I’ve always longed for straight hair. As a pre-teen in the Swinging Sixties I envied iconic model Jean Shrimpton, whose flowing mane seemed impervious to the rain, humidity and heat which turned my own careful flip into a flop faster than you could say “Carnaby Street”.
If you’re a woman of a certain age, you’ll remember ironing your hair — yes, bending over an actual ironing board and flattening it with an iron! — or setting it by wrapping your hair sideways around your head or rolling it over empty beer or soup cans.
In fact, the first time my husband saw me, in the summer of ’68, I was walking around the theatre where we both worked with my hair in those giant improvised rollers.
And yet he married me (admittedly, 40+ years later)!
Over the decades, I’ve sort of made peace with my wavy hair, but as I’ve gotten older it’s become harder to manage, with an uneven curl pattern exacerbated by wiry greys that insist on poking through.
I’d been tempted by keratin, Japanese and Brazilian treatments but the potential damage from harsh chemicals (including formaldehyde) scared me off. Then my colorist at Aveda told me about their Smooth Infusion Retexturizing salon treatment.
Aveda’s mission is to use as many organic and natural ingredients as possible, so their gentler formula protects hair during processing with organic jojoba oil and coconut-derived conditioners. Unlike a chemical relaxer, this is a thermal straightener designed to minimize potential breakage, while organic ylang ylang oil contributes a pleasant scent instead of a strong chemical odor.
The Smooth Infusion Retexturizing Treatment is not for the impatient or the faint of wallet. It takes about 3 hours and is not cheap. But after doing this a few weeks ago I’m convinced it’s worth it—and I should only need touch-ups every 6-12 months depending on how fast my curly roots grow.
One great thing about the Aveda system is that it can be customized from stick straight to loose curls. I opted to leave a slight wave so my fine hair wouldn’t be completely flat and would have some texture if I just let it air dry.
This is a multi-step process. After a consult about the desired results, and a caution that it may lighten hair a shade or two (which, for me, was a benefit), here’s what happens:
- Shampoo and treat; rinse
- Apply re-texturizing creme
- Process (about 20 minutes)
- Blow dry and flat iron
- Apply neutralizer
- Process (about 7 minutes)
- Blow dry and finish
- Don’t wash your hair for 72 hours.
Check out this You Tube video to see all the steps.
(Wet hair before treatment) (Wet hair after treatment)
The result: My hair was smooth and shiny and the process did indeed lighten the color slightly. It’s now much easier to style, barely needs a flat iron to lie smooth, and hasn’t puffed up on the days we’ve had high humidity or rain. If I save 20 minutes whenever I wash my hair, the 3 hours spent at the salon will more than pay off.
Next time, I might even go straighter. All in all, highly recommended!