Sometimes, I feel as if I’ve spent my whole 19 years of life learning and unlearning how to manage my 3C curls. This has been a journey I have taken largely by myself, as my mom has relatively straight hair and my father keeps his curls short. For most of my childhood, my hair was a frazzled mess, which I attempted to tame with full-bristle hairbrushes and headbands that kept my hair as far away from my face as possible. As I got older, I learned proper techniques from various internet sources, including using a wide-tooth comb, heaps of conditioner, and hundreds of dollars worth of creams, gels, and sprays.
Having hair like mine comes with highs and lows. It sets me apart from the crowd, and I tend to receive various comments from strangers every time I go out in public. However, it has met its fair amount of scrutiny. Throughout my life, I have been called things like “sheep” and “poodle”. However, what hurt the most were comments that seemed quite innocent. Such as, “You should grow your hair long!” or, “You look so great with straight hair!”. Those types of comments would send me spiraling, as I have always been insecure about my hair’s length, as the more it grew, the more curly it became, scrunching up at the nape of my neck. As for straightening it, it was nearly impossible unless I paid for it to be done professionally.
During quarantine, things came to a head. My hair had become extremely damaged from bleaching it blonde, so it felt like it was getting shorter and shorter. With being forced to stare at myself all day during Zoom calls and my building desire to fit in, I needed to make a change.
I researched many different straightening options. I didn’t want to permanently straighten my hair, as if I ever wanted to retain my curls I would have to wait years for it to grow back out. I then stumbled upon keratin treatments, which are non-permanent options that are used more to reduce frizz than to straighten. It is also apparently what Megan Markle uses on her hair, so, I booked an appointment.
The stylist put the treatment on my hair and then proceeded to blow it out, sealing in the product with the heat. She then washed it out and revealed my new texture. It ended up not looking as straight as either of us had expected. She told me that if she were to repeat the process, it would be completely straight. However, I really liked where it was at. She was then able to straighten it within minutes, something that my hair has never been able to do before.
Now that I’ve had the treatment in my hair for around three months, I can analyze the pros and the cons.
A major con is solely based on my ability to adjust to my new texture. When I air dry my hair, the texture is around a 2C/3A, which has opened up a gate of new insecurities. The first being the thinness of my hair. When it was curly, I never realized how thin my hair actually was. Now that I can easily wear it straight, I am constantly reminded of how limp it is. It has also been very hard to adjust my routine to my new texture. I am used to using seven products on my hair when it’s curly, something that didn’t translate well post-keratin. Out of habit, I put way too much product on, making my hair look greasy. Another con was the price. At the salon, I went to it cost $350, but my stylist dropped it to $270 since she wasn’t able to get it completely straight.
However, the benefits have arguably outmatched the price. The first being longevity. The keratin treatment lasts for six months and fades away, similar to hair dye. Now, three months in, my hair dries in ringlets, but it is still manageable. If I wanted to let it go back to its natural state, it would come back naturally. It has also been able to survive getting colored. As for my hair health, it feels as healthy as ever. The treatment does not use harsh chemicals as seen in relaxers and other treatments. It has not been frizzy, and I can straighten it by myself without much issue.
I would 100% recommend this treatment to anyone who wants a change, or needs help managing their hair, regardless of its texture. I would also highly recommend this treatment to anyone who is considering permanently straightening their hair, as it is a pretty non-committal way of trying it out. I will likely be going back when my six months are up, as the treatment has made managing my hair so much easier, and in turn, has done wonders for my self-esteem. And in the case that I miss my old hair, I can let it air-dry into manageable waves.