Friday, 28 September 2012

My hair dilemma

A few of you already know that I have a veritable mop of hair. It's thick, it's coarse, and I've been growing it from shoulder-length since 2006 because three separate hairdressers have told me that if I cut it shorter than mid-back length it will explode into an afro. You have to love brutally honest Asian hairdressers!

Artist's impression:


I recently decided to actually do something about it and get soft, flickable, floaty hair. I'd been taking dance classes with the incredible Bobbi and her floaty hair was giving me serious hair envy, but I think the clincher for me was when my low-standards, zero-maintenance boyfriend told me it was gross. (This is a guy whose friends have dreads.)


Option 1: Hair extensions.

I was totally going to lop my hair off and get hair extensions put in. I kid you not, it was at that stage of start-anew bad. A friend talked me out of it, but if I'd gotten hair extensions, I would've probably gone with Hair Secrets hair extensions, which I had the opportunity to gawp at and grope in person last week. They're the most natural hair extensions I've ever seen - when I walked into the room, I thought the model's hair was all her own. Yeah, I knew I was there to see hair extensions, but somehow my brain just refused to accept that the hair wasn't all attached. I mean, look at them:


Now that you know, you can probably tell that the model's hair is only shoulder length, but I definitely wouldn't be able to pick it on the street! She's wearing a 7-piece set of silicone-lined clip-in hair extensions which literally take seconds to put in (RRP $425, a 5-piece set for finer hair is $325). Hair Secrets also offers Invisi-Gel permanent hair extensions which last for 6-8 weeks and take 30 minutes to put in, but I'd go for the clip-ins myself. And there's an incredible colour range:



Unlike a lot of other brands, Hair Secrets also pays attention to the upkeep side of things. There's a special brush (RRP $26) designed not to tug on hair to prolong the life of the extensions the bindings, but it's also been great for my head hair. It has unique looped bristles and it's HUGE, which is handy for these thick extensions.



Option 2: Straightening treatment.

Luckily, just before I made the irreversible decision to do the chop, a friend suggested that I try a keratin treatment first, to nourish my damaged hair and tame it a bit. I bought the first voucher I could find on one of those Groupon sites (it's actually really difficult to not run into a keratin deal every week).

Keratin treatments contain two main ingredients: keratin to smooth the hair and make it shiny, and an aldehyde (often formaldehyde) to change the shape of the hair and tame it. A deep cleansing shampoo is used first to remove other residue from hair before the treatment, and some serious hot straightening iron action is needed to activate and seal in the goop. The smooth, straight effect wears off gradually over time, with a lifespan of 3-6 months. Sulfate-free shampoos are recommended to reduce stripping of product from the hair.

My hair before the treatment is on the left, and after is on the right. Both were air-dried, then gone over half-arsedly with a hair straightener.


It's been almost two weeks since my treatment, and the easier upkeep is amazing! But the best thing is that the ends no longer properly get caught, and it feels much healthier (if something dead can be considered "healthy") - it's all-in-all a softer, more obedient mane.

Do you have long hair? What do you do to keep it healthy?

Hairbrush was provided by PR. For more information, see Disclosure Policy. For Hair Secrets stockists, see here. For keratin treatment vouchers, you can do what I do and subscribe to every damn deal site, or be sensible and just Google it, but then you miss out on the joys of buying cheesecake then forgetting you bought it, and ringing your SO at 2 am to cry about it.

19 comments:

  1. Oh Michelle your hair looks so much better now although it honestly didn't look that bad to begin with!

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    1. It's not bad from a distance... it's terrible close up!

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  2. Your hair is beautiful! but on a side note,seriously, how can you contemplate chopping all your hair off to then get hair extensions to be back to where you started from?

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    1. It was damaged to the point where doing the chop seemed like the best way to save what I had... a couple of serious salon dye jobs gave me the worst split ends and "crunchy" hair. I forgot that smoothing treatments existed til my friend reminded me!

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  3. i totally understand your hair issue. I am greek so my hair is super thick and frizzy! i tried the keratin treatment but it didn't work. I cut my hair to my shoulders and i straighten it

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    1. Awww damn :( I'm not sure I could straighten it every day, I admire that sort of dedication!

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  4. So would you recommend Keratin treatments? I understand having unruly pain in the duff hair. Kudos for trying something new, too!

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    1. Yes!! It's stopped me from loathing my hair, but it didn't work for LittleMonsterx14 (commenter above) unfortunately.

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    2. I have stupid hair too, and I've thought about keratin but the price and time it takes were deterrents. Straightening became easier when I stopped washing my hair DAILY and learned how to use products/good technique to get my hair straight with blow drying alone. I used to think I had to use an iron on it to get it to look good, but for me that wasn't the case. I'm really sick/weak so I can't do all that stuff, so I had to be clever (: I like the idea of being free from annoying hair, lol

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  5. My mum has serious frizzy hear, you think yours is bad, she has frizz and waves down to the roots (Thank god it didn't pass to me), she chemically straightens her hair and it works really well! It might be more harsh on the hair, but it makes it super straight and they recommend treatments to use. For me, I love the look of wavy hair (which your before picture looked like) but if the Keratin works thats awesome! :)

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    1. I wanted to straighten it, but I was worried that my hair was too damaged from dyeing for straightening! Luckily keratin helps the hair more than it hurts it.

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  6. I have long hair which I love. But yes, it takes some work. In short, to take care of it I do my best to be gentle with it. Washing every other day, not using too much heat, using hair products with natural ingredients... I'd actually like to do a series of blog posts on my hair care routine, products and tools, because having a long, luxurious mane means a lot to me! So keep an eye out. ;D

    I enjoyed your post, and your hair looks very good! =)

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    1. Oh, that'd be super helpful! I don't do anything special to it apart from pre-conditioning and not heatstyling.

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  7. Replies
    1. Thanks Pam! I'm loving my hair now :)

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  8. I could not stop watching Bobbi's video...she is amazing! So graceful and powerful...and I am jealous of her legs of course. Lol. I have really long (to my lower back) and wavy hair, and recently I've been losing more than usual which is kind of scaring me so much that I will actually see a doctor about it. It might be because I've been washing it every day though, but I have to because I workout every day! The keratin treatment sounds really nice for my ends which are pretty dried and tangle easily though.

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    1. She's magical! Have you tried changing shampoo brands, or dry shampoo?

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  9. I've wanted to try a keratin treatment for so long but they are soooo pricey, even with groupon deals sometimes. I have to flat iron my hair everyday because there is no other way I can tame it. If I don't most of the time it's a half curly half wavy frizzy dry mess. So I just flat iron it, but that has taken its toll on my hair. Once I grow my hair out a little more I would like to treat myself to a keratin treatment finally. I'm jealous of how thick your hair is!

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    1. I hate my thick hair, it makes it so hard to manage! I can't leave my hair out without it going everywhere and me feeling like I'm a golliwog... grass is greener on the other side I guess!

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