Hair Care

By Andrea Toochin

Anyone with curly hair knows, before you know how to handle it, everyday is a bad hair day. This can be devastating for a child because until the last decade there were very few salons that specialized in curly hair. Now, I have too many choices, Ouidad, Devachan, and Christo to name a few. Originally, I chose Devachan over Ouidad and became a loyal devotee of the no-shampoo regimen. But, though my devotion was strong, I couldn’t resist a conditioning treatment at Christo’s Fifth Avenue outpost.

As with all curly hair, mine is always dry no matter what I do. Christo quickly assessed my hair, noting how dry and dull it was due to a lack of cleansing, and insufficient conditioner. “The most important thing is to nourish your hair from the inside out, to bring out the natural shine. The haircut is also very important; it must be right for your face and the texture of your hair.”

He instructed Alice, a senior stylist, to wash my hair with the Aqualizer, a special clarifying shampoo with witch hazel and citrus extracts, and to apply a combination of the Deep Therapy Masque and the salon-only treatment, the Ion Therapy. Though they recommended the Botanical Shampoo and Rinse on an everyday basis, the accumulation of buildup in my hair called for the Aqualizer, a shampoo that rids hair of product buildup, chlorine residue, and minerals left from hard water. The Deep Therapy Masque, one of their most popular products, uses wheat, corn, and rice proteins to condition hair from the roots.

While combing the conditioner through my hair, Alice gave me a lesson on the science of hair care. Hair, she said, needs amino acids and proteins for sustenance. Hair like mine should be trimmed every three months to keep the ends healthy, she instructed, but affecting the hair really starts with the roots. “If you want to prevent breakage and splitting, you have nourish the scalp so the hair grows in healthy.” The three main ingredients in the masque each serve different purposes in an effort to condition the scalp and promote the growth of healthy follicles. The rice protein strengthens hair, the corn protein adds body, and the wheat protein adds shine.

But, apparently, these three weren’t enough to treat my dull tresses. So, she added the Ion Therapy treatment, which balances the inherent electronic charges and allows moisture to penetrate the shaft of the hair.

After the conditioning treatment and a quick trim, Alice started applying product. She began with the Repair Styling Cream, a creamy leave-in conditioner with the same elements as the Deep Therapy Masque, which is meant for use once or twice a week. In addition to proteins, the cream also contains aloe, spirulina, honey, and vitamins A and E, to detangle the hair and soften it. After saturating small sections of hair, one at a time, she continued with a mixture of the Structura Lotion and the Control II, a strong gel. Slowly and thoroughly, she applied product to small section of hair, pulling the hair straight while applying a quarter -size dollop of the Structura and a dime-size drop of the Control II.

Now, this may seem like a lot of product to put in your hair – shampoo, two conditioners, a leave-in, and two styling products! My first thought was, how much time will this take to apply each morning and how much will it cost me? The answer is simple. Those with curly hair should only shampoo twice a week, at most. The rest of the week, you can rely on the potency of the products, which activate when the hair is wet. Alternatively, if you don’t plan to shower, the Protein Boost can be used on wet and dry hair as a leave-in or styling aid. Therefore, despite the many products involved with this system, the regimen wouldn’t cost much more than using regular salon products daily.

But, when you have curly, unruly hair, you accept that it will cost you time and money to get the look you want. Years of struggling to get the right shape and consistency make the effort and money spent well worth it, especially when you leave the salon looking like Shirley Temple. Now, when I say I had ringlets, I’m not lying. Devachan gave me the defined curls I wanted, but the drab brown color I always blamed on pigment was in fact due to the dullness Christo pointed out. Leaving the salon, I was so pleased with the style I was afraid to move my head too much lest I disturb the shiny curls. But, I shouldn’t have doubted Christo and Alice.

As she instructed, I put my hair in two braids that night and wore a scarf to bed. The next day, my soft, loose curls were still in tact. On the third day, a bit more frizz surfaced in the back of my head, but I had much product to apply. If you’re at all unhappy with your curls, book an appointment at Christo’s – his exceptional staff and product line will help you come to terms with your curls. One session there and straight hair envy will have been a momentary lapse in judgment.

Christo
574 Fifth Avenue
New York, NY
212.997.8800
http://www.curlisto.com

Haircuts start at $135 and conditioning treatments start at $85.

Originally published March 2006
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