Want to trade frizzy, unruly hair for a straight and sleek mane? We stopped at Vancouver’s Heartbreaker Salon for an affordable hair straightening treatment that won’t ruin your hair.
Oh my, what beautiful hair you have. I have heard these words, or a variation on the theme, ever since I was a child. The checkout girl would tell me so while I stood in line at the grocery store with my mom. My grandmother’s friends, in their pearls and furs, would pat me on the head and say how they wish they had my hair. “Never cut it,” my childhood friends would say to me as they played with the ringlets that fell around my face. No matter how much everyone praised it, even as a six year old I hated curly hair.
There was nothing I wanted more than to have a smooth mane, the kind you can actually run a brush through, the kind you can put up in a pony tail without looking like you had attached a dead squirrel to the back of your head. The kind you could part to the side, or down the middle, or wear with bangs. The kind you could cut in any kind of style and people will actually notice the difference. With curly hair, you can completely change the style and chances are nobody will notice.
The alternative is to spend about an hour drying then flat ironing my hair. Ain’t nobody got time for that. Unless I’m at the hair salon and someone else is doing it. It looks amazing for a day. Or for about an hour if it’s raining — and in Vancouver, there’s a pretty good chance that it is raining. So I accept that I have been genetically predisposed to having curly hair, the kind that frizzes and is hard to manage in a city where it’s always wet and humid. Or am I?
I do the research and decide that I don’t want straight hair so bad that I am willing to put a product with formaldehyde, a probable human carcinogen, on my head to get it. But there are other ways — at least a girl can dream. So I make an appointment at Heartbreaker Salon, a hip Fraserhood salon (is there any other kind?) where I book for a treatment that could possibly, maybe change my life.
“We’re really impressed with this product,” says Deandra, Heartbreaker Salon’s owner, while she applies Cezanne’s Perfect Finish Keratin Smoothing Treatment to my wet hair. “The formaldehyde-free treatment uses a sericin, a different active ingredient than other formulas,” she says. Produced by a silkworm, sericin wraps around each hair strand to smooth it, and Cezanne’s blend of botanical extracts, keratin and the silk protein promises to protect the bonds of the hair and lock hair into a new smoother, straighter shape.
After washing my hair, Deandra and Heartbreaker stylist Heidi take about 30 minutes to apply the treatment to my below-the-shoulder-length hair. Then I sit for another half hour sipping tea and dreaming about Penelope Cruz style hair. After rinsing, Heidi dries and flat irons my hair. I watch the transformation in the mirror, one that I’ve seen many times after visiting a blow dry bar. But one that disappears after just one wash. The Cezanne process takes two and a half hours, and while it is considerably faster (and starting at $250, it’s considerably cheaper) than the two-step, five-hour affair that other hair smoothing services take, I certainly hope the results are worth it.
“Unlike other treatments, you don’t have to wait a day or more before you can wash it,” says Deandra. I could head straight home and wash it, and the effect would not be compromised. Still, I don’t want to take any chances so I wait a full 48 hours before washing my hair.
During that time, my hair looks silky and smooth. But the real test comes later that week when I wash and dry it myself. It isn’t as straight as when I walked out of the salon, but Deandra warned that it wouldn’t be. “This treatment will smooth it and take out the frizz. Drying and flat ironing it will take less effort,” she told me. But if you’re expecting stick-straight hair, you’ll be disappointed, she warns.
Using just a hair dryer and brush, my at-home styling takes way less time than it usually does. My hair is a bit wavy (instead of limp), with all the body and movement I dreamed of and none of the frizz. A week later it takes me just 15 minutes (I got time for that!) with the flat iron to smooth it out completely. That night at dinner with friends, everyone compliments me on it.