“We always want we don’t have,” my mother once told me and she’s right. As the owner of wild unruly curls “you look like you’ve been dragged through a hedge backwards” – a teacher once told me – I have always longed for something else, the perfect auburn tresses of Disney’s Ariel, the long blonde locks of Cher Horowitz, or the sassy, straight, Mia Wallace bob, complete with eyebrow tickling fringe.
Ghd’s were a revelation when I was in my teens, but years of painstakingly frying (all of that) hair has taken its toll, I literally have shares in Olaplex and Aveda these days. I’m terrible with a hairdryer and the thought of sitting in a hairdresser’s chair for over 2-hours fills me with dread, and boy, I’ve tried.
A 20-minute Hershesons blow-dry I can muster but seeing as I’m not Arianna Huffington, the blowdry life is not mine and I have spent much of my adult life sporting a speedily assembled topnot, just to get out of the house on time.
I’m never going to be one of these wash-and-go girls you spot on the tube, you know the ones with damp hair that miraculously transforms into enviable sex-goddess-surfer-girl waves by the time they reach their final destination.
If you so much as whisper the word humidity to my unruly follicles they puff into a halo of frizz, think Monica in Barbados x 10, no matter how much straightening or expensive stuff has been applied.
I’m a lover of curls, but good ones. Is there anything cooler than an Afro?
I don’t think so.
Here’s looking at you Freddie H, Diana Ross, Solange.
Or how about the ‘oh, these?’ tousled curls as seen at Roksanda and Chloe. Of course, these nonchalant ‘dos’ have been carefully curated backstage by an army of hair-styling gods, so good luck recreating them at home if you’re me.
Nevertheless, they’re cool as F*ck and what hair dreams are made of.
How on earth does one achieve that perfect middle ground? That silky but not too straight hair that’s still voluminous? I’m eyeballing you Ms Claudia Winkleman. That hair did not come out of a Head and Shoulders bottle alone.
Then I met Kenji.
Kenji is the head honcho at My Snug Room on D’Arbalay Street in London’s bustling Soho. Let’s call it the cutest, calmest Soho haven for heavenly hair.
Kenji, his wife and their small team are hair warriors who have perfected their craft in Tokyo, New York and London.
If you want what you haven’t got, these guys can give it to you. Simple. Specialising in Momoko Japanese straightening and Digital perming. Perm is NOT a dirty word – eradicate all pre-conceptions of 70s footballers with tight corkscrew curls, “A digital perm is a new technique of creating a shiny and bouncy wave to your hair,” reassures Kenji. “The biggest difference is the shape and texture of the wave. A digital perm creates the wave as if you have used a curling iron,” says Kenji.
And I watched in awe as this new-age digital perm masterfully transformed poker straight hair into luscious, vibrant, bouncy curls.
Are you the person with poker straight locks who tongs in curls for them all to drop out a mere 12 -seconds later? Then this is the treatment for you.
After convincing me that a Japanese hair straightening treatment is just what I was in the market for, I let Kenji loose.
Four hours (sounds painful and excessive, but hang on in there) of being preened, washed, dried, snipped, washed again and blowdried, I left the salon calm, rested (and well-read) with super straight, impossibly shiny hair that I wasn’t allowed to wash for two days.
“Tie it up, backcomb it, do whatever you want, just don’t wash it.” My hair was silky, intensely conditioned, frizz-free, and manageable. I didn’t hide under a rock until I was allowed to wash it, I went out out. I went for a run in the spitting rain, I danced until dawn and it looked….great.
The biggest test for me was going to be washing and drying. I believed the frizz would just come back. Not at all. For the first time in my life, I dried my own hair, from shower-to-straight with nothing more than a heated brush and in a record 7 and a half minutes. It was so so shiny and bouncy and left me quite speechless to be honest. What a revelation.
All of those hours I’d wasted on blasting the life out of my poor tresses, hunting for umbrellas, cursing that topnot.
So the real message here is, stop wanting what you haven’t got because it’s never been easier to get it.