Tag Archives: Aveda

Going Straight

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)
  • Rinse
  • Blow dry and flat iron
  • Apply neutralizer
  • Process (about 7 minutes)
  • Rinse
  • 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!



Hair Apparent

Here’s what I’m obsessing about today:
Why are my eyelashes disappearing but hair is sprouting on my chin? And what’s with that one sharp white eyebrow hair the size of my forearm?

The happy answer: aging. But, as my mother used to say, “Consider the alternative”. As you may have noticed the week before your colorist appointment, gray hair is coarser. So, compared to normal eyebrow hairs, the weird ones are thicker.

(As a side note, can anyone explain why your hair miraculously looks perfect on the day you’ve scheduled a haircut? Is this the same cosmic joke as feeling 100% better the day of a doctor’s appointment?)

Good news: it’s not as bad for women as older men, who seem to grow more hair in their ears, noses, pubes and eyebrows because of testosterone. (Since we have to look at them, now is a good time to teach your guy about “manscaping” – or do it for him — before things gets even worse!)

So far, I’ve been lucky to avoid thinning hair. Forty percent of us have visible hair loss by age 40, according to the American Academy of Dermatology. Not surprisingly, the most common culprit is the loss of estrogen that begins before menopause, though hair loss can result from illness and other factors.

A zig-zag part not only disguises roots but makes hair look thicker. So does parting your hair on the opposite side, since it won’t lie as flat that way. There are tons of thickening products out there and you undoubtedly have your faves. I’m partial to Aveda’s Pure Abundance style-prep because most products weigh my hair down and feel greasy the next day.

If hair loss is serious, your doctor will be your best resource. Hormone adjustments may be recommended, or he/she may suggest Rogaine (minoxidil), the only FDA-approved topical treatment. Remember: it only works if used daily as directed.

Back to brows. The woman who shapes mine also dyes them (they are white-blond and invisible otherwise) and I personally wouldn’t try dyeing them at home although people do. Regardless of trends, thin brows on older women are aging, as are extreme arches. So lay off the tweezers and find someone you trust to groom them for a natural look. As they grow in, you can fill in and cover bald spots with pencil: Bobbi Brown makes a nice one.

For thin, short eyelashes, I’m a fan of Latisse even though it’s eye-wateringly expensive. Your derm can give you a prescription. Like Rogaine, it has to be used consistently. Dyeing lashes also seems to make them thicker. Definitely do NOT try this at home.

And never underestimate the power of a good pair of sunglasses!