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Hi, my name is Ally, and I am a heat-styling addict. My hair-frying obsession started in the 6th grade when, deep within my Christmas stocking lurked a pink, mini Conair flat iron. One whirl with my new tool and I was hooked. Throughout the years, I’ve exhausted multiple straighteners, experimented with curling irons, and flirted with expensive blow dryers. While I love the sleek locks and perfect waves, I’m not crazy about the over-complicated AM routines, brittle ends, and diminished shine that accompany them. In an effort to undo years of bad hair habits, I’m embarking on week-long heat tool detox—click through the slideshow to see how I fared.
Pre-Challenge Prep: Raising a child may take a village, but pulling off a sleek, heat-free ‘do requires an army of products. In preparation for the challenge ahead, I’m rounding up the hair equivalent of a dream team:
TONI&GUY Cleanse Shampoo for Fine Hair
TONI&GUY Nourish Conditioner for Fine Hair
Kérastase Cristalliste Lumiere Liquide – Prime
Captain Blankenship Mermaid Sea Salt Spray
amika™ Perk Up Dry Shampoo
Number 4™ Super Comb Prep & Protect
Agave’s healing Oil Treatment
SHU UEMURA Art of Hair Essence Absolue Cream in Oil
Beauty Protector Protect & Treat Hair Mask
Day One: My initial plan of attack? Keeping yesterday’s blowout going for as long as possible. (That’s not cheating—is it?) To minimize the oil accumulating on my scalp, I sprinkle on a decent amount of Oscar Blandi’s Pronto Dry Shampoo. Of all the no-wash products I’ve tried, this powder is my all-time favorite. The extra-fine formula tackles excess oils and gives my super thin strands a much-needed volume boost.
Day Two: I’m starting to look like a 50’s era greaser. I suds up with TONI&GUY Shampoo and Conditioner. Then, I treat my dehydrated locks to Beauty Protector’s nourishing mask, which contains argan oil, honey and amber preserve texture and shine. Post-shower, I work Kérastase Cristalliste Lumiere Liquide – Prime into my strands to prevent frizz. I follow Katia’s wavy hair technique, spritz on Captain Blankenship Mermaid Sea Salt Spray, and pull my hair back into two, low-slung twists. I let my hair air-dry on my way to work, and unleash my waves when I get to the office. Tah-dah!
Day Four: Post-shower, I thoroughly douse my hair with Number 4™ Super Comb Prep & Protect. A leave-in conditioning spray, it smells lovely and gives my hair a nice sheen. To style, I place a stretchy headband around the crown of my head. Starting from one side, I take small sections of hair and loop them around and into the band. I keep wrapping until all of the hair is inside the band—and voila, an effortless Princess Roll.
Day Five: I face up to my fears and let my hair air-dry loose—no braids or headbands allowed. While it’s still wet, I use a wide-tooth comb to work out any kinks and knots. Then I work in Agave’s healing Oil Treatment. Unlike most hair oils, which I find too runny, this one has a thick, syrupy consistency that sinks into frayed strands without feeling heavy. Not only does the tropical fragrance smell like a beach vacation in a bottle, the results aren’t half bad either—my hair looks soft and shiny.
Day Six: At this point, I’m struggling to come up with new heat-free styles. To figure out some new ‘do options, I head over to Brooklyn’s hip, laidback salon The Parlour to chat with the owner Nacki Karcher. She suggests four new hair options for me to try out: A high, rockabilly knot; a double-knot Mohawk; a messy side bun; and a faux side shave. To create each look, she uses Davines This is a Medium Hair Spray to add some texture and hold.
Day Seven: Today, I opt for a variation of the messy bun I picked up yesterday at the salon. After creating a deep side part, I pull my hair into a low, side pony. I take a small piece of hair and wrap it around the base of the ponytail to mask the elastic. I warm a teeny bit of Fekkai Brilliant Glossing Crème in my palms and use it to smooth away any frizz and cowlicks along my part. Then I lightly tease the hair in my pony to add some funky texture. I kind of look like Punky Brewster—I also kind of love it.
Post-Challenge Reflections: Despite my initial hesitation, I thoroughly enjoyed this challenge! While I’m not breaking up with my blow dryer just yet, I welcomed the brief vacation from my typical fry-and-go routine. I will now be adding Katia’s signature waves, the messy side pony, and a host of colorful accessories to my regular hair repertoire.