Straight Talk on Chemo Hair

straight hair
Photo courtesy of Jordan Pfaff, almost 5 years old

I’ve never really liked the curly hair I got post-chemo. Now, it’s not as curly as when it first sprouted, but it’s definitely wavy and full, and on a humid Florida day (that would be, like, seven days a week, mostly year-round), it grows really big. Thank goodness for the flat iron, because I use my pretty pink one every. single. day. no. exceptions. (Well, except for that one day I let my locks go natural and Joey greeted me after school with an enthusiastic, “What happened to your hair?”)

OK, so I overuse my flat iron, and the crazy-hot heat is damaging my hair for sure. So realizing my strands really needed a break, I had this hair-straightening procedure done two weeks ago. Here’s how it worked: My hair stylist washed my hair and dried it, rubbed and combed in this solution, dried it again and then flat ironed it all over. For three days — OMG, three days — I could not wash my hair (ewww!), supposedly so the magic could lock itself in and straighten my hair for up to four months. And now that I’ve been washing and conditioning my hair for a bit (with special no-salt products), I’m here to tell you what I think about what cost me $150 (plus tip, plus $30-ish for products).

The Coppola Keratin Complex Smoothing Therapy seems to have some merit. It has not worked miracles, and I still have a sort-of bend in my hair, and it’s not immune to the effects of weather, but my hair is smoother and straighter now than it was pre-expensive treatment. I can blow-dry it and leave it as is, if I’m OK with a tiny bit of fluff, or I can dry it and pass through a couple of times with the flat iron — which is what I’ve been doing. My ideal scenario would have been to pack away the iron entirely, but my hair is just not as poker straight as I’d dreamed it would be, so I use it a little — much less than before, though, so that’s a good thing.

When four months is up, or whenenver the effects wear off, I’m not sure I’ll do this again. Truth be told, the no-shampooing thing was really hard, mostly because I like to exercise and sweat every day (so hair washing really is a daily necessity for me) and also because my hair got heavier and greasier by the day, and that just basically grossed me out. I guess if after three days I was rewarded with perfectly super-straight hair, I’d take the plunge and empty my wallet again, but it’s just not. It’s an improvement. Just not dead-on straight — you know, like the hair I had pre-cancer, the hair I permed non-stop because I was sure I wanted curls forever. Well, I was wrong. I don’t.