Beauty Top Down: My Hair. Again.


Those of you who follow this blog know I’ve been taking steps to look a little spiffier. Because without taking steps, I look like a slightly over-weight suburban mom with frizzy hair and mascara smeared beneath her eyes. In other words, HAWT. As in HAWT mess. A big area of concern for me has been my hair. It’s curly and gets frizzy in the summer humidity and causes me far more angst than hair really should cause a grown woman with a life.

About a week ago, I got an email from Living Social offering a half price Brazilian Blowout, a treatment that promises smoother, frizz-free hair that retains body and wave. The first thing I did was run right to Google to make sure that this was something for the hair on my head because the word “Brazilian” conjures images of hot wax, if you know what I mean. A little research revealed that the Brazilian Blowout is like the Brazilian Keratin Treatment’s less permanent sibling. The salon offering the deal even had a great video showing a satisfied customer getting the treatment, then demonstrating how her hair would look both straight and curly after it was over. She looked super! And I want to look super! So I bought the deal, made an appointment, and fantasized about beachy waves and low-maintenance styling for the rest of the summer.

On the appointed day, I walked into the salon with a head full of spiral curls with areas of frizz. The lady who was going to blow me out ran her fingers through my fine hair asked what I was hoping to accomplish and I told her less frizz, some wave, lots and lots of easy cute hair. She agreed that that sounded like an excellent plan.

She washed my hair twice in a bowl that may have been designed by the same people who developed the guillotine. I don’t know who came up with the angle for the edge of the headrest but it felt like the worst massage ever when I tried to rest my neck there. Ow! After the washing and neck torture, the stylist gave me a surgical mask and began spreading some sort of clear solution on my wet hair. The solution is formaldehyde free (an improvement over Keratin treatments) but still caused irritation to my nose, throat and eyes when she was working near my face. (The treatment is not considered wise for pregnant women because of the fumes, FYI) After all the goo was deposited on my head, she flat ironed it to seal it all in. As she was doing this another, chattier stylist was telling another client about how great the Brazilian Blowout was for hair – how it’s the only treatment of its kind that improves hair’s quality. Given that it was making the back of my throat burn, I was unconvinced by her sales pitch but willing to go along with it because it was really too late to turn back.

Meanwhile, my head was being tipped back into the Bowl of Agony to rinse out the goo. After that, I was back in the chair where she blew my hair dry. After that  she applied a masque to it and let me sit under a dryer to seal in the process or something like that. I don’t know all the technical stuff since the chatty stylist had stopped chatting and I was busy reading The Girl Who Played With Fire. After the masque was done, I was rinsed and dried again and gazed on my new hair in all its straight glory.

And straight it was. Really straight. Straight like Dick Cheney is straight.

Shell-shocked, I let the stylist press a lot of very expensive products into my credit card bill and I left the salon.

It turns out that my fine, silky hair, when deprived of curl, is limp. And flat. And lacking in personality. It was also cut in a way that enhances curly styles so the long layers gave me kind of a Joan-Jett-circa-1981 vibe that wasn’t really working for me. There was no curl at the ends, no bounce, just straight, flat hair.

The following night I was allowed to wash my hair and I was extremely optimistic that a little toweling and tousling would lead to the wave and body the stylist and I had agreed would look nice. Wrong. My hair dried flat and straight. The morning after sleeping on it slightly wet, it was flat and straight. Right now, as I type this, it’s flat and straight but it looks better than it did because I dashed off to my regular stylist for a cut that flatters flat, straight hair because I can’t go around looking like Joan Jett for the next 10-12 weeks while this treatment wears off.

There are some upsides to this hair. For one thing, I don’t need to do a damn thing to it. It’s totally wash and go hair. In fact, I’m not sure doing anything to it would work: I think it would resist styling pretty strongly. Not that I know anything about how to style hair to increase volume, anyway. I’ve spent my whole life trying to reduce volume and control hair that wants to get bigger and bigger. Second, my fear of humidity has vanished. I walked into my office after a seriously hot and muggy commute with my hair just as flat and straight as it was when I stepped out of the shower last night. That’s a major plus here in the swamp of DC in August.

I guess I feel a little like women must feel the day after getting a boob job:  it’s what I always said I wanted but the change is more dramatic than I thought it would be and I’m not real sure I like it. After all, I was picturing frizz free beachy waves. What I got was hair that looks a little like what you would find on a very young Asian child.

Supposedly, the treatment will wear off gradually, and my natural curl will reassert itself. I’m a little skeptical because the thing we can all take away from this experiment is that my hair “takes” treatment like this really, really effectively. I don’t know how well it will regroup after the process. I do know that within a couple of weeks my roots will be providing significantly more body by growing in curly and I hope to heaven that I won’t be stuck with hair that has two distinct textures. I don’t what to do if that happens. Because the last thing I want to do is go super short.

So the moral of this story is that I won’t be returning for a repeat Brazilian blowout. I’m not even sure yet if I’m glad I tried it just this once.  But I’m sure that I’ll come up with more and better analogies for my hair as the weeks wear on and I’ll be sure to share them with periodic updates here on the blog!

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9 comments for “Beauty Top Down: My Hair. Again.

  1. August 10, 2010 at 10:12 am

    Well, your phone looks lovely with the straight, sleek locks.

  2. August 10, 2010 at 10:24 am

    I’ve only come to embrace my natural curls within the last 5 or so years, and they’re certainly not as lovely as yours. It takes curly haired women a great deal of inner struggle to be able to live with those things, doesn’t it?
    That said, I do have a flat iron that I love to pieces and I straighten my hair if time allows. My stylist is an awesome woman who knows that I need something that will work with my curls and still look cute when I make them go away.
    With the straight hair I have the Mexican advantage working for me. With the curls, I have a potential Afro at my disposition.
    What I’m trying to say is, frizz isn’t necessarily a bad thing! Honest! Once I figured that out it was a lot easier to stop fighting with nature and allow those unruly children to roam free, and they liked me so much better for it, too.

  3. August 10, 2010 at 10:43 am

    Wow – well, that actually does really work. It’s crazy how straight your hair is now. And when I was little I refused to have hair stylists wash my hair, I found it far too painful on my neck so I would always shower right before going then insist my hair was clean/wet enough.

    Even as a child I was a handful.

    p.s.~ I think it looks lovely. And wish my hair would ignore the humidity.

  4. anthrogrrl
    August 10, 2010 at 11:01 am

    As someone with extremely fine hair with some natural wave that falls out and leaves limp, straight locks the second it grows past my shoulders, I LOVE your curls and can’t believe that you would want to straighten them! But I also know, from my brief experiments with perms in the late 80s, that we always want our hair to be the opposite of what it is: straight if curly, thin if thick, purple when we’re teenagers, etc. So I respect your decision to try for beachy waves, even thought at the moment I think that I would kill for your hair.

    The idea of completely frizz-free, self-styling hair is quite an attractive one — I do get the frizz problem, and in fact looked like a completely different person living on the CA coast than I now do in arid inland UT. And I also think the straight look is lovely on you, but my biased vote is for the curls, so I hope you pick up some waves over time. But if I had curly hair, I’m sure I’d be eggeing you on to keep it straight!

  5. August 10, 2010 at 11:11 am

    That straight, fine, limp look is what I live with daily. I spent part of my life wishing for body! And curl! And then I got a perm! Bad, bad, bad idea. So I feel your pain. Only, like, opposite pain.

  6. Lynn
    August 10, 2010 at 11:45 am

    As a child, my mom would ask if I wanted curly hair, which I definitely wanted, so she would take me to the torture chamber, uh hair salon to get a permanent. I can actually smell the same smell you must have experienced more times than I can count. And everytime the result was the same. I would have curly hair for 4 days. By day 5, I had my straight, fine, flat hair again. Those things are supposed to last for weeks! The universe was trying to tell me something.

    You now have my hair. It is true that you don’t have to do much of anything to it. But for me the bad part is that I do not have any change to the style. It is pretty much the same every day. It does have slightly more body if I blow dry it versus letting it dry on its own. But that is it. Sigh.

  7. August 10, 2010 at 7:01 pm

    Thanks for the review – I’ve always thought about doing this. I want wash and go hair – so I did the body wave way – wash, scrunch, go.
    It works. But it is always WAY TOO curly right after & I hate it. Yet I keep going back.
    I’ll look into this after the wedding b/c I want my hair to at least curl that day!!

  8. August 13, 2010 at 4:55 pm

    SEEEEEE!!! You people and your complaining about your curls. THAT is how my hair looks EVERY DAY. boring isn’t it.

  9. Valeria
    July 22, 2012 at 4:05 pm

    I love my Brazilian Glow out and dont want to liverpool without it Evereste again. As a Fitness instructor i take 4 showers a dayand having a straght hair makes só much easier and pratical.As the aseis will pass buy Ur hairwill look mre natural and you might change your mind.

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