The "Other" Brazilian
Go ahead strangers: Rub, touch and smell her hair; she'll do just about anythingto get rid of the frizzies
Some little girls dream of being a supermodel. The clothes, the glamour, the impossibly long legs .... who could resist?
Me? I briefly entertained the idea of being a Las Vegas showgirl after seeing an episode of the Phil Donahue show years ago. There was a 5-foot-10 height requirement and I easily met that as a teenager. But I like carbs and have two kids, so my dreams of dancing in a headdress Cher and Lady Gaga would fight over have long since slipped away.
So I was elated recently when asked to be a model — a hair model. This was a gig I could definitely do. No crazy lemon juice and cayenne pepper crash diet required.
Dakota Clay, a stylist at Craft Salon, was teaching a Brazilian Keratin Treatment class and needed a model with shorter, naturally wavy to curly hair to receive the treatment while other stylists watched, took notes, asked questions and fondled my head. The BKT is a treatment that infuses keratin into the hair, forcing it to lie straighter and frizz less. Since my hair poofs out, falls flat and flips out on one side in humidity, I was the perfect candidate. And since my hair is chin-length, the process would take considerably less time.
I settled into the chair while 30 stylists sat in front of me, looking curiously at my hair. The thing about being a model is people look at you … a lot. And while it’s a no-no to grapple models on the runway, my hair modeling experience was quite different.
A BKT is done in several steps, so Clay first washed my hair with a clarifying shampoo, stripping it of oils and product. This, of course, meant head touching, which oddly enough, was relaxing, like I was at the spa, but with wacky hair and people staring.
She blew my hair dry and began to apply the keratin, covering each strand. Human hair is 88-percent keratin, so the additional keratin encourages it to lie straighter. There was another round of intense blow-drying, followed by flat-ironing at 450 degrees. There was also intermittent rubbing, touching and smelling of my hair by complete strangers, but I didn’t mind. The promise of frizz-free hair was just moments away.
The whole process took two-and-a-half hours and ended with stylists enjoying one last look and feel of my hair.
For me though, the BKT adventure wasn’t over.
There’s no washing, clipping, ponytailing or sweating for four days post-BKT. Did I mention I live in Houston? Where sweating is our summer pastime?
You can however, flat iron, blow dry and brush during the four days of hair hell. But, by the end of my BKT boot camp, the non-sulfate free shampoo was the best experience ever and the end result is, well, model-worthy. My highlights look even more vibrant, my hair dries within minutes and best of all, no frizz.
A BKT isn’t a straightener and quite frankly, not everyone knows how to apply it, so Clay says to ask questions before signing up for the treatment.
“You will know very quickly if the person knows what they are doing by how they answer your questions. If they aren’t certified or if they can’t tell you how something works and why, don’t have them do your BKT,” Clay says.
BKTs are expensive, starting at $300 and can take two to fours hours to do, depending on hair length. There is some question and controversy about formalin, methylene glycol and other forms of formaldehyde, a key ingredient in most BKT formulas. Many BKT formulas contain a small amount in the product to bind and preserve the keratin on the hair.
The Marcia Teixeira BKT used during my treatment contains 1.98 percent of methylene glycol and I didn’t experience any reaction, unpleasant odors or fumes. It’s a personal decision for sure, but the reality is, in order for a BKT to work and last there is some kind of formalin in most products. The ones that are formalin-free often contain other chemicals and won’t last as long. Again, talk to your stylist and take the time to research the brands.
As for me, I’m hooked. I know I have four months to enjoy this heavenly hair and who knows? It may be just the encouragement I need to make all of me runway ready.