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Have a good hair day... every day for four months


Grainne Cunningham getting the 16-week blow dry

Grainne Cunningham getting the 16-week blow dry

Grainne Cunningham after getting the 16 week blow dry

Grainne Cunningham after getting the 16 week blow dry

Grainne Cunningham before the 16-week blow dry

Grainne Cunningham before the 16-week blow dry


Grainne Cunningham getting the 16-week blow dry

Frizz is not a hair style most of us seek to achieve. There was a moment in the 1980s when big hair was in and even the mane of stars like Julia Roberts looked a little fuzzy around the edges - but sleek, shiny, glistening hair is what we strive for.

That Jennifer Aniston-inspired perfection just oozes grooming and control. Unfortunately, typical Irish hair tends to be fairly coarse and when you throw the soft weather into the mix, people like me end up looking like crazed fuzzballs more often than we would like.

Then along came the 12-week blow-dry, the dream answer for those who like to spend less than five minutes doing post-shower coiffure. It was, of course, too good to be true and in 2010, the treatment was banned because of the carcinogenic content of the heated formaldehyde. Back to the frizz.

Then I spotted an advertisement for the 16-week blow-dry and hope blossomed once again.

Could there really be a product that was organic, safe, good for my hair but would still calm the dreaded frizz? Yes, according to Derrick Healy, owner of The Art Team salon where heads are made sleek and smooth again.

However, he stresses their product is NOT a hair straightener, it's a blow-dry. You will not get razor-straight tresses straight out of the shower. You have to work on the hair, using a brush and heat, but the hair is much more manageable, softer and smoother and generally more biddable.

"In my professional opinion, this product is exceptionally good, giving results as close to the pre-ban as you can possibly get," says Derrick.

Getting the 16 weeks out of the product is down to the individual customer (see panel for tips to make it last). The Art Team have two main products - QOD Silver (€125) and QOD Gold (€150). The latter is for coarser hair types like mine. Stylist Aoife Higgins takes about 50 minutes to apply the product which smarts ever so slightly after application.

The great feature of the Gold product is that most of it is washed out on the day so you could walk out of the salon and go for dinner or drinks. The Silver is left in for 24 hours so you should probably bring an umbrella to hide under.

On the day, I left the salon with the straightest hair I have ever had in my life although it was also at least a shade lighter than when I woke up that morning. Although Aoife had washed most of the product out, there was still a residue in my hair which you are advised to leave in for at least 24 hours. You shouldn't wear a hat, scrunchies or anything that touches your hair.

And you must not get it wet. If you do, you must dry it as quickly and thoroughly as possible. Of course it was a showery day so I spent it cowering under a brolly.

In the weeks since the application, just as Derrick predicted, the only way to get it straight is to use the hairdryer and a good brush, a knack I have little talent for. Pre blow-dry, I wouldn't attempt to go for a straight look but these days, I can actually achieve sleek and smooth all on my own.

Making the treatment last is largely up to you

Here are a few key points to remember about the 16-week  blow-dry:

It is is not a straightening product - it is intended to de-frizz hair and make it more manageable.

You will still have to blow-dry your hair but it should take far less time.

Your hair can still be styled after the treatment and it will probably appear between 50-60pc straighter than usual.

You must use sulphate-free shampoo and conditioner - most hair cleansers contain sulphate or salt which has a corrosive effect on your hair.

If you swim regularlyl, you will need to coat your hair with conditioner beforehand to provide a protective barrier.

Your hair is likely to appear one shade lighter after the treatment - mine certainly did.

If you have coloured hair, you can still have the treatment done but it is recommended to have the treatment before doing your colour.

QOD Silver and Gold are both suitable for pregnant women.

The treatment is organic and includes keratin and amino acids, giving hair a protein injection. Damaged hair should look and feel healthier after the treatment, with more natural shine.

Irish Independent