The Keratin Brazilian Blow Dry at Radio Salon
Erstwhile Bleach Junkie Carly Florentine has one Last Attempt at Saving her Hair.
Telling any soul that you've had this treatment certainly raises a few eyebrows especially those that reside on an ignorant or immature head. But not everyone is, or has ever had cause to become au fait with the revolutionary treatment that is the Brazilian Blow dry. I am not such a person; I have spent most of my teens and twenties in hair salons, actually at the height of my desperation I would refuse to wash my barnett at home and opted for regular deep conditioning treatments. To alleviate the tediousness of such an errand I would never visit the same place once, instead kidding myself that maybe one place had the secret elixir to cure my tresses of the fine mess I had gotten them into.
Wherever I went stylists would be quite flummoxed as to precisely what hair masochism did it for me and I was frequently asked whether I was backcombing it and always given the hard sell to buy their products assuming I was using TreSemme or something you could buy in Boots. This was not the case, I bought the best conditioner's that money could buy as my hair could not afford to skimp on love and care, irrespective of how poor I was, even if this left me squirrelling away food or leaving Tesco's via the deliveries entrance. These sorry states of affairs all arose from an addiction I acquired even prior to leaving School. At the impressionable age of 16 I had highlights to show that the well- meaning advice of my mother to myself as a young girl that I could never successfully emulate the locks of child style Idol Barbie could be thus disproven.
At first it was beautiful and I was truly living the dream but despite knowing that all good things must surely come to end, I could not stop. My hair length was shortened by half and was the colour's of Debbie Harry's at her lightest. In the end the difficult decision was made for me by my hairdresser who refused to bleach it anymore, so after six years as a self-induced blonde I went back dark and boy were they dark days.
The most amusing eventuality of this change was a lack of recognition from my peers, who had figured that my hair colour and my personality could not be disentangled from one another and indeed considered me to be the quintessential blonde. Even when I had presented my new self to people after and we caught up they would then instantly forget I was now a brunette and still think of me as blonde, even people who should have known better, such as, for example, my boyfriend at the time, who for those very reasons is now equally a part of my past as such blatant destruction of the hair follicle. But even now I suffer as things were much easier in those days as people could spot me a mile off and now they do not, which I had become reliant on considering that my eyesight is poor. If I go to meet people in a bar now I more or less have to walk up to everyone in the room before I am able to locate my companions.
For the next few years I did nothing but condition and trim my hair and whilst I was awaiting the return of ridiculous Rapunzel locks, I tied my split hair up in a ponytail and would fashion slide in long hair extensions, which became a rather hilarious feature of my life; they existed like a trail to show people where I had been and went, sometimes If I danced too enthusiastically at parties they would jump out, sometimes and even more embarrassingly people would pull them out when trying to see what my long hair looked like when down. This normally would happen in romantic situations and would bring an air of awkwardness to the proceedings and kill the mood.
I had tried a few state of the art treatments, one which was called Tanagra, then later Nanomax, which did improve the shatteringly brittle condition of my hair at the time and I have since followed their aftercare advice but recently despite my best efforts and even after having a trim I noticed that my hair was becoming increasingly unmanageable and was seeing rather too much of it in my hairbrush for my liking and would shed a tear. I was losing the will to persist in the pretence that I was adopting an "I'm too cool to brush my hair" look and something drastic needed to happen, and I was holding out my last hopes for this legendary treatment I had heard so many glowing reports about.
This treatment is offered by a variety of places and more and more salons are following suit and incorporating it into their service as the word spreads of its wonders. I carefully chose where to do the deed, preferring personality to cold-blooded luxury and ended up at exciting new venue Radio Hair Salon which has also been complemented with the accolade of being Bumble and Bumble's flagship UK store.
On the day of the treatment my messy mane was looked after by top stylist and nice chap Oscar, who patiently coated the many thousands of strands (did I mention I had a lot of hair?) with an active keratin solution, which is a protein that is essentially the main component of your hair. Then through a process of blow drying and then sealing this formula with a very high heat courtesy of GHD irons, the formula then bonds with the hair creating a glossy veneer.
Taking only four hours, I whiled away the time with the witty articles of Ten Magazine then looked up for the finished result and found that a vision of of silk stared back at me. Proffering a mirror, I was instructed to take note of the back of my coiffure which to my amazement was all straight and gleamed like diamonds. Due to breakage, the back of my hair always looks the worst but as the treatment lives of up to its promise of taming frizz, no unruliness was to be seen. And believe me if you have either thick hair or damaged or porous or split hair you will have frizz.
When this treatment first arrived on UK shores it was marketed as the 'Permanent Blow Dry' 'which gave the impression that it would be perfect and straight all the time. I didn't get this treatment under any illusions it would make my hair perfectly straight, it doesn't obliterate my occasional wave, it just stops the craziness that occurs when you don't blow dry your hair.
The KBB is a hair softening treatment that doesn't hurt your hair, it's natural and should last between three and four months depending on the frequency with which you wash your hair. You also may only use specially formulated shampoo and conditioners as the majority contain sodium which diminishes the life expectancy of product being retained in your hair. The chlorine and salt found in swimming pools and the sea will also have a similar deleterious effect. Other crucially important aftercare instructions are that for up to three days afterwards you can not put your hair up or behind your ears. For me this was the hardest part, I actually didn't know what to do with myself for that 72 hour period. I amused myself by people watching, seeing if I could find anyone with long hair who didn't have their hair up or behind their ears. I'd never taken notice of such things before but when I'd suffered though that sign of privileged 'hardship', I was pleased to find that my compliance was worth it.
The first time I washed my hair, for the first time since the last depressing time, I let my hair dry naturally, it dried as soft and shiny and sumptuous as it had when it was blow dried at the salon. I even gave it the ultimate test of going to bed with wet hair (how purposeful this was you can decide, I was however extremely tired that evening) and again despite the waviness, after straightening it, it didn't look any worse had I blow dried it in the first instance. This is not true of the way things were before. If I ever hadn't 100 per cent dried my hair and gone to sleep, there would be such irredeemable kinks in it and it would sit so weirdly that I would have to wash it again.
The only problem I have encountered in the aftermath of this treatment is psychologically, that is, getting it into my ditsy little head that washing my hair needn't require a whole day off work. Imagine what a lifetime of dreading washing your hair does to a person. The only thing I really ought to dread is the wearing off of the treatment, no doubt I will be just as addicted to this as I was to the bleach but maybe now I can go blonde again without compromising the condition of my hair. The other day I ran into a couple of old University friends who immediately applauded the aesthetics of my hair, the very next thing they asked was "Are they extensions?”
Imagine how proud I was when for the first time in my life I had nice hair which was genuinely natural and 100 per cent mine, in length and shade!
The lovely ones at Radio regularly style on photo-shoots for Vogue and other renowned magazines and are also delightful people who amongst other things know how to throw a good party. They held their launch in September and it was quite an amazing accomplishment at the hundreds of people they were able to entertain in one salon. I was having such a pleasant time devouring drinks and basking in the scenery of the lower ground floor that I completely missed the band play, who as it turns out were Razorlight, they were huge when I was more musically active and thus rather nostalgic.
Radio is a hair salon and art gallery space on Redchurch Street, which is a fairly new addition to the East London grooming scene and is already garnering a reputation as possibly the best salon in the world. See www.radiohairsalon.com for details.