beauty

"The regrowth." 10 things you need to know before you get your hair permanently straightened.

For the last 14 years, I have been straightening my hair one way or another.

My hair is naturally extremely curly and frizzy. My father is of Mauritian descent, which is a small island country off the coast of Madagascar. So you can understand that straightening hair that longs to be wild and big, was never going to be an easy task.

It’s been bloody torture.

I bought my first straightener when I was 12 and going through my ‘Paris Hilton’ stage, as my sister calls it. I was obsessed with The Simple Life and had just discovered beauty. And showers.

Since then, the amount of hours I have spent in the bathroom, holding my arms up and twisting awkwardly to reach all the spots (which never happened, FYI), probably amounts to how much time I spent at Uni. I have a Bachelor’s degree, for reference.

I fried my hair on the daily. I – at the time – felt more beautiful with straight hair. Hair that allowed me to blend in with the crowd and not stand out in any way whatsoever.

Video via Mamamia

So when it came time for me to go on an eight-week beach holiday with other volunteers, I knew there was no way I was going to tend to my hair every day.

I wanted to be present. Confident. I wanted to know what it’d be like to wake up, roll out of bed, brush your hair and go. (I often wonder if those with straight hair realise how lucky they are to be able to do this? And not deal with knots that at times need to be cut out of your hair?)

I very briefly ‘researched’ hair straightening and flew from Melbourne to Sydney for the treatment, (so at this point, we’re already at $600 for the bloody straightening, without aftercare prods) because the best place to get it done is in Drummoyne, hands down. (I’ve had three permanent straightenings, I’ve done the groundwork!)

After the seven hours to do the permanent straightening and obligatory few days where I could not wash my hair (or tie it up, or sweat), I took a shower, stepped out and… OHMYGOD it was the most gorgeous thing. I let it AIR DRY and was on my way. I was in heaven. It was a miracle. Could not believe how easy it was to manage.

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Until… it wasn’t.

If you’re seriously considering chemically straightening your hair, I need you to read the next few points so you know exactly what you’re getting yourself into.

1. The regrowth is so much worse than you think

Can we just… this is my hair right now.

Regrowth after hair straightening.
Growing out your straightening is, as predicted, super fun! Image: Supplied.

As you may be confused as to what particular 'look' I'm going for, I call it 'about to put my hair in a bun and pop a headband on'. For the next year. My hair looks this gorgeous all the time, in fact, I can wake up looking like this!

To achieve the look, all you need to do is go to a less-than-reputable hair salon, pay $400, and they'll iron your hair for you! My hair only smelled bad for about two months after getting my hair done. Each day after my shower, I'd ask my fiance to sniff my hair to see if the chemical smell was fading. I lost track of when exactly it disappeared altogether. Maybe when my curls starting showing again? I'm losing my point.

In case you needed further evidence than the above photo, before you get a straightening you really need to think about the moment that you can't be effed straightening your hair anymore and need to... let it roam free.

2. It still won't be 100 per cent straight and sleek

This really depends on what type of straightening you get, but sometimes the 'gentle' chemical straightenings don't get you perfectly straight Jennifer Aniston-esque hair.

Which seems like a waste if you're paying so much money - I mean, otherwise you could just get your hair 'relaxed' instead. Which is different to permanent straightening in that your curls and frizz gradually come back after a few months.

Which sounds way smarter, I know.

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Listen: You Beauty chats to DJ Tigerlily about why her hair costs her 5k. Post continues after podcast.

3. It may change or lift your hair colour

Repeat after me: 'I will not get my hair coloured BEFORE chemically straightening my hair'.

The chemicals used to break the bonds in your hair can also lighten your strands and change your colour.

Many places also will not straighten your hair if you've just used bleach in it. You know, unless you're cool with it all falling out. Which leads me to my next point...

4. It may sound obvious, but it really can fry your hair

When I got my hair straightened the most recent time, afterwards I noticed the front of my scalp felt... dotty somehow.

I ran my fingers over my hairline again and realised that it was a hairline no more. THE STRAIGHTENING HAD FRIED OFF THE FRONT OF MY HAIR.

This little curl I have at the front of my head? It's me growing out my bald patch.

Isn't beauty so fun?

A lonely, stumpy curl. Image: Supplied.
A lonely, stumpy curl. Image: Supplied.

5. Not all hair salons are made equal

I can't stress this enough: do your homework. Don't purchase a coupon for chemical straightening off GroupOn, actually take the time to research what type of permanent straightening you want, if any (see point one).

Depending on where you go, afterwards, your hair may feel like actual straw... and unfortunately, it may also look like it too.

6. You'll need to invest in good aftercare products, and they will be exxy as anything

If you're the type to use supermarket shampoos and conditioners that hairdressers get weirdly upset about, the aftercare post-straightening may be a little high maintenance for you.

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via GIPHY

7. You will feel fly for the first few weeks

Dayummm, is that you? With sexy, untangled hair even though you're fresh out of the ocean? That's right, it is. Both of the times I have had my hair straightened it was in the middle of summer and it was absolute heaven.

You can swim without emerging from the surf without being all tangled in your curls. Go outside when it's humid and not have your hair double in volume. Sweat in a club without your hair turning to sh*t.

It's. So. Easy.

8. You will feel resentful that you paid $400 for temporary straight hair while others are born with it

Especially when someone with effortlessly straight hair says something along the lines of, "my hair looks so oily/frizzy/dry today, eurgh" when you wrestled with your hair for an hour and a half trying to get it half as tame as theirs.

via GIPHY

9. Your partner and friends may not like it

Not that this should be a deciding factor - you do you - but the people closest to you may miss one of the features they see as what makes you 'you'.

My partner often says he misses my curls because they're so me and are representative of where I come from.

10. You will miss your curls. A lot

And to be honest, after 14 years of hiding my curls. I miss my curls, too. I reckon you as well. You may not love them all the time - particularly when it is humid, I'll admit that one is a toughie - but they are something that sets you apart from others.

I can't wait to embrace my natural curls when my straightening grows out. Only a year and a half to go! *Sobs*.

They're NOT the easiest to tame, but boy do I miss my curls. Image: Supplied.
They're NOT the easiest to tame, but boy do I miss my curls. Image: Supplied.

 Feature Image: Supplied.

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