When I saw the advert for the Charles Worthington Salon at Home kits on TV I thought: How great would it be if they really work? So I decided to buy the Straight and Smooth for coloured hair (as I have highlights) to find out.
It is a great concept, especially now with the colder, wet season, when my hair, which is primarily straight but quite fine, tends to kink and “wave” at the first sign of humidity. Also, most girls from Brazil, like myself, have this unhealthy obsession with poker straight hair, going to unimaginable lengths to flatten our locks (one of my cousins actually lost a big section of hair at the top of her head when applying professional relaxing hair products she shouldn’t use at home… traumatising, especially when it started to grow again and poked out like a palm tree growing in the middle of her head). I had one or two Brazilian blow dries in the past, but because my hair is so fine, it felt very greasy after the treatment, so I am not very partial to those, but I still want the effect, so the Charles Worthington product seemed well worth a go.
I bought the kit from Boots for £13.99 (a launching promotion, retail price is £19.99). It is worth noting that this kit is not suitable for bleached hair and if you have curly hair won’t get a “poker straight” result.
After reading the step by step instructions carefully, I washed my hair, put on the gloves, set my timer to 20 minutes and using the provided comb, started application. I had two concerns: the first one was the type of chemicals (what if my hair fell? Even though I know it is quite unlikely with over the counter products, after my cousin’s trauma, this is always a concern for me); the second is that I panicked when I read I should not have the straightening cream on my hair for more than 20 minutes, from the time you start application – I pictured myself having to stop halfway after the time was finished and waste the treatment. Both of them, I am glad and relieved to confirm, were unfounded fears – my hair is still firm on my head and application was easy and took slightly under ten minutes.
After applying, I waited for the remaining ten minutes and thoroughly rinsed my hair and prepared for the neutralising conditioner phase. The straightening cream left my hair extremely coarse, and it was quite hard to de-tangle in preparation for the conditioner. After leaving the conditioner to work for five minutes, it was time to rinse again.
I expected my hair to be smooth after that, but it was very tangled and still coarse, so de-tangling and blow drying (which is a compulsory stage of the treatment) was very hard. After the hair dried, it felt quite smooth and silky, although if I moved, it would tangle quite badly.
I followed the blow dry with straightening irons, which is not required but recommended. My hair looked shiny, straight and quite smooth to touch. As a last instruction, I shouldn’t wash or tie my hair for two days, for the treatment to seal.
One thing I didn’t like is the chemical smell that remained on my head for a good three days. They mentioned the straightening cream is quite smelly when you have it on your head, but it didn’t bother me much, as I was expecting it.
It was horrible to wait two whole days to wash my hair, the smell and the dirty feeling were almost unbearable, but I suppose this is just me, as my hair gets quite dirty quickly and I must wash very often, if not daily, every other day without fail! When I washed, I expected it to be very tangled, but it wasn’t too bad. Hair was rather soft.
I didn’t blow dry after the first wash, and my hair dried relatively straight – I noticed that the back, where the product stayed for longer, is straighter than the front. While it gives me the illusion of more length and that is great, I would like the front to look exactly the same.
The After Care conditioner they give you with the kit is alright, I used it a few times, but I used my Kérastase hair mask, which I apply once a week, on the first wash and my Kérastase conditioner once or twice.
A week since application, I could still feel my hair is straighter, heavier, with less fly-aways, and after a quick dry with the blow dryer it looks really good. It also feels smoother and softer, but still tangles more than it did previous to treatment, and feels coarser when brushing or combing it wet – not as much as after the application, but slightly more than it was before.
Ten days on, I started to feel my hair a bit coarse again; I lost a bit of that “straight” feeling. Also, when I wash my hair, doesn’t matter how many times I shampoo it, it feels a quite greasy to touch when wet; it is a weird feeling, as it looks clean after drying. It feels like, when wet, I have some product on my hair that won’t go away!
Two weeks after application, the feeling described above is no longer there; I can still feel my hair heavier and smooth, but less than it was after application. If I blow dry and straighten, it looks great, and it last well. If I don’t it doesn’t dry too straight. If I only blow dry, it doesn’t seem to resist humidity and the kinks are back in no time.
I am not totally convinced: although I enjoyed the effects, i wish they lasted longer. There were a few subtle changes in my hair’s texture that bothered me. Plus, I would probably not fork out the retail price of £19.99. My assumption is that if you have curly hair it could tame it and maybe take the frizz and make it more manageable, but for someone with straight-ish hair, like myself, the effects are not life changing.