Sunday, March 14, 2010

Review- Yuko system straightening treatment at Bumble and Bumble NYC

(*Above is the before and after pic)

Oh Richard Corio, how ever do I thank you? I mean how does one properly and sufficiently show gratitude to someone who, since our interaction, has made everyday a day that I love my hair? I know. No, really, I know. That's a bold statement. I have been a client of Bb since 2005 but this is my first foray into permanent straightening of any kind. I love love love the salon, my sublime stylist Amy Farid and my beloved colorist, Tippy. As soon as I tossed out the idea to the team that I might want to go straight for a good long while, they both nodded enthusiastically before telling me I had "to seek out Richard," Bb's resident expert on the matter. (He is also a well-loved stylist and all-around super-cool guy!) After meeting for a quick consult after a haircut, I sensed why Richard is so special. His whole vibe is so cool, relaxed and best of all, experienced.
I had about two weeks before my appointment which only served to increase my excitement and anticipation ten-fold. I poured through magazines looking for the most killer haircut I could rock with stick straight hair (I settled on a long-heavily-layered-thick-bangs-look), I told everyone I knew I was taking the proverbial plunge, I wore my hair curly for like 8 days in a row to have a proper goodbye. Finally the day arrived and I did my best to steel myself for what I had been told would be a minimum of 5 hours in the chair. I should add at this point in the post that my scalp is like a little baby bird. To say I have a "tender scalp" is a huge understatement. For instance, at age 7, my mom, well-versed in raising girls mind you (she has 3) dragged me to the hair salon to get a Dorothy Hamill because she was so tired of my complaining, crying and whining every time she had to brush and style my hair.
Anyway, I arrived at Bb and we went right to it. The process began with the first of several piles of chemicals (and I do not mean that in a derogatory way at all I promise!). Apparently my hair soaked up the treatment so fast that as soon as it was fully applied, it was ready to be rinsed off. Richard figured out later that it was likely because I had gotten highlights the day before (which is NOT recommended, btw, but fortunately I escaped with every strand on my head intact). After rinsing, I got the first of 2 blow-drys, although this one was more of a rough-dry (which is the lingo for a haphazard blow-dry to simply dry the hair and ready it for the next step). Once dry again, my hair was saturated with the next pile of chemical compounds. This one stayed on a good thirty minutes. The cocktail then got blown into my hair with a blowdryer hotter than the fury of 10,000 fiery suns. And if I use the word meticulous to describe Richard's technique that's not even the half of it. The man literally knows how much heat and for how long to hold the dryer over any given section based on its current reaction to the sauce. Plus, no strand gets left behind. After my hair was completely and utterly dry as a bone, the hotter-than-Hades straightening iron came out. And dammit if every solitary lock of hair didn't interface with that iron. Between this and the former step, you can see why this undertaking is so time-consuming albeit relative to your own hair's length and thickness. Once this was finished I had hair like a sheet of glass. The texture on a molecular level was forever altered and that specific quality of this whole thing was unmistakable even to my untrained eye. As for the feel of my new hair? The smoothest and softest most loving consistency I've ever known.
Now as for the above-posted pictures: the first is a before pic and the second picture was taken immediately after in the dressing room.
I would absolutely recommend this for someone who has the cash to invest. (Yes, it's pricey. The cost is also based on your natural texture plus the aforementioned length and volume in addition to how much time it ends up taking.) You are also a good candidate, imo, if you wash and dry (and iron) your hair more than 3x a week, you feel better/sexier/more radiant with straight hair AND you are willing to deal with the aftermath aka the growth process (which I have yet to experience so I can't really speak with authority on what it's going to entail other than being told this lasts a year and many people do a touch-up at 6 months to address new growth). Previous to the treatment, I washed and styled my hair 2 or 3x a week. Because the essence of this product is deeply conditioning, my hair does get oily a lot faster than before leading to me wash it approx. 4 times a week now. I add this because I know some are drawn to this option so they don't have to wash and style so frequently. Having said that, with my new regime, it's fair to say it takes half the time it used to and I rarely if ever break out my iron anymore. I don't know if I'll do the 6 month touch-up or redo the whole shabang come December but I will absolutely do this again at some point. I do occasionally miss my waves or even having the option to whip out my curling iron for some roller rink hair. Alas, my view of hair is that at the end of the day, "it's only hair" and it'll grow out if some style/color risk goes horribly wrong. If you are considering this, I say go for it and commit to do it with a pro. Richard has been doing this for a decade and he trained with its creators in Japan. Do find someone who has interacted with lots of different types of hair with this process. Bonus points if you find someone who you pleasantly mesh with for pretty much a full day of poking, prodding and pulling like I did!

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