Nalisa Alia Amin is bold, beautiful and badass.

Quarantine was a period of domestic experiments (think back to Dalgona coffee and homemade bread recipes) and to some, it was a moment to debut a totally transformative look. Nalisa Alia Amin did the latter and stirred the Internet with her blonde buzzcut inspired by the likes of model, Amber Rose and our very own singer and cropped-haired queen, Anita Sarawak, whom she gave a shout-out to when she first posted her new look. From Schwarzkopf Professional to Coco Onya as her current go-to brands, Nalisa shares the inspo behind her epic new look and what to avoid in her haircare routine. 

What inspired your new edgy haircut?
“I’ve always been drawn to shaved heads since young but I didn’t have the balls to do it because I got scared that my head shape wouldn’t look good and I would look too boy-ish. But that was back when I was feeling super insecure about myself. Now, looking at women like Amber Rose and black women having bald or buzzcut hair while tapping on their feminine side, I realised I can pull off both feminine and androgynous looks if I wanted to and it’s been fun so far.”

Why did you decide to make that change at this point of your life?
“I just got bored and I wanted to try something new. Mainly, I got tired of taking too much time and the maintenance of taking care of my damaged bleached curls, especially during the MCO. The stress took a toll on me and I noticed that I rely on my hair as a security blanket when I’m feeling insecure or nervous. Shaving it all kind of helped me overcome being dependant on my hair.” 

Image: Instagram @nalisaliamim
Image provided by Nalisa Alia Amin

Tell us your cycle of emotions when and after getting that haircut.
“I went from being excited and nervous to scared and finally feeling liberated after shaving all my locks off. I felt like a slight burden had been lifted from me.” 

What was your haircare routine like and how has it changed after getting the new haircut?
“My routine was endless and it depended on what my hair was feeling that day itself. I would usually spend so much time on at-home treatments and styling products, and it doesn’t help that Malaysia barely has any curly hair products sold in the mass market so I had to spend a lot of money buying my products online. Now, it’s super minimal compared to the numerous amounts of steps I had to take previously! It cut down to 95%, where now I would just use shampoo, conditioner and gel to style it.”

What is a must in your haircare routine and what do you avoid? “Besides the usual shampoo and conditioner, a must-need for me is gel, even when I had long hair. I usually look for clean products and avoid anything with too much SLS (Sodium Lauryl Sulphate, a chemical commonly used in hair care products) because it will make my bleached hair frizzier and drier.” 

What are some of the best hair products you incorporate in your routine?
Schwarzkopf Professional, especially their OSis+ line, Olaplex in numbers 3, 4 and 5, Coco Onya’s Twirl Me Curl Cream (A Malaysian brand!) and Shea Moisture’s Coconut & Hibiscus Curl Enhancing Smoothie – that has always been a staple curl cream when I had my long hair.”

Do you have any beauty tips you would like to pass on?
“Take your time on getting to know your hair, especially when you have textured strands. There are plenty of YouTube videos that give amazing tips on taking care of curls. Even though a majority of the products recommended online are not available here but there are plenty of dupes we can find too. Try to avoid permanent or semi-permanent treatments like rebonding as that’ll damage your hair forever unless you do the big chop.” 

Image provided by Nalisa Alia Amin

What’s your message to those who want to make a big change to their look, whether it’s getting a new haircut or piercing or updating their wardrobe?
“Just do it, especially when you’re still young. It’s fun to experiment and try new things in life. It might seem scary and off-brand for you at first, but if you keep on thinking about wanting a change, then it’s time for a change.” 

What does the rest of 2020 look like and what’s the next big thing this year for you?
“If you had asked me last year, I would’ve listed down a number of things. As of now, I just take things as they come. This year’s been too unpredictable for me to have a lot of plans. I just want to avoid massive disappointments.”

Reported by Aina Izzah.