The Straightening Iron: My Lifelong Battle With My Hair
As a child of the 80s and 90′s I witnessed firsthand the cultural shift from Saved by the Bell-style teased ponytails to the stick-straight silky tresses popularized by Jennifer Aniston and the cast of Friends. My adolescent years coincided with the introduction of Hot Tools, a mass market straightening iron that brought the dangers of the hair salon right into the home. We endured carpet-burns and cindered flesh from steam and a false clamp.
I’d love to say that adulthood has ushered in a wave of maturity, that I’ve since resolved to embrace the natural wave of my curls. This is not the case. While I have given up the idiotic of notion that over-the-counter hair relaxers and hot oil conditioning treatments will make my childhood dream of wash-and-go straight hair come true, at heart, I’m still a girl on a mission. In light of my experiences and travails, I feel apt and eager to share my wisdom from youthful indiscretions as well as a few success stories that have aided to improve if not make perfect my unruly hair.
Last summer, like thousands of other Groupon subscribers, I ignored the warning articles, and purchased a Keratin Straightening treatment from Loft 26 . Keratin hair treatments vary in their ingredients. Some contain significant amounts of formaldehyde, a preservative and toxin used for embalming, among other things. Too much exposure can be deadly. Presumably the scientific reasoning behind introducing this chemical to hair treatment went something like this*: “Sure, it’s toxic, but hey, if it preserves other dead matter that was once living, why not hair?”
The results were not to be believed. Straightening is not the ultimate goal of the Keratin treatment, which aims to reconstitute the texture of curly, frizzy hair. Rather, it is a rewarding side of effect. [Full disclosure: other side effects include eyes watering and nose tingling during the application process, and the weird looks from strangers and dates on days 2 and 3 of not washing your hair after having the treatment applied, an unfortunately necessary step.] Upon washing my hair, it seemed more manageable. But once it dried, the real results came out. Its silky smooth wondrousness was a thrilling surprise, the fulfillment of a long-held hope for a future free of my curling iron, and unafraid of rain.
I have now had my second treatment, which is supposed to last eight weeks. I got it at Oz Hair in Korea-town, which I found through exhaustive Internet and anecdotal research and ultimately chose based on cost and Yelp reviews. They crank these treatments out like a machine, but they get the job done right.
*This postulation is completely unfounded.
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