Friday, 20 January 2012

Aaaaand Relax...

I have finally finally had an entire spate of good news, that includes getting test results from my cats own lumpectomy, which happened the same week as my one. So now that we're a whole cancer-free household (so long as they got it all this time...), I'm feeling a strange sensation creeping in. One I can just about recall from mid 2010, and so alien to me I can barely remember how to spell it. 'Re-laaxaychun'.

Starting with my hair. I'm being advised on a regular basis to control my worry by problem solving. My microphone head, growing at all angles and inclines, sticking up resolutely when I specifically need it to stick down, definitely qualifies as a worry. The gentle kind I am more than happy to be experiencing  granted, but still, a worry nonetheless. I'm trying to get back to a healthy level of self confidence, and rotund hair just isn't conducive.

Worry Solving Solution: Relax. The chemical version, rather than the emotional one this time. My hair angel Claire suggested a gentle treatment to help my hair grow out with some dignity. Which shamefully, in my position as beauty editor I hadn't even considered. It makes perfect sense that flat hair will behave 'better' than curly, it'll sit closer to the head and look like its following the downward rule of gravity, rather than the outward rule of post chemo regrowth.

Five minutes in a child-friendly home relaxing kit for Afro hair and suddenly my crop has gone from sh!t to chic. Now when I wash it I generally know what its going to look like till I wash it again. When I wake up in the morning, or simply get up from a horizontal position I don't look like Zoe Wanamaker plugged into a wall socket, and I don't need industrial strength product to stop my (curlier than anywhere else) sidies pinging up at alternate angles.

before                 after

Yes a trip to a salon might be a slightly safer bet if you're home-kit shy, or don't have a hair angel to hand. But I happen to know of a BOY (who shall remain anonymous) who regularly relaxes his hair at home, and if a useless boy can do it, I'm pretty sure anyone who has hair can.

We used Soft-Sheen Carson Dark and Lovely for Kids. It is a gentle (as gentle as chemically altering your hair can be), nourishing formula and it costs a tenner. Mine went on for five minutes, just like a home hair dye, then washed out thoroughly, then its ready to blow-dry. I'm now using extra moisturising shampoo and conditioner, because my hair isn't 'virginal' any more, but that's all it takes to keep it looking lovely still. With sideburns that grow in the same manageable direction at long last.

Now that my hair can relax, I'm taking its lead and making waves to apply the same rule to the rest of my life. This includes Glow Yoga (I'll report back soon), wedding planning (other peoples mega-stress is my fun downtime) and finding ways to sate my extreme chocolate craving without actually eating chocolate. I love a new challenge...

Claire Hair Relaxing Tips

1. When the product is on, keep combing or brushing through or you'll end up with it stuck in one parting or style.

2. Keep the product on for slightly less time than the instructions recommend. You can always re-do it if you haven't relaxed enough, but if it goes too straight, there's no going back. And too straight just doesn't look like natural hair anymore.

3. Don't use on bleached hair or put it directly on the scalp. I'd wait till you have a couple of inches hair growth.


  1. Thanks for posting this! I bought a hair relaxer at Boots this week, came home, read the reviews, and threw it in the bin before using it. I need to learn to read reviews first, then purchase. Oh well... Your hair looks fantastic, I've already placed my order and can't wait for it to get here! Congrats to you and the cat with the diagnoses :-)

  2. Hi Sophie

    Great to hear your good news! I'm also enjoying some good health news this week and look forward to days of worrying about normal stuff.

    This is a really useful blog. I've been dreading the growing out phase as I have a lot of curl in my hair that will misbehave as soon as it gets beyond the half centimetre buzz length I have now. I'll be buying the kit. You look lovely, as always (very Audrey in 'Roman Holiday')



  3. Sophie, your hair looks gorgeous. I bet loads of people say this to you, but it truly suits you and looks oh so chic! You're doing something really special with your blog here :) Congrats on your award from the Johnson & Johnson Awards