Although I have had a lifelong struggle with wild waves that stalk my collarbone, I firmly believe that I can never fully understand the problems of the follicle challenged with hair different than mine.
(Hair by Nicky Clarke)
Yes I do have complete empathy for people who have naturally curly hair and want sleek straight locks. I have never personally fought the anti-curl battle armed with an array of curl containment hair products, gels, creams, blow dryers and flat irons. So how can I really understand the agony of trying to achieve a long lasting sleek straight set? I guess that I can't.
One thing I have learned from the HairBoutique.com over the past several years is how passionately people hold beliefs about how hair should be worn by themselves and other. I personally hold the belief that people should wear their hair whatever way they feel most comfortable, whether curly, straight or sticking straight up. Whom am I to judge what works?
People with naturally curly hair may be the most passionate group of the lot in their beliefs about whether to let the natural curls reign or to whip them into straight shining locks.
Although people with wavy hair like me struggle with our own follicle demons, it is usually easier to hide waves and cowlicks than it is to go from super curly to super straight without a massive investment of time and energy.
Once a naturally curly headed person decides that they absolutely must have the super sleek straight look, there are more hurdles to consider.
One challenge involves trying to find a good straightening treatment that works, doesn't fry the hair and lasts for a reasonable amount of time. The options for transforming curls into straight locks are endless. On one spectrum there is the temporary straightening balms like Robert Hallowell's Prawduct the flat factor and Paves Professional Relaxing Balm. Phytologie's Phytodefrisant which works exceptionally well with a paddle or oval bristle brush and a blow dryer. If you want perfectly straight hair you can finish up with a special straightening tool that gives you silky locks.
On the other spectrum there is permanent straightening which involves some serious chemicals that can and do cause structural changes to the hair cuticle. Although they can work well for some, there are definite risks involved for others.
Is there a way to achieve less curls without chemicals that can last for at least several weeks? Yes there is.
The Miano-Viel Salon and Spa in Midtown Manhattan (212-980-3222) has a special secret treatment created by Minako that turns super curls into soft straight locks or waves. The good news is that the treatment has been working for many curly and wavy headed clients for several years. Mirabella Magazine wrote about Minako and her treatment back in 1997 after sending an undercover magazine reporter for the treatment. The Mirabella reporter had a wonderful straightening experience.
Hair Straightening Wizardy
Minako is still going strong into the middle of 2001 and has been joined by Mami to help handle the constant demand for this popular non-toxic treatment. I personally called on the phone and talked to a representative of Miano-Viel Salon under the guise of making an appointment for my wavy hair. I asked a lot of questions of this very helpful and patient person as I tried to drill down and get the scoop on the treatment.
(Hair by Java of Chemsford).
I was told that the treatments really work great for almost everyone. Can I prove it? No. Do I recommend it? Well only after you evaluate the process for yourself by calling and talking to someone at the salon or going in for an appointment.
It does seems that Minako is a wizard at straightening curly and wavy locks. Her totally non-toxic non-chemical secret straightening goo has its origins in Japan where Minako used to live. When Minako opened up shop in Manhattan she introduced her special formula to the curly haired masses and the rest is history.
The treatment costs approximately $150 for shoulder length hair plus an additional $50 for a blowout by Minako or Mami at the end of the treatment. The salon rep told me I could have someone else blow my hair out for a lesser cost but that most people prefer Minako or Mami since they can turn hair into absolutely unreal, silky straight perfection.
(Hair by Michael Yaxley, Photography by Alan Morton).
I was also informed that the longer your hair, the more expensive the treatment. When I mentioned that I had hair that was several inches below my waist I was told that my treatment would probably cost between $200 and $250 and that the blow dry might be around $75.
Note: Please note that all prices listed are subject to change. Please call the salon for a current price quote for any treatments).
I was also told that these prices quoted were estimates and the final cost is presented at the time you and your head of hair arrive at the salon. A lot depends on length, thickness and intensity of curls. It is hard to predict over the phone what the treatment will require.
I was also told that with all my thick long hair that the treatment would talk longer than the normal 1-2 hours and there was no way to predict exactly how long. However, when pressed the salon representative told me that I could plan on 3 hours at the salon.
Book Appointments In Advance
When I mentioned that I would have to fly to New York for the treatment I was advised to book 2-3 weeks in advance. This treatment is extremely popular with both males and females.
Consequently both Minako and Mami are extremely sought after for the treatments. I was also told that I should plan plenty of time for the appointment especially if I wanted Minako or Mami to personally blow dry my hair at the conclusion of the process.
(Hair by Michael Yaxley, Photography by Alan Morton)
I was also told that I could plan on no frizz for at least 3 months and maybe longer. The salon rep told me that the average length of time that the treatment lasts is 3 months but some people have reported that the treatment has lasted as long as 5 months. The salon rep also warned me that some of the treatment would come out in the first shampoo but that the worst I could expect would be very relaxed very large waves. No curls or kinky waves and definitely no frizz.
This treatment offers lots of challenges, especially to people like me that don't happen to live in or near New York City. Yes your hair will be smeared with smelly gooey stuff that is a secret recipe. You will have to sit in a salon anywhere from 1 to 3 hours looking like an X Files refugee (depending on your hair length and thickness) with your hair poking straight out on special sticks. Then you will have to part with several hundreds of dollar.
OK, so who said that being beautiful was easy? If you have naturally curly or wavy hair and feel that straight silky hair is beautiful than this may be the treatment for you. The good news is that you get straight results without the chemicals or the temporary gels.
My only question is why Seinfeld who gave us the Soup Nazi never had Elaine hole up at Miano-Viel Salon for the X Files straight hair treatment. After all, it would have made a great episode.