While I waited for someone to surface, I visually browsed the inside of this swanky salon. I've seen it many times before but never had the opportunity to view the inside. As I was taking it all in, something immediately caught my eye. It was this weird looking steamer machine situated near the back of the salon. Intrigued, I immediately wanted to take a picture so I can find out more about this mysterious piece of equipment. After my brief consultation, I proceeded with my purchase. The ever observant receptionist noticed my purchase and graciously shared a special offer of a free (steam) treatment if I purchased a shampoo/conditioner combo. You guys know what happened next......
Fast forward a few weeks and I stumbled upon this salon in West Hollywood offering oxygen scalp therapy. My curiosity got the best of me so I immediately located someone who I could interview to learn about this process. While her answers were a bit veiled, what I got from her was that the Oxygen Therapy machine used technology that influenced the quality of the "oxygen." A little confused, I asked the lady, "so is this like a steamer?" A bit reluctant to use layman's terms, she eventually responded "yes."
That night, the first thing I did was research this magnificent steamer. I learned that it was a MicroMist steamer. Now, all of us by now should be familiar with steamers. We've discussed this topic many times on this blog. This steamer, my dears, is unlike all of them we've been exposed to whether via YouTube, hair forums, or whatever. The MicroMist steamer is the Bentley of the steamer world. Here's a brief summary describing it's benefits that you can check out. Basically, it uses ultrasonic technology to emit microscopic water particles that are better able to penetrate the strands. Plus this bad boy has the ability to release cool mist which we know can help seal the cuticle layer after the moisture has been infused. Immediately upon learning more about the MicroMist, I was ready to explore the option of purchasing one.....that is until I came across the price tag of $2,000. Y'all know I can get a little crazy sometimes with the hair related purchases but $2,000 is where I draw the line. Just before the tears of sorrow were about to well up from deep inside, I remembered that I had free treatment coupon from the Prive Salon.
Literally, the next chance I had, I went to book my appt. Part of the reason I agreed to a service at this Euro salon is because:
#1. The MicroMist steamer and
#2. They have a woman of color stylist on staff.
Prior to securing the appointment, I asked to have a face to face discussion with the stylist. I left the salon that day with a huge smile on my face because Marie was the most pleasant, accommodating stylist I ever met in my life. She put me completely at ease and let me know that my desires to keep my hair healthy during this process was her number one priority as well.
The day of my visit, I felt like I was part of the upper echelon. While sitting in the stylist chair, the salon's owner came by to offer clients chilled Mimosa drinks. Never had this experience in a salon before. Is this what it's normally like in these salons?
Another reason why I was excited for the service is because the salon uses Kerastase products, which means that I know the products will be effective and I could save the use of some of the products I have at home. Prior to my deep conditioning Marie broke out a jar of the Nutri-Thermique (which I've raved about). She used ample product on my thick, course hair and she took the time to part my hair in small sections during application while I sipped my Mimosa. What more can a girl ask for?
Then came the moment that I had been waiting for. It was as if cherubs where singing as she wheeled the MicoMist closer to me. The excitement I was feeling was disgustingly obvious. I couldn't wait to get started.
So she started off by loosely pinning my hair up placing the steamer over my hair. Next she secured the velvet cloth so there was no exit point for the steam. Most (I think all) other steamers I've seen have steaming coming from the hood that escapes out during the process. With the MicroMist, all of the steam stayed exactly where it needed to be.
Ten minutes later, Marie popped back up and removed the hood to observe my hair. I too had a chance to take a look. Unlike when I do traditional steaming, my hair didn't feel hot. This is likely because the machine boil the water to produce steam like traditional steamers. Marie, decided to do an additional 10 minutes just to make sure my thick, textured hair could receive the full benefits. When she finally removed the steamer a second time, my first observation was how puffy my hair was. If was like each strand was swollen by the steam absorption. Instead of hanging downwards, it grew upwards. I take that as a good sign. Also, sometimes my hair drips when after my traditional steam treatment. This time, no sign of dripping. All the moisture was trapped in the strand. It was fabulous.
Marie then began the painstaking process of blow drying and flat ironing my hair. Mind you, my last relaxed was August and my hair has plenty o' texture in it from my use of mild relaxers. I think roller setting may have saved some time but she opted to use a different method. I was terrified of having my wet hair blow dried with a round brush. It was pretty bad when I had it done on dry hair at the Dominican Salon. I could only imagine how damaging doing it on wet hair would be. After voicing my concerns, Marie immediately switched to using a flat brush. Her blow dry technique was surprisingly gentle. The blow dryer was at a very comfortable temperature. No steam arose during the process. Marie was even gracious enough to provide tips on how I could get my hair straighter at home.
When each section was done, she began to flat iron my hair. Being the awesome stylist she is, she applied a small amount of Kerastase Fibre Architecte to each section prior to flat ironing and she showed me the temperature setting of the iron which was below 400 degrees. I think I actually love her.
When the service was completed, I skipped over to the receptionist desk like a school girl and paid for the experience. Then Marie and I walked over to a neighboring restaurant to order take out. While waiting for our orders, a customer complimented Marie on my hair as I walked to the restroom. The end result appeared similar to when I would go to the Dominican Salon but there were some notable differences.
First, my hair had a natural shine to it that was incredibly obvious. Secondly, it was baby soft to the touch and felt nourished and moisturized. I don't know if it was the steamer, the Kerastase products, or (most likely) the combination. But whatever it is, I liked it! My only concern is that I generally don't enjoy my hair being bone straight. But in this case I'll make an exception because it felt so incredibly healthy. My schedule prevented me from taking pics right away so I apologize to all of you for not fulfilling my duty to post fresh from the salon pics as any decent blogger would do. I believe these was taken a week after my salon experience and my hair still felt incredibly soft. As of today, I'm nearing two weeks and even still my hair is perfectly straight and my hair feels really nice.
I still wish I had my own MicroMist that I could have to use weekly. The salon experience, while great, is still more manipulation and heat that I use on a normal basis. Although I'm extremely grateful to have found Marie, I know getting my hair blow dried wet on a weekly basis will create long term results that don't align with my hair goals. I'm seriously contemplating setting up an account where I can draft a small amount of money on a regular basis so that one day, I'll have my MicroMist money sitting there waiting for me. Or perhaps, I will stumble upon a salon that is selling their equipment online due to closing or upgrading and buy the MicroMist at a fraction of the cost.
A girl can dream can't she?