I know you. I know you very well.
I used to be you.
Which is why I’m asking you to do the smart thing. Get up, and put your straightener away at the back of the closet.
Not convinced? Let me start from the beginning.
How I got addicted to a Flat Iron
My addiction to my hair straightener (a black titanium straightener) started when I finally figured how everybody’s hair in my college was poker straight–and I mean poker straight (can you sense my fake Delhi accent?).
But what’s the need for you to straighten your hair, my mom asked me as she bought it for me (I was 18 at that time). You have straight hair!
DISCLAIMER: Your mother is always right. Listen to her.
But Mom, it’s not poker straight, I replied.
Like every other addiction, it started out innocent. An event in my college or going out for dinner had me taking my straightener out once in a blue moon.
Soon, I started wearing my hair straighter than usual in classes.
My friends were relieved that at least one out of six of us had bought a flat iron, you know, in case they needed it. More importantly, they understood it. They understood me. They saw my thick locks of jet black hair looking straighter and stylish than usual. They loved it.
So I loved it.
So I did it through college.
And then I did it through my days of Broadcast Journalism.
And then I did it through my days of working at Headlines Today, now known as India Today TV.
How? You may ask. Aren’t you supposed to be working?
Yes, I did. I worked 8-10 hours on an average, boring day. I was miserable with the bounty of work put on my dainty shoulders. But my shoulders better be sporting a batch of freshly straightened hair.
I was hooked to my flat iron as people are to cigarettes. Time went by and things got worse.
Time went by and things got worse.
My straightener or the lack of it determined how good or bad I looked on Monday. And Tuesday. You can guess the rest.
If I had the choice between eating my breakfast or straighten my hair, I would choose the latter.
My boyfriend (and now ex-boyfriend) would have spent a few extra minutes waiting for me to get out of the bathroom, happy with my hair to even try to be happy at our date.
Years went by and so did my hair.
My hair didn’t just break–it fell. From the root to the ends.
My hair was quite thick: I didn’t even need a volumizing mousse to style it. But the more I ironed, the more it fell., but considerably thinned out and looks almost comical when I tie it into a ponytail.
It’s considerably thinned out and looks almost comical when I tie it into a ponytail.
And skipping heat protecting spray had its own shit to deal with: recurrent heat on the same strands in the front section of my hair (along with my then stressful life) led to premature graying.
It was on one of these days: between my office and my bathroom, that I need to give it up.
Get with the program.
Here’s a four-step approach that helped me break the habit of styling my hair consistently with a straightener.
- Hide it. I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again. Hide that flat iron in a place that’s not so accessible to you or just give it away. I did both, by the way.
- Tell yourself you look good without straightening your hair. If you’re deep into it, chances are you will look in the mirror and not be happy with yourself. There might be times you don’t feel like going out. But power through and embrace how your hair looks, naturally too.
- Use the right products to fight frizz and flyaways. Blow-dry your hair (on cool settings) to give it a bit of sanity and embrace the natural texture of your hair (wavy, moody, frizzy or curly). There are enough products in the markets for flyaways and frizziness. Your hair straightener will call you out and tell you, you ain’t lookin’ good. Breathe, and let the moment pass.
- Opt for a low maintenance look. This is not the kinda boyfriend who’ll let you go so easily. So it’s best you go Cold Turkey for a few months. Go to your hairstylist and opt for a no-nonsense haircut (like a long bob) that needs minimum styling. In other words, your hair should look good without using a flat iron.
Once you break your addiction, you can own and use a hair straightener but only to enhance what you love about yourself and your hair. Remember–it doesn’t control you. You control it. Quite literally.
What’s your story? Which hair styling equipment has got you under its control? Tell us in the comments’ section.