I am not a morning person. In fact, it’s become a bit of a running joke with my colleagues (in my defence though, I am a night owl and really come into my own when we’re in the middle of a run of late night/early morning finishes). When my colleagues laugh at my dismay when someone organises an 8.30am meeting or call, one thing that they fail to appreciate is that I am really not genetically blessed and so before I come into work I really do have to put on a full face of make-up and wage war with my hair.
To the outside world I have straight-ish hair, but the outside world doesn’t know the truth. Until this past year, my longest and most committed relationship was with my first pair of GHD hair straighteners. God I loved those things. I’ve been straightening my hair since I was probably about 16 but it was a programme called The Salon (anyone else remember it?) that introduced me to the wonder of GHDs. After I spent all of the summer before my first year of university working in a warehouse packing tights, I decided to treat myself to a pair of GHDs which, at £100, seemed like a massive luxury to me with my new student status. But like all good things, it came to an end when, eight and a half years later, they decided to start sparking in my hand before dying. A new pair was swiftly procured (my rebound relationship, if you will) and I continued with my daily ironing.
The problem with my hair is that it is neither curly nor wavy and it is certainly not straight. If it was curly then I could live with it but it just does a wonderful impression of a bird’s nest if left untamed, which does not look professional at all. So, over the years I have got myself into a routine of washing my hair each night (it’s also super fine and shows grease really quickly), sleeping on it to flatten it a bit and then straightening it the next morning. Which is all very well and good, but it is an absolute palaver each morning and all of the effort would be completely ruined the minute I stepped out of the house if there was even a smidgen of drizzle or a hint of humidity. In addition, daily straightening has left my hair rather fried and prone to snapping at the ends. All in all, not good. Seriously, if you have good hair then you have no idea how lucky you are.
A while ago I read about permanent hair straightening systems and started following one system on Twitter – Momoko. One day I opened Twitter to find at the top of my feed a tweet from them looking for hair models.
Fate, destiny, call it what you will, but it felt like the hair gods were telling me something.
I dug out a photo of my non-straightened hair from our glamping trip and sent it off. A few phone calls and emails later and I was booked in to spend the afternoon at Trevor Sorbie in Covent Garden as a hair model for Momoko Permanent Straightening. And believe me, that is the only time that model will be used in conjunction with me ever!
So, on a sunny Wednesday I left my hair to dry naturally and went along to Trevor Sorbie. Now, I know that from the photo below my hair probably looks fine. I mean, even I look at it here and think ‘oh look how voluminous and pretty it is’, but I know different. You don’t see from the photo that bits are all behaving differently and that this is only after leaving it to dry naturally (something I definitely can’t do on a cold winter’s day when I don’t have a lot of time), if I blow dry it then it ends up being irregularly wavy and frizzy.
So I got myself settled in at Trevor Sorbie and put my hair in the expert hands of Nathan Walker, who quickly identified my hair as what people refer to as ‘problem hair’, he could tell from looking at it and touching it how it behaved and I instantly relaxed into the process.
Momoko uses a process that is also known as ‘thermal reconditioning’ and involves the application of protein and moisture-rich pre-treatments to repair and restore the hair before some of the structural bonds that hold the hair’s existing shape are released with the help of a specially formulated chemical solution. The hair is then reshaped by molecular reconfiguration under the influence of thermal heat. Finally, the structural bonds are re-established and fixed in the new form. The result is permanently reshaped hair that will not revert to its old shape even after washing or styling.
Over the course of about three hours my hair was washed several times, had loads of products applied to it and it was straightened twice before I was sent away with soft shiny hair that I wasn’t allowed to wash, get wet, put up in a hair band or tuck behind my ears for two days (so that my newly relaxed hair could set into its new straight style). Below is how it looked when I left the salon, basically no different to how my hair looks when I’ve just straightened it. It’s a funny thing spending several hours in a hair salon to come out looking like you normally do, but I knew that the real difference would be when I washed it.
I must admit that it was a bit of a challenge to just leave my hair alone, especially at work when it’s so easy to absent-mindedly tuck my hair back behind my ears when I’m poring over a document. But, with the assistance of a bit of dry shampoo, I got through two days of my hair hanging straight around my face.
My 48 hours were up on the Friday night but I decided to wait until the Saturday morning to wash it, just to be safe (and because I wasn’t going anywhere). Saturday morning came and with a certain amount of trepidation I washed it for the first time. Unlike keratin treatments, which affect the outer layer of the hair, rather than the structure of the hair itself, Momoko hair straightening is permanent and thankfully means that there’s no need to have to use sulfate-free products or anything like that, so I just used my regular shampoo and products.
I roughly blow dried my hair – nothing fancy, no nozzles on my hairdryer, no big round brush, no drying it in sections, just a quick blast dry. I let out a little squeal when my hair dried straight and flat. It didn’t pouf out like it normally does and it looked shiny in a way that it normally doesn’t when blow dried. It’s hard to overstate how amazing it was after years of seeing a big frizz ball after washing my hair. Although I was thrilled, there was a part of me that refused to believe that this was not a one-off and was now my hair. Right after I had the treatment I went off on holiday for a week and packed my straighteners, just in case. They never came out of my suitcase.
My hair post-Momoko is now a natural straight. It’s not a poker-straight ironed look, it’s got movement and behaves like normal hair, so if it’s wet and I tie it up or plait it, it will dry with kinks in it and if I want to curl it with tongs then I can.
Even a few weeks later I still get a buzz from being able to wash my hair and not having to spend 20 minutes straightening it every day or from not having to rush to cover my hair up if it starts to drizzle on my walk to work. The average time between treatments is 4-9 months but knowing my hair, I hope that it should be at least 10 months before I need to have it done again. I’m also hoping that not ironing my hair every day will mean that it will, in time, be stronger and in much better condition.
Momoko is available at salons across the country (find one close to you here) and prices will vary depending on the salon but at Trevor Sorbie in Covent Garden, the treatment starts from £320. I can say for certain that they now have a lifelong customer in me. If only I could find something that will eradicate my need for make-up, then I really could spend as much time as possible in bed in the morning (or get into the office earlier, y’know).