Green Tips and No Frills: The Hair Diary of a Sock Influencer

Gia Seo talks to Man Repeller about her hair diary

The green-tipped hair of Gia Seo caught my eye back when she shared her version of a”going out” outfit on Man Repeller. Fun fact about me: I used to have pink-tipped hair (about four or five inches worth) the summer before my freshman year of high school, and though I had to cut if off before the first day of class, something about it stuck with me. I remember loving the artificial grape-like scent of Manic Panic, the ritual of maintaining it, and watching it fade from fuchsia to hot to pale, pale pink. My point is that I still seem to live vicariously through those who have dyed tips. Enter again Gia Seo, “Sock Influencer” per her Instagram bio (gets me every time) and stylist/creative consultant per her website. I asked her a bunch of questions about her hair, and she answered them. Below, a peek into her hair diary.

How did your current hairstyle and color come to be?

It’s funny, I feel like I went through the entire spectrum of hair color/dye. I went from platinum silver to teal blue (and many shades of blue since) to green, pink, purple. I eventually went back to my natural hair color because I forgot what that was like! My hair needed a break, but I was so bored with brown. The tips seemed like a perfect compromise, and neon green was something I hadn’t tried before.

What’s the upkeep like in terms of cut and color?

Color is pretty easy since it’s just an inch at the bottom. I usually maintain it by throwing in a ChromaSilk neon color. I only use shampoo and conditioner that is meant for color-treated hair; the most important element is NO SULFATES! If I didn’t abide by this, I would have to dye my hair at least once a week.

I am trying to grow my hair back out so no cutting for me.

Some of my favorite hair products:

Living Proof Full Volume Shampoo and Conditioner. It makes the colored tips in my hair last about two weeks longer than most other brands, and it keeps my hair feeling silky smooth without the flatness.

Aesop Rose Hair Mask — the smell takes some getting used to (it smells like a mild perm) but it is highly worth it when you wash it out and your hair feels like you just left the salon.

Sisley Revitalizing Fortifying Serum for Scalp — for the really cold, itchy scalp days.

Christophe Robin Regenerating Mask with pear seed oil when I want to treat myself! The mask is light but not too oily so it allows my hair to breathe. I use a really simple detangling comb rather than a brush because with the brush I have a tendency to rip my hair out in chunks when tangled in frustration.

Tell me about a standout hair-related memory…

Oh boy, I’ve had quite a few of these. The most memorable was when I was 19. I was getting ready to study abroad in Berlin. My best friend thought it would be genius to give me his idea of the Berlin haircut: something “raw and edgy,” he said. The result was misaligned bangs that were so short they stuck straight out like a visor, framed with “layers” that were actually just chunks of hair missing here and there. My first two months in Berlin were spent under many variations of hats.

Have you gone through a bunch of hair phases or had the same hair your whole life?

I’ve had the same straight, long, brown hair pretty much my entire life. When I moved to New York and started to model a bit, this opened up a whole new world of hair art for me. Around the age of 20, I went full crazy experimental on my hair. I tried at least 10 different colors and three different hairstyles in one year. It’s avalanched from there and over the years it’s gone back and forth from color explosion to natural and back.

When do you hate your hair and when do you love it?

I hate when it is freshly washed. My hair is made up of a lot of fine hairs, so no product I’ve tried gives it the volume and texture that I want. [Being] freshly washed makes my hair fall very flat. My hair looks best when I’ve slept on it for at least one day. It gives me the texture and feel of what I imagine dry shampoo and hairspray is supposed to do for you.

What’s the worst or best hair-related decision you’ve ever made?

See Berlin story. I spent many months deleting as many public photos as I could find. I thought with age I would look back on this time and giggle with entertainment. The giggling has turned out more to be out of shame for allowing someone with no former hair background to set up canvas on my head.

What’s something you learned about your hair in the last year?

My hair looks its best when I have no patience. It took me a lot of product and many long mornings of failure to figure this out. My hair feels its best when I leave it alone sans keratin oils, curling iron, blow dryer, dry shampoo, dry gel — you name it, my hair doesn’t need it! Having fine, Asian hair has made me realize it’s healthiest when brushed gently and thrown over my shoulder.

What’s the most important thing to know about your hair? Or the one thing you want everyone to know?

I don’t have a lot of hair, and when it gets pulled out from rough handling (usually on shoots), it takes a long time for it to grow back out in its silky form. It takes a lot of effort to not do anything besides brush my hair in the morning (trust me). I want to be the gal who has the best hair product on lock. But the truth of the matter is, less is more. That’s an important lesson for myself, and for anyone dealing with my type of hair.

Who first taught you how to do your hair?

I grew up in a very small, rural town. My mother was a one-woman salon at my house. She would cut my hair, trim it and style it for hours. The most important lesson my mother taught me is that natural will always trump all.

What misconceptions do people have about your hair?

That it’s incredibly healthy because it’s shiny and soft. But my hairstylist is always telling me that my hair is quite frail, and that I need to stop tying it up when it’s wet 🙁 His words: “Soft hair doesn’t mean it’s healthy.”

What does your hairdresser tell you to do that you ignore?

The one thing my American hairdresser tells me to do is to use a Keratin oil in my hair when it’s damp. I’ve tried this a few times but it leaves my hair very flat and motionless. My Korean hair dresser told me instead to blow dry my hair upside down so it creates fake volume. Again, something I tried and instead my hair looked like [something out of] a bad 70s movie… So I love them both, but these are the two lessons I am living happily without.

Photos by Bridget Badore. Follow Gia Seo on Instagram, @giaxseo.

Amelia Diamond

Amelia Diamond

Amelia Diamond is a writer, creative consultant, and Man Repeller alumnus living in New York City.

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