(Here is my hair before.)
(Here is another one of my hair before. Notice the coarseness and color.)
(Here is my hair after air drying it. Not so sure why it looks longer in the above photos. Pics were taken 1 day apart.)
While I can't promise I've found the answer, I've found a really good solution. It's the ThermaFuse f450 Amino Fusion. According to the company, here is the brief description:
Take the hair-healthy approach to controlling unwanted volume, wavy, or frizzy hair for up to 12 weeks, without permanently damaging hair. amino fusion Smoothing Treatment is 100% formaldehyde-free. Based on the synergy of amino acids bio-compatible with the hair fiber, one treatment will provide exceptional manageability, shine, and control. The "ultimate smooth" for all types of hair.
Before I get started, I should mention this is not for DIY-ers. Ok, here is how it works. The total process takes about 2-3 hours, depending on the amount of hair you have. Your stylist will start by determining your style, part and bangs. While this process doesn't lock in the style, it encourages the hair to behave, so be sure you are parted and styled correctly. Then your stylist will begin sectioning out small sections of hair and applying a solution to each section. (Is there another word for section?) The solution smells oddly of hot, powdered balloons. It's not bad, but it is strange. After your entire head has been sectioned, then had the solution added and combed, you'll wait patiently for about 15 minutes. Then the stylist will blow dry your hair straight with a regular hairdryer. Next, they will flat iron your hair. Here is where it gets interesting.
Because this process is changing the protein bonds in the hair, it can potentially lighten your hair color. On my red hair, it was like watching a magic trick. As soon as the iron went over my hair, my hair immediately lightened up from a level 4 to a level 7. In other words, from dark copper/auburn to strawberry blonde. After you've been flat ironed, you wait another 15 minutes or so and get the solution washed out.
(It's so much longer!)
(My hair immediately after. Notice the texture and how much lighter it is.)
(Check out the shine. This is with no product. And blown dry without a brush.)
That's it. Then you can style your hair however you like. You don't have to go home with the straightening gunk in your hair, making sure you avoid bending the hair for 72 hours. Your hair is transformed. You can even color it right away, which is what I ended up doing.
(Me before getting my color done.)
Immediately after the process, my hair went from being unruly and very, very coarse to looking and feeling like a Pantene model. I'm not kidding in the least. It was like getting a hair transplant. My hair looked and felt instantly healthier, was very straight and was significantly reduced, from a volume perspective. It was smooth and silky. I couldn't stop touching it (and still can't). I also gained at least an inch in length from having it straighten up and sit right.
(Me after the color. We blew this partially dry upside down to add some volume.)
We then colored my hair and I was done for the day. I left the salon with amazing, straight hair that is kind of perfect. It dries on its own beautifully, and needs minimal help from a blowdryer or flat iron. If I had to chose between coloring my hair (it's totally gray) or having this done, as of today, it would be my own kind of Sophie's Choice.
(We went with the lighter color the process left me with, adding some lowlights and emphasizing my lighter bits.)
There are some downsides. You can't get salt in your hair. This means avoiding salt spray products for beachy waves, and of course avoiding the ocean itself. Sodium breaks down the bonds that are making your hair act so beautifully, so you'll want to avoid that. You will also want to avoid sulfates in your hair products. Read the labels carefully and if it has sulfates, don't use it. You'll ruin the bonds. Be sure to check your conditioners as well. My beloved Dove Nourishing Oil Treatment Conditioner has sulfates. As I mentioned above, your haircolor will most likely lighten noticeably. You will want to plan on getting your hair colored within a day or two of your treatment, if not the same day. When you wash your hair, the smell of hot balloons comes back temporarily. That's about it to the list of downsides, as far as I can tell.
So how long does this amazing hair last? I'm told about three months, maybe a little longer with great after-care. Unlike some of the other straightening treatments it's semi-permanent, so instead of growing out painfully, it fades away. Depending on how you care for your hair, you could probably get away with doing this once a season or less, depending on the length and type of your hair. My treatment cost about $300, not including the hair color.
At the time of writing this, I've had this new hair for a little more than a week. So far, all I've had to do with it was brush it in the morning, maybe add a little dry shampoo for volume and walk out of the door. On the days I've had to wash, I've been cleansing, adding a volumizer to the roots, blowing the roots dry with a dryer and letting the rest air dry or letting it partially air dry and using a paddle brush. One thing that is definitely different for me is that I can't go more than a day or two without needing to wash it. Which makes sense, since the diameter of my hair is now smaller and the gunk that normally accumulates has less to cling to. I'll keep updating this section as time goes on to tell you how my hair is doing with the treatment.
(This is me about a week later, in the morning, after just wetting it slightly, adding volumizer and drying with a paddle brush. It will look like this until I wash it again. )
Would you try this? Or would the expense stop you in your tracks? Have you had a different keratin/protein treatment done? Tell me about your experience in the comments!
UPDATE! 9/30/11: It's Frizz proof! This is a picture (above) of my hair on the second day, after one incredibly humid day and then one day where I got rained on multiple times. This is what it looked like at the end of the SECOND day.
October 3, 2011: Today is the first less than stellar hair day I've had. Considering I apparently, now live in a rain forest (Baltimore), that isn't too bad. I didn't use a volumizer, which I guess helps keep my hair in line to some degree, and stops it from being really, really flat. Today I blew dry my hair and quickly flat ironed it. I have some ends that are poking out and overall, it's not great. But based on how my hair use to act, it's not bad. It's all relative, I suppose. I've got a little more than a half inch of new growth on the top, which I suppose I'll need to pay special attention to when flat ironing.
October 5, 2011: I'm noticing that my hair is slightly camouflaged by the Therafuse Treatment. What on earth do I mean? The treatment made my hair feel silky and amazing. My hair is no longer coarse and super thick. The actual diameter of my hair is reduced, the cuticle is closed and my hair is no longer coarse. A big part of me constantly conditioning my hair was about reducing the coarse feeling of my hair. Now that it feels less coarse, I backed off of the conditioning. I also didn't want to weigh it down, as I like some movement. However, I've noticed over the last week that my hair is still really dry and needs some additional TLC despite looking like it does. I upped my conditioning treatment last night with some Umberto Pre-Shampoo Treatment before washing and some new Phytokeratine Hair Serum afterward. There is a big difference this morning in my hair. It feels much healthier, has better movement and is really shiny. The lesson? Don't skip on pampering your locks after the treatment!
October 26, 2011: Using the ThermaFuse Smooth Balance Shampoo and Conditioner makes a real difference. I've been testing a lot of different sulfate free conditioners and shampoos lately. I've gotten great results with a lot of them, but I feel like some of the results from my treatment are starting to fade a tiny bit (It's been almost 2 months). Using the shampoo and conditioner bring my hair back to being almost like I just had the treatment the previous week. It's pretty great. It's also hydrating and gives great shine. If you have this treatment done, I would totally suggest using the products that accompany the treatment. So many times, it doesn't really matter. This is one time it actually does make a difference in extending the life of your treatment.
I volunteered to be a guinea pig for this treatment. Laboratorie is where I am a paying customer and I have been a client of Bethany's on and off for more than 5 years.
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