Sunday, June 28, 2009

The Treatment

Whoo boy. I am really hoping I haven't seriously damaged my hair this time.

I let them talk me into it. I'm a total sucker for vanity projects. My hair usually hangs perfectly in dry weather. Tamed and shiny as though reporting for white glove inspection at army basic training. But I dread every summer rainy and/or humid day knowing that no matter how valiant my efforts, no matter how much supposed smoothing product and spray I weigh my hair down with, in 30 seconds every strand will seemingly split in threes and stick out in all directions like Medusa, but with electric eels instead of snakes. Hats make it worse. Adornments, like barrettes, do little to distract. Rachel, one of the stylists at my salon who has known me and my unruly Jewfro for years, and who shares my moist weather miseries and has worn her hair in a short crop for 2 years, came up to me at my last haircut with a shiny longer bob and said this treatment changed her life and I should do it too.

It's called a Keratin treatment, not to be confused with the Brazilian one which has formaldehyde in it. This one supposedly doesn't (though smells like it does). It costs $200. Or roughly half my weekly unemployment wages. A lot to cough up. But what if this means my July trip to New Orleans won't be spent looking like Frizzy Lizzy (or since this is a cocktail convention, Bushy Lush Lush). What if I can finally just wash and go and spare myself the constant schvitzing after the hair dryer for 3 whole months? What if I can do things like spontaneous go out for brunch and cross the Brooklyn Bridge in a rain storm without an umbrella, so I don't look like a wuss? Maybe this is wise investment. Maybe this should be the ultimate birthday gift to myself. No more shameful summer hair days. I can be shorn free.

So last Sunday, June 21st, the day after my birthday. I underwent. The Treatment, plus a kicky new haircut. The challenge is that you can't wash your hair, or even really let it come in contact with moisture in any form for 3 whole days while this shit sets. And it stinks. It smells like Pepe Le Pew finally had his way with the cat. On your head.

So Rachel did the treatment, left it in, dried it, rinsed it, and flat ironed it to set. Stinky, but beaming and hopeful I set off for the afternoon before meeting my parents for dinner. Of course I spent the whole rest of the afternoon trying to dodge sideways downpours and sweating profusely for my efforts. But the do seemed to stay in place despite the elements. Did it work? I went to bed believing it had. Careful not to mess it up too much, I was mindful of my night movements so I could wake up like fucking Snow White with pretty, soft hair and singing woodland creatures.

But oh no! My new fringe bangs were a disaster and everything was bunched up and hanging wrong. Now Rachel said I could use a dry shampoo and blow it again. And I was very careful not to get it wet in the shower, tucking it under both a scarf AND a cap. Yet I couldn't make it lie right and just resigned myself to living with whatever I could arrange on my head for the next two days. By day three I was at the Brooklyn Cyclones baseball game in Coney Island during an exciting game under constant threat of thunder showers. Between the wind, humidity and sea air, I looked pretty much like I always used to, (zzzzappp!) but I kept my cool and optomism. I had crossed the rubicon. In a mere eight hours I could finally wash my hair.

Which smelled like it was actually farting as I washed it, that crap is so nasty. But no fear, right? it's raining, but I'll just give it a light dry and prance outside like everyone else. Right?

Wrong. Layers starting to stick up and OUT. Bangs frizzing and bunching. I had to work a spirits event with LOFT liqueurs and be all smiles and cleavage, but inside I was miserable. Plus the photographer kept coming to our table! With nowhere for me to hide! I'm probably known behind my back as that Chubby Organic Cordial Lady With The Frizzy Hair.

Next day was worse. All that time, money and energy and my rebellious locks refused to be tamed. I was defeated. I called the salon to see if there was anything that could be done and came in for a consult the next day. The only resolution they could offer was a free conditioning treatment and to re-do the Keratin again. Don't worry, it's safe. Your hair *shouldn't* break off.

So now. In a world. Where Jews are defenseless against humidity, where moisture prevailed and The Treatment was beaten. I came back for Round 2. It's dry out today at least and I got home without incident. But I'm scared. Little broken hairs are sticking up. The stink is stronger than ever. The color seems stripped off and my scalp is numb. It's straight, but at what cost? Stay tuned...

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