As you all may know, I recently returned to my brunette origins in the quest for shinier, healthier looking hair. I've spoken before about my hair journeys, but needless to say, I am a bit of a haircare obsessive- I use high end shampoos all the time, I constantly apply hair masks and intensive conditioning treatment, I look out for my hair. I had been contemplating getting a Brazilian blowdry for the longest time but I kept chickening out of it- I thought it was too expensive, I didn't like the thought of products being blasted onto my hair with heat products, and so on. Hairdressers opinions were very divided- with some telling me that I would be wasting my money, and others recommending it very forcibly! For the best part of 18 months I have grappled with the idea, but I finally took the plunge and did something about it.
I did a LOT of research of the different types of blowdries available, and settled on the 16 week QOD Organic Blowdry. It wasn't that it promises to calm your tresses for four weeks longer than other treatments, but it was the fact that it was an organic, conditioning treatment that appealed to me more than anything else. Condition is key when it comes to haircare. I decided to go to the Art Team on Lemon Street (just off Grafton Street) in Dublin 2 for the treatment. I had spoken to one of their hairdressers before when I was getting highlights and he recommended the treatment and said it would suit my hair type, and I did my research online and off I went. The 16 week blowdry costs €125 (supposedly it's on special offer at the moment but really, to the best of my knowledge, it has been €125 for the last year at least.) One thing I noticed in my research was that there were no extensive posts detailing the life cycle of a 16 week blowdry- from day 1 through to day 112. I found a few posts where people raved about how shiny their hair now was a day or a week later, but nothing extensive that followed the life span of a 16 week blowdry. I was inspired.
What I hoped to achieve was shinier, more manageable hair that would be easier to style in the mornings when I am rushing out for work (alot of the time I am out the door at 7.30 so my time is at a premium in the a.m.). I did not expect a permanent straightening solution- that is not what the 16 week blowdry does. I just wanted my hair to be smoother and more manageable, minimising the need for using heat products and styling creams on my hair, and thus helping the condition.
I had been to the Art Team before, and whilst I wasn't taken with the place enough to go back for my colour again, I was sufficiently confident that the 16 week blowdry would be executed well enough. It's just a fancy blowdry I thought. The brand of treatment they use is called QOD and on the Art Team website (www.theartteam.ie), they lay out the advantages:
Makes Hair Easier to Manage
Gives Hair a Protein Injection
Repairs Damaged Hair
Makes Hair Feel and Look Healthy
Leaves Hair Revitalized & Rejuvenated
Gives Hair a Natural Silky Shine
Helps Hair Growth
Can be applied to ALL Hair Types
Made up of Natural Ingredients such as Keratin & 15 Amino Acids
Does Not Damage or Alter Hairs Structure
Lasts up to 16 Weeks
So I was pretty sure that I would benefit from smoother, less frizzy, more manageable, repaired, healthier looking, revitalised and rejuvenised, stronger, shinier hair after undergoing this treatment. There was a video available on the website which showed the process- washing, blowdry, treatment, leave for five minutes, blowdry, straighteners, wash and condition and hey presto- shiny hair.
The girl who did it for me was working on the reception when I went in and she took me upstairs to the salon proper and suited me up in no time at all. It was straight to the basin for a pre cleansing shampoo- 2 rounds- which was fine. The shampoo smelt nice. There was no conditioner however, which caused me great concern because I cannot get even a Tangle Teezer through my hair if I don't use at least 2 conditioners. I was then taken back over the the seat and the girl there starting combing my hair- and the amount of knots and tangles I had made for a pretty excruciating session. When my hair was eventually dried, she blowdried it- not straight and not fully, it was still pretty damp, and she went downstairs to get the treatment and came back up and applied it section my section using a COMB and a brush. Emphasis on comb because I actually thought I wouldn't have a hair left in my head the way she was pulling it through my hair. The actual treatment itself took to my hair just fine- again it smelt like bananas but I didn't find it to be offensive.
I was a bit alarmed when she reached for the blowdryer straight away as soon as she had finished applying the product because on the video on the website, the girl was allowed to sit for five minutes and blowdrying was only commenced after a pause. I didn't say anything because I just put my trust in the hairdresser. The actual blow drying experience itself was really painful- there were tears in my eyes- hairs were being pulled from my head and it was desperately uncomfortable. The formula which applied so shiny and sleek turned to absolute sludge on my hair. It was disgusting and definitely not a pleasant experience. There was steam flying out of my head and it was beginning to smell rather like rotten bananas at this stage. But, in the pursuit of shiny hair, I thought that this was bearable and it would all be worth it in the end. When the straighteners were run through my hair, some of my hairs kept getting caught in the actual plates of the ghd causing them to pull out my hairs from the root- it was really sore- and again, the hairdresser struggled to get the comb and ghd through my hair. Rather worryingly, she was clamping my hair with the ghd whilst tearing the comb through my hair which was desperately knotty and tacky thanks to the treatment being blowdried into it.
But the worst part of all was, when she finished straightening it (complete with center parting even though I hate center partings and was not asked and did not arrive at the salon with a center parting), she just went 'oh you can't wash it now for 24 hours to let the treatment work'. To say I was shocked and appalled is an understatement- I took a late lunch from work to get the treatment done, I was returning to work that evening and I had to go back to work with dry, sticky, tacky hair that stuck out like straw from under a scarecrows hat!!) I was under the impression from the video on the Art Team website that my hair would be washed and conditioned and presentable to the world when I left the salon, instead I threw up my umbrella even though it wasn't raining and ran back to the office so people wouldn't see what a holy show my hair was. Interested in this video- here it is-
I have taken photos of my hair tonight, but to be honest, I am too ashamed to put them up online. My hair is like tacky straw tonight, and I was advised not to wash it for 24 hours to get the full benefit of the treatment (or else I have just wasted alot of money). On the Art Team website, it clearly says that you can wash or style your hair whatever way you want as soon as you leave the salon- no 24 hour delay mentioned- and I was also told this evening after the treatment was completed that I couldn't tie my hair up too tightly in case it would affect the treatment. I made it clear that I would be going back to the office after the treatment, and it was never mentioned to me that my hair would be such a holy show. I was so mortified by it that I just paid and ran but when I got back to the office, my fellow co-workers were appalled at the condition of my hair, especially when you pay a not inconsiderable sum of money to get a conditioning blow dry.
It is recommended that you use paraben/sulfate free shampoos after getting the treatment done to preserve the full effects- but to add further to my disastrous experience, the Art Team did not even have the shampoos and conditioners in stock and instead offered Moroccan Oil alternatives. I have used Moroccan Oil shampoos before and they did nothing for me whatsoever, I would have tried the other brand but I couldn't because apparently the producers of the treatment aren't giving them the shampoos and conditioners to sell- I wasn't going to waste €45 on a shampoo and conditioner that didn't do much for me the first time around.
I completely and utterly regret going into the salon today to get this treatment done, my hair is in a state. My hair feels like it dry, tacky, greasy straw, and I can't wash it for work tomorrow so I have to spend a day feeling like a leper, and my scalp is very itchy and sore tonight from all the pulling and yanking and that questionable ghd that my hair kept getting stuck on. I am raging with myself that I paid for a treatment when my gut instinct believed that it was wrong, and I will definitely be contacting the salon again in the morning to express my dissatisfaction at what I perceive to be false and misleading advertising (i.e. that the treatment would be shampooed out of your hair before leaving the salon and conditioner would be applied, that you wouldn't have a delay in styling your hair whatever way you want). My hair stinks like burned bananas tonight, and I cannot get a brush through from my roots to my tips. My scalp is itchy, and I can't wash my hair before work tomorrow. I feel like I got half a treatment, and whilst I am hoping that when I can wash my hair properly after my time is up that I have shiny hair underneath this hideous mess, I am worried. At this moment in time, I regret going to the Art Team for this treatment and I would definitely not recommend it- unless the results tomorrow are pretty spectacular, they will not be worth the pain and humiliation of walking into my office with manky, greasy looking straw like hair.
I will be calling the salon tomorrow and asking why my hair was not washed and conditioned after the treatment was applied- as is suggested by material on their website, in the QOD video embedded on their website and in previous reviews that I have read online. Of course, I will keep you all posted on the outcome, and I will keep you in the loop over the next few weeks as to the life span of the 16 week blowdry, whether it has made a difference to my hair, if I think it is worth it and any other relevant information. If you have any questions, please feel free to leave them below.