!). It isn’t as damaging as bleaching your whole head is and I would highly recommend it. Also, liked how you addressed the whole loaded topic of trying to conform to Western beauty standards, it’s something I wonder about myself when I get my hair dyed blonde.

    1. Thanks for your feedback Nanette! I’m still on the fence about going blonde, mainly because of the damage and also because I don’t think I would have time to get my roots retouched as often as I need to. Do you ever do your roots yourself?

  2. This has been on my mind for a while now too!!! I’m asian and I’m tired of my straight, lackluster, flat, boring hair and I think that an icy bleach blond looks really really cool. I too, am scared about the result concerning how it looks/goes with my face (unfortunately, wide set eyes and nice cheekbones were not bestowed upon me). Good luck with it if you do!

    1. I’ll definitely post photos if I do it Kristen! The problem for me is that I’ve seen plenty of gorgeous examples online but I’ve yet to see this look in person so it’s hard to know what it looks like in real daylight vs. through Instagram filters.

      1. i know what it’s like.. i’ve seen singer/beauty/now my icon, Camille Corazon, in person and in daylight during a visit in nyc, when she walked by me it was simply mesmerizing and she simply made it work. i think a 90% fail rate for asians going blonde is an accurate assessment, maybe even 97%. i wish i could go through with it, even as a non-asian, but my stylist warned that my hair will probably fall out as it’s no where thick or strong enough. all so devastating..:P

        1. Hey KT, I actually went through with it (there are some pics here on my blog & on instagram) so now I know I can speak from experience! Blonde was fun but was a lot of upkeep, if I didn’t tone it would go yellow/gold and my hair is definitely damaged. Now I’m doing a silver purple color and it has been fun and a bit easier to maintain.

  3. I’m Filipino and went from dark, dark brown hair to platinum hair! I’m honestly surprised by all the responses I’ve gotten. I’d say about about 60% have all had (or seem to have had) a problem with Asians being blonde which plays a critical part on whether they like it or not. The remaining 40% love the blonde on me. I really do believe it’s because there’s not so many of us out there.

    My hair was incredibly damaged and became brittle with breakage. Yikes! But this was only because I didn’t get it professionally done. After all the protein treatments and deep conditioning, my hair is now back to the condition it’s been before. I’d say.. it was definitely worth it.

    I love being blonde and playing with all the different shades/tones.

    1. Hi Lylybell, I’m Filipino too! I went platinum blonde and had a lot of fun with it, but I agree it was so brittle I was too scared to style it or touch it even. I liked using Aphogee’s protein treatments and lots of deep conditioner. That’s interesting that a lot of people had a problem with it for you, but as long as you love it right?

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Rather than pushing up-to-the-minute trends and products, Fuji Files is about discovering a lasting, personal aesthetic and the journey to feeling your personal best. 

Fuji Files was started by Cristina Cleveland, the Managing Editor of NaturallyCurly, the largest hair and beauty content platform. Her work as a writer and editor has appeared in publications like Refinery29, Teen Vogue, CamilleStyles, Blavity, Birchbox, TradHome Magazine, Coco+Kelley, and ads in Glamour, InStyle and Lucky.