What is "good hair"? Is it straight, wavy, or curly? Is it black, brown, red, or blonde? Thin or thick? Flat or voluminous? My definition of good hair has always been straight, shiny, and frizz free, the exact opposite of what my hair has always been--curly. But I'm not talking about the nice wave that some girls have, nor am I talking about the pretty spiral curls that other girls have. No. I'm talking about the kinky, frizzy, fuzzy, uncontrollable, hair going in all directions kind of curly. It's not an Afro, because with Afros I feel like you could wear your hair natural and it would still look fabulous. If I were to wear my hair naturally, it would look like bedhead after it's been through a tornado. Plus frizz.
I mean look at my hair! I was only one when this picture was taken and my hair was already frizzy!
My desire for straight hair goes all the way back to childhood. I remember crying and screaming as my mom would try to brush my tangled hair every day. It wasn't because I was messy and unkempt, it was because frizzy hair tangles very easily. I remember being teased about my hair; this one kid in particular called my hair "a cloud" since the second grade all the way until the last day of high school. I remember just wanting to be like everybody else, and envying all the other girls with their perfect, manageable, straight hair.
The very first time I got my hair chemically relaxed, I was 8 years old. I know what you're thinking--that is way too young to be putting chemicals in my hair! And I agree. But back then, you don't know how desperately I wanted it. And you don't know how bad my hair is. For me, having it done was like a godsend. For the first time, I could actually run my fingers through my hair and it wouldn't get stuck from all the tangles, because there were no tangles! For the first time, I didn't have to wear my hair in braids; I could wear it down or up, and whip my hair back and forth. For the first time, people stopped making fun of me, and started to tell me how nice my hair looked.
Since then, I've been chemically straightening my hair on an on-and-off basis, as well as flat ironing whatever grows out. I currently get the Japanese thermal straightening/reconditioning done on my hair, as I believe it is the best solution to have your hair straightened permanently.
Now, although there are other techniques to straighten your hair, I've decided not to get them done because they are either more damaging (i.e. relaxers) or they contain extremely dangerous chemicals (i.e. Brazilian blowouts/keratin treatment--they contain formaldehyde, a carcinogen).
Since moving to Atlanta, I've been going to Jade Salon of Atlanta to get the Liscio Japanese thermal straightening for my hair. What I love about this place is that the prices are very reasonable (compared to other hair salons) and that Jade, my hair stylist, (also the owner), has specialized in this procedure for over 10 years.
Getting the Japanese thermal straightening is a very lengthy process--it can take 4-8 hours, depending on the thickness and length of your hair, as well as how tight the curls are. Because my hair is relatively fine, thin, and only need a touch up, it usually takes between 3 to 4 hours. This of course includes:
- Washing your hair
- Applying the solution
- Letting the solution sit for about 30 minutes (sometimes more depending on how curly your hair is)
- Washing your hair again
- Blow drying your hair
- Flat ironing your hair in small sections
- Applying a neutralizer
- Washing your hair yet again
- Blow drying your hair
It's a bit tedious, but I tell you, the results are life changing and worth EVERY SINGLE PENNY! Due to the nature of my hair, I get my roots touched up every four months as opposed to the every 6-12 months that most people normally do.
The first 72 hours after straightening your hair are the most crucial...that is if you want your hair to stay straight! These two rules are A MUST:
- Do not wash your hair or get your hair wet.
- Do not tie your hair, use bobby pins, wear hats or tuck your hair behind your ear.
If you are interested in getting the Japanese thermal straightening on your hair, I highly recommend that you find a salon that uses the brand Liscio, which is basically the best of the best brands.
Now, I know a lot of people might read this and think that I must be extremely insecure about my looks and that I don't love myself, so that must be why I do this to my hair. Well, maybe I am still a little insecure after all those years. Maybe it's also because I don't want to spend an hour and a half (if not more) every morning trying to make my hair look a little decent. I love myself. I really do! Just not my hair. And I know that it's going to take a really long time before I accept it for what it is. But until that moment comes, I will keep getting the Japanese thermal done. Sorry, I'm just being honest.
PS-- If you're living in Seattle, I highly recommend that you see Yuko at Adore Salon. I got my hair done by her for two years before I left for Atlanta. She uses Liscio, and always does an excellent job!