Summer Hair: A Game Changer

Frizz-be-gone. This safe treatment will have you ready for the rain forest

Emily Listfield

 My hair grows horizontally in summer. I can start off the morning (after blowing it straight for 40 minutes) with perfectly normal looking locks, shoulder-length, slightly layered, the too-tight curls formed into pretty waves.  But by the time I get to work, it has metamorphosed into a mound of cotton candy.  I keep an emergency hair band on my wrist at all time.  The pony-tail is my friend.  But, as any woman who has ever had to choose between the gym and her hair, or lived in fear of rain before a night out, will tell you, this is not an ideal situation.  A few years ago, I tried the Japanese straightening process that was all the rage.  I sat for eight hours (yes, eight) while god-knows-what chemicals where ironed into my hair, leaving it stick straight with not even a bend in sight.  I loved it.  I loved it, that is, right up until the moment my hair started breaking off in huge clumps.  It took me two years to grow out the insane layers that resulted.  (The problem: I have highlights in my hair.  I was told it would be safe. It was not.)
So when my friends all started having the new Keratin Smoothing treatment that is the talk of the town at the moment, I was apprehensive.  Their hair looked great: smooth, shiny, healthy, frizz-free.  Everyone said it was safe for color-treated hair.  After one particularly brutal hair day, I paid a visit to Sabrina at Bumble and Bumble in downtown Manhattan. She promised me I would love the Keratin treatment, that it would not take all the curl out but just tame it. She promised me, too, that I wouldn’t end up bald.  I settled in for the 3-hour process.  First her assistant washed my hair, then blew it out just to get all the moisture out (think Elsa Lanchester fright wig).  Sabrina then began to paint on the Keratin, a protein that bonds with the hair, strand by strand. (Bumble and Bumble uses a formaldehyde-free formula,).  She then flat-ironed it lock by lock.  My hair looked shiny and yes, stick straight (not my goal but she said it would loosen up)  when I left the salon.  Here’s the crucial part though: You cannot wash your hair, put it into a ponytail or even tuck it behind your ears for 72 hours.  You live in fear of rain.  Even facial moisturizers are to be avoided. If you see the slightest bend or dent, you are to flat-iron it immediately. This is harder than it sounds. At one point, my hair fell the wrong way as I was eating toast and I got a smattering of strawberry jam on it.  I spent longer than I care to admit wondering whether it was better to wash it out or just flat iron the jam in.   The smell the first night is not great, either.  I had plans to meet a friend for dinner. I called to warn her that I smelled like wet fur.  When we met she disagreed.  “I think it’s more like seaweed.”
Finally, 72 hours later, I washed my hair and…. I LOVE IT!  I blew it out in half the time. I got caught in the rain and it stayed perfect.  I went to the gym and I didn’t come out with Texas hair, (Sorry, Texas.)  I do not live in fear of the beach. Hell, I’m ready for the rain forest.  I am a total convert.  I’m telling you, this Keratin thing is a total game changer.  And I worship at Sabrina’s flat iron.

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