This is a review for the new permanent straightening kit by Boots.
I have the nightmare hair – thin but coarse, frizzy with unruly waves and curls. I used to flat iron my hair every day, causing massive damage to it, but then I gave up and got some extensions that made it appear a bit prettier. I even started using curling tongs to get some pretty waves.
Last week, however, I randomly discovered this straightening kit at Boots. I couldn’t resist buying it, even againts my better judgment. I believe some things should be left to the hairstylist, like bleaching, perms and the rest. However, I assumed that if this product was really dangerous it would not be sold (especially by Boots).
• What you get in the kit
3 plastic gloves – they are the nice latex ones, tight enough and easy to put on
2 hair clips – again pretty thoughtful, they keep your hair in place pretty well, I kept them after use
2 plastic capes
plastic comb – another useful thing to detangle wet hair, kept this one too
Intensive Conditioner – a very good treatment, smells like grapes and made my hair really shiny
• Before you straighten...
...you read through the manual. MORE times. There’s nothing worse than standing there with some unknown chemical on your hair and not knowing what to do about it. I read it many times and memorised development times and all to avoid panic. It’s pretty straightforward and tells you exactly what to do.
What is unclear however is how long you have to keep the straightening cream on. It says application time is about 15 minutes and development time 20 minutes, so altogether 35 minutes. I, however, applied the thing in about 5 minutes and wasn’t sure whether to keep it on for another 30 or just 15. I only realised this when the thing had been on my hair for 20 mins. If it’s unclear for anyone else ask in Boots when you buy the kit.
So, before you take the plunge you do a strand test. The manual tells you to cut off a strand, which I find really silly. If the strand gets ruined by the straightening then you cut it off anyway, and if it doesn’t you have a straight strand of hair. I chose a strand on the nape of my neck. While the cream was on I tried to pull it gently to see how elastic it was. NEVER skip the strand test.
• The straightening. Oh my.
I did it pretty much how the manual instucts you to do it. I separated my hair, clipped it up and applied the cream. I applied it starting about an inch from my roots. Then came the most boring and tiring part, combing and pulling your hair straight for more than half an hour. While you do that monitor the elasticity of your hair, and when it stretches, do wash off immediately.
After I washed off the straightening cream and blow dryed my hair, I tried pulling a single hair to test its state and it tore off VERY easily. Be gentle with your hair at this stage because it breaks so easily.
So, after straightening came another 10 minutes of neck strain when I pulled my hair straight with the neutraliser cream on. I made sure to apply the cream as close to my roots as possible to avoid hairs remaining fragile.
• The results
While I washed my hair I felt it was a lot smoother and less kinky. And when I blow dryed... oh my goodness. It actually dried straight without any effort. I almost cried in joy :) I had my hair treated with X-tenso and Alfaparf Hydratexture before and none of them made it this straight. Boots Straighten didn’t take out all the waves but the frizz is gone and when I flat iron my hair it stays straight all day (before it would stay straight for about 15 minutes). Today I briefly flat ironed my ends and went out in the humid English weather, and my hair stayed straight.
There are no signs of damage to my hair, no split ends or breakage. It did however strip some of my semi-permanent colour, be aware of that. Other than that as I suspected this is not industrial strength straightener. As with skincare and hair products, companies never use a large dose of active ingredients to avoid damage and allergic reactions. Boots Straighten is no different. If you keep to the development times and don’t use it on bleached hair I don’t see how this could cause any damage.
I’m very glad I used this product, it has made my life a lot easier, with less frizzy and stubborn curling up. I’d recommend it to anyone with wavy or curly hair. If you are Caucasian and decide to permanently straighten your hair, do get this instead of other relaxers. Most of them contain lye and are made for ethnic hair and will damage yours badly. Boots Straighten contains ammonium thyoglicolate, the substance used by hairdressers for perms.