From Blah to Ooh La La
Rapunzel-worthy locks in minutes (okay, hours)
On a recent visit to Toni & Guy at Sunshine 100, I noticed a stylist working on a client, a woman who had the most beautiful blond hair, with big soft curls – just like Gossip Girl’s Blake Lively.
I was enthralled by the feminine beauty of this dramatic style and looked on with envy. Until my stylist whispered, “Those are hair extensions.”
I immediately wanted to sign up for hair extensions, but on second thought, I wasn’t sure I was ready for such a transformation. So I convinced my friend Kelly, an event organizer and self-described slave to fashion, to be my guinea pig and let me live vicariously through her.
At the initial consultation, Zhang Yue, a stylist, advised Kelly that her ear-length hair was just long enough to carry off extensions. Zhang then selected extensions that were made of real human hair and matched Kelly’s hair color. She also issued the warning that since the extensions would be braided to Kelly’s hair, her scalp might feel uncomfortable. It would also be hard to wash the scalp with extensions.
When the big day arrived, Kelly was first treated to a head massage and shampoo. Then Zhang and her assistant went to work, dividing Kelly’s hair into several sections and meticulously braiding extensions into strands of her hair.
Four hours later, Kelly’s arms and legs had gone numb from sitting still in the chair. “This was by no means a relaxing experience,” Kelly joked. She acknowledged, however, that her hairdressers seemed to have an infinite amount of patience; after all, they still had hundreds of braids to weave. The RMB 3,000 package, it turned out, was more than worth the stylists’ hard work.
Eventually, though, the braiding came to an end. At first, Kelly was somewhat upset because she could see the spots where her real hair was braided with the extensions. “We’re not done yet,” said Zhang, who then began trimming Kelly’s hair into layers and arranging the locks to cover up the new extensions.
Finally, Kelly looked into the mirror and was met by a more than satisfactory sight: a wavy, natural head of hair that was thicker and, even better, had not required two years to grow.
Beauty comes at a price, however. That night, Kelly had trouble sleeping. For one, she was too excited about her new look, but another reason was that she had an itchy scalp, just as Zhang had warned earlier. But as Kelly will attest, any woman who will run for a cab while wearing four-inch heels will know that this was a small sacrifice for beauty.