sanctuary logo

STYLE GUY: The Girl From Ipanema

The Style Guy was a monthly column that appeared in Birmingham Magazine for nearly ten years.  It was written each month by Sanctuary owner and stylist Todd Cargo.



"Tall and tan and young and lovely, the girl from Ipanema goes walking, and when she passes, each one she passes goes Ahhh." The lyrics to this old Bosa-Nova hit don't mention the girl's hair, but I'll bet my high-priced flat iron that her hair was not frizzy and unruly or the "Ahhs" would have quickly turned into "Ewwws"! She most probably had naturally sleek, long flowing hair with just the right amount of wave and fullness. Hair that blows in the tropical breezes but doesn't turn poofy or fuzzy from the tropical humidity. Yes, she most likely had naturally perfect hair which undoubtedly made her life easier. Apparently, everything about this girl was perfect, however, I have it on good authority that she was also kind of slutty and not well thought of by the townspeople. 

               If your own hair makes you feel more like The Girl From Nappy-Frizzy than from Ipanema, I know that this can be an especially trying time of year for you. If you covet this girl's care-free tresses, there is a way you can emulate her style, her hair that is--I'll leave the slutty part up to your own discretion--it's called the Brazilian Blowout or Keratin Smoothing Therapy. This relatively new hair treatment service leaves your hair smooth and shiny for months and unlike other "Brazilian" services you may have had, this one doesn't hurt. Okay you ask, what is it and what does it do? Well, quite simply it is a revolutionary process that softens, shines, straightens, and makes hair healthier. The Brazilian Blowout has actually been around for about five years and was invented in, well...Brazil. Well anyway, this treatment has been greatly improved over the last year or two and has really taken off in the U.S., especially in the southeast. The treatment is not a chemical that restructures the hair, as in thermal straightening. It consists mainly of Keratin which is the natural protein that comprises about 88% of your hair. The procedure is pretty simple: First your hair is shampooed twice with a clarifying shampoo to remove any buildup or coatings of product. Then your hair is blown out smooth and the keratin solution is applied so that it thoroughly coats each strand of hair root to tip. After allowing the hair to absorb the protein for about twenty minutes we re-blow dry the protein into the hair. That's followed by a thorough flat ironing of all hair which causes the keratin to crystallize and harden into and onto each strand. This fills and repairs the interior structure of the hair while creating a strong top-coat seal for the hair's surface. It penetrates the hair repairing internal damage and coats the hair preventing further damage. The results are smoother, silkier, and straighter hair. It is a replenishing treatment that reconditions and protects the hair from water and heat damage while enhancing its natural shine. The treatment is not permanent and it naturally fades out of your hair as the keratin coating wears thinner over time. Your natural wave or curl will gradually come back in about two to three months and your hair will stay soft, shiny, and healthy-looking even beyond that. The more often you do a Keratin treatment, the more improvement you'll see in the condition of your hair. This procedure doesn't fully straighten out curly hair, it simply smoothes the surface so that you have softer curls with no frizz, or allows you to blow it out smooth with minimal effort. If your hair is straight-but-frizzy, it will reduce the fuzz without removing fullness or body. By sealing the hairs surface it becomes faster to dry since it can no longer absorb as much water. This also makes it very resistant to absorbing humidity, virtually eliminating frizz, keeping your blow out as smooth as you left it that morning. 

               The price of a Keratin Treatment will vary by the length, thickness, and curliness of your hair, but the range is between $200 to $400 at most salons. The process can take from 2 to 4 hours but there are also newer Keratin-Express services available that take about an hour and cost $75 to $150. The Express service lasts 4 to 6 weeks and has the advantage of less commitment if you're unsure, or can be used to prolong the life of your prior Keratin Treatment.