Growing up in America as an Asian-American, I have always been dissatisfied with my hair. Inundated by media which featured beautiful Caucasian women and seeing the silky, bright color of my classmates, I often found myself frowning at the dark, coarse, Asian hair of my ancestors. As a result, for the past 8 years of my life, I have been dyeing my hair to a lighter brown.
In order to collect my sample, I picked a strand of my hair, snipped the segment closest to the root, and placed a tiny bit of water on the slide as well to ensure proper lubrication and visualization of the sample.
Looking at my hair under the Foldoscope felt like an introspective culmination of almost a decade of my own insecurities surrounding my appearance. Though I knew that on the outside my hair was dyed, it felt almost bizarre to see this carried through and prevalent even at the micro-scale. In a way, I felt as if I had erased my own roots (no pun intended) as an Asian by attempting to mask over it in an attempt to appear more “American.”
What I found particularly interesting is that it felt like you could almost see the damage such prolonged hair coloring had done on my hair quality. There was a tapering in the hair strand itself (my hair has been thinner following these repeated treatments, I do admit).
I think the Foldoscope made me more critically consider my own actions with regards to my hair, something I definitely had not anticipated prior to plucking the strand out of my head. Moving forward, perhaps it would be nice for a change if I actually had a full-head of my natural hair, and truly went through the world completely au naturale. These were definitely unintended effects of the Foldoscope, but I’m also grateful that this exercise sparked such introspective thinking on my end.