Thursday, December 27, 2007

Weekly conditioning -- do you really need the cap?

This fall, I bought one of those Martian-type microfiber hats so that I could start giving myself weekly deep conditioning treatments. I'm here to tell you this cap is a waste of time and money.

This lovely item - which ranges in price anywhere from $14 to $20 -- is an impressively constructed chapeau with pockets into which you insert the included gel packs. Inserting the gel packs is the first sign of impending annoyance but you do it because, as with most beauty products, you think your looks will improve after the ordeal is over and you're willing to be a little inconvenienced to get that improvement.

So, you figure out which gel packs go into which pocket -- a nice little IQ test to take while conditioner drips down your neck -- and then once they're all safely where they should be, you microwave the cap for about 1 minute, 30 seconds to two minutes (depending on your microwave). This is when you discover your second annoyance: if you overheat the hat, the gel packs break, releasing a toxic substance into your hat and thus, your hair. So, you must be vigilant as you heat this piece of high fashion apparel.

While you wait, you could wet down your hair (if you haven't already done so) and slather on a ton of deep treatment conditioner. (I had been using Jessicurl's Weekly Deep Conditioning Treatment. I love all her products.) Comb it through and move your hair up onto the top of your head.

Two minutes later, you have a nice warm hat that you then place on your head (don't forget to fasten that strap for take-off!). Obviously, you would want to do this when your significant other is not at home. Unless, of course, you like being the butt of jokes.

You sit with this cozy warm cap on your head for 30 minutes or so. Your head will be warm but not uncomfortably so. You then remove the cap and rinse out the conditioner and get on with your life.

After a few uses, you'll probably want to wash the cap (it's made of microfiber). Out come the gel packs, then. You wash the cap like you would any towel. Then you must reinsert the gel packs. That is, if you haven't destroyed them in the microwaving process.

After about four uses, I took out my gel packs, only to discover to my horror that they were strangely misshapen -- I couldn't tell whether they'd leaked or what. Had I been exposed to the toxic innards?

Needless to say, out went the hat. Risk of poisoning and having to deal with proper placement of the packs just wasn't making me happy.

So, what do I do now to deep condition my hair? Something that Devachan Salons recommend for their curly-haired clients: Apply a bunch of really good conditioner to your dry hair at night, put on one of those satin sleep bonnets you can get in any drugstore, and go nitey-nite. Wake up in the morning, remove the bonnet, rinse out the conditioner, and you're done. No complicated, time-consuming bullshit.

Oh, and for those of you who do not want to sleep in conditioner (or a bonnet), my hair lady here in San Francisco at Sassy Salon says you can just put a deep treatment on your hear, cover it with a cheap plastic shower cap (like the kind hotels give you), and then wrap your head in a towel. Sure, go ahead and laugh but is it any less glamorous than that stupid cap? And let's not forget the absence of toxic substances!

Simple is always better, you know?

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