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!
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.