Blog: Chemical Straightening

I met Janelle Rennie, marketing manager of the Caci Medispas a few weeks back for the first time and LOVED her! When she told me all about her chemical hair straightening excapades I knew I wanted to share them with you guys, so enjoy! – Kate

Now I don’t know about you, but these days, the only place that I want hair is on my head, and I want it to be gorgeous, sleek, soft and sexy. I love that people admire my ‘mane’ and I wish to keep it that way.

As a young North Canterbury farm girl, I can be forgiven for taming my mousey brown, frizzy tresses each day with a gingham scrunchy and completely forgetting about it. As I reached high school, the girls at my boarding school were less forgiving, and my “white girls’ afro” was quite the butt of jokes. Although I laughed, deep down it really affected my self confidence, why wasn’t I blessed with gorgeous long sleek hair or tight defined curls like everyone else seemed to be?

Come university I decided to fight the frizz! I attacked my locks daily with a combination of hair dryers, straighteners, heat resistant sprays, moisturising treatments, pomades and serums, all trying to quieten down the sheer volume that my hair spoke…

I would run with my hair out to try and stop the sweat from frizzing it up.

I’d sleep on satin pillow cases, with treatments and hot towels on my head at night. I’d avoiding swimming, or anything that meant getting all my hard work ruined by water or steam.

I remember feeling dread when I would look outside whilst planning for a big night ahead and see any sight of rain or humidity, because both meant that any taming of tresses on my part would be in vain, and on occasion – I’d simply stay in because of it.

The result of the 40 minute heat preparation every morning, was a crunchy, scrunchy mess – ironed to its death and covered in serum and hair spray. All of that heat treatment only left me with what my first boss called ‘hay on my head’.

It was on a trip to Auckland that a good friend of mine had just returned from having her hair chemically straightened at some dodgy sort of set up in the Central City. What she was telling me sounded too good to be true. After four hours in the salon, and for only $300 I could have straight, manageable hair that would dry like that naturally, not boof up in the rain and humidity and best of all – was permanent until it grew out! I could hardly believe what I was hearing! So I rang immediately and made an appointment for the next day.

Four hours in the salon later

…and it was true. I remember crying with joy when they washed the solution out of my hair for the second time, put the blow drier on it and it dried dead straight! No kinks, no frizz, just gorgeous glossy hair! Life changing!

One problem…

…apparently European hair is finer than Asian hair, and the straightening system they use is formulated for thick Asian hair. Three months later, my hair started to break off about one inch from my scalp – and it kept breaking…and breaking…

It was about this time that I was fortunate enough to run into Mike Hamel, owner of the prestigious Ginger Meggs Hair Salon in Merivale, Christchurch.

I clearly remember how crushing it was when Mike looked at my hair and told me in no uncertain terms. “You’re hair is f#*@*d”.

He then reassuringly told me “don’t worry, I can cut it so the breakage won’t show, we’ll get you some fantastic Mike Rehab Treatment to use and re-strengthen your hair, and once it’s ready I’ll have Kelly straighten it using the Schwarzkopf Straight Therapy system – PHEW!!!!

Mike and his Ginger Meggs team are my hair’s saviours! I religiously fly down to Christchurch every six months to spend five hours in their Contemporary Lounge salon having my hair straightened and cut.

Five hours and from $500 later I am free!

tick Free to exercise when I want and not worry about the sweat making my roots frizz up
tick Free to wash my hair in the morning and not spend 40 minutes with my GHD’s in hand
tick Free to sleep whichever way I want to, minus treatments, hot towels and satin pillow slips
tick Free to venture out in the Auckland humidity
tick Free to go swimming when ever I want
tick Free to go to Bikram Yoga in the morning and not have to spend 40 minutes straightening my hair after class
tick Free to run from a taxi cab into a bar in the rain and not be worried about the effect it will have on my hair…

The down sides of chemical straightening include:
cross You can’t have highlights/dyed blonde hair or hair that has been lightened that you are growing out. You must grow it out or cut it off before it can be straightened
cross You can’t permanently colour hair once it’s been chemically straightened. Semi permanents are fine
cross Once the straightening starts to grow out, you’ll have to use your irons to keep the regrowth nice and straight until you have it re straightened (four to six months later).
cross Not a good idea when pregnant or breastfeeding.

Chemical straightening (when done properly) is an extremely liberating process. I’d recommend it to anyone with unruly hair, or anyone who wants liberation from spending valuable time every morning with their GHD’s. I’m hooked for life and forever in debt to Mike and his fabulous Ginger Meggs team! You can contact Ginger Meggs at

Article by Janelle Rennie


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