|A Flattering Style: In Search of Hair Straighteners That Work|
|Written by Danielle Kremeniuk|
New technology in hair straightening provides lustre, not damage
With fourteen for me came wayward ringlets. Embarking on a decade of image experimentation, this couldn’t have happened at a worse time. Going through a phase where we felt the need to rebel against everything, my friend and I would stare at ourselves in the mirror and debate what could be done to straighten our locks.
My friend’s father overheard us one day, and offered some advice. When he was a child, his older sisters would each pay him a quarter to iron their hair. We both agreed it was the perfect solution – immediately accessible, affordable and parentally sanctioned. Excited about our solution, we did not take the time to consider some of the potential ramifications of this procedure. As well, we had recently subjected our dark manes to a peroxide-based spray that promised to give us golden highlights in the sun… or with a hairdryer. Needless to say, our patchy, parched tresses didn’t take well to the extreme heat of the iron. Upon completion our hair was feebly intact, closely resembling straw, and residue hairspray had melted on the iron, which we later had to replace with our allowances.
Several months and deep conditions later, I was allowed to buy a flat iron from the drugstore for occasional use. Eventually, my mother bought me a professional one. Then I moved to Vancouver and realized that even my professional straightener did not wield the power that it had in the arid prairies. I decided to take it to the next level, only to meet with bad experiences in chemical straightening treatments. I conceded defeat and learned to love my curls.
Seeking Prairie Flats
Now, years later, my personal style more refined and reckless beauty treatments behind me, I continue to long for straight hair. With all the talented artists in Vancouver, it isn’t difficult to become educated, but I consider myself incredibly fortunate to have all of my questions answered by Chad Taylor, co-owner of Moods Hair Salon. Regularly called on as a “hair expert” by the Globe and Mail, Fashion Magazine and the Vancouver Sun, Chad is a recent winner of the 2011 Canadian Hairstylist of the Year award at the Toronto Mirror Awards.
Chad gave great accolades to a straightening treatment called KeraStraight. It’s a Brazilian keratin treatment (keratin being the key structural component in hair) that is 100 percent formaldehyde and aldehyde free, which makes it gentle on hair and safe to use while pregnant or breast feeding.
Chad said that KeraStraight can be used on any texture of hair for smooth, healthy, shiny hair. It is safe to use on damaged hair; the duller and frizzier the hair, the more dramatic the results will be. As well, hair can be coloured up to two days prior or two days after the treatment, but Chad recommends having the colour done after as the results of the colour may lighten slightly. When the treatment is complete, the hair can be shampooed at any time using a shampoo that is sulphate-free and sodium chloride free. Tying the hair in a ponytail right after the treatment will not produce the adverse results seen with other smoothing systems. The results will last three to four months following the treatment as long as proper post-treatment products are used. It can be done more frequently without damage to the hair. With KeraStraight, there is no permanent chemical change in the hair.
The keratin protein slowly comes out of the hair so there is no regrowth area with chemical damage on the ends. In addition to having the ability to straighten almost all hair types, the stylist can adjust the process technique to maintain the curl, but still smooth the frizz and give shine to the hair. Chad told me the words that every curly haired gal longs to hear: “It’s great in humidity, too!”
You Flatter Me
Consulting the KeraStraight website (kerastraight.ca), I found a step-by-step description of what to expect from the appointment. The hair is washed with a pretreatment shampoo to soften and open up the hair shaft; then dried on medium heat until the moisture is gone. The straightening treatment is then applied to the hair in small sections, keeping close to but not on the roots, and evenly to the ends. The treatment is applied until hair is thoroughly dampened; development time isn’t usually necessary unless hair is virgin or very curly. Hair is dried again completely on medium heat; then locked in using straightening irons set at 210 degrees. Once ironed completely, the hair is given quick blast of cool air before washing with the maintenance shampoo.
Now used around the world, this evolution of beauty culture allows our curls to relax while keeping our ends from doing the splits. More important, it frees up precious time that would otherwise be relegated to personal maintenance, and keeps us looking great while dancing all night or walking in the rain.