It’s been roughly fifteen years since I’ve bought a women’s magazine, generally sated by getting brief fixes when in doctor’s/dentist’s waiting rooms. However last week I crumbled in the face of temptation as we walked past a Newsagency displaying english language publications and I bought the May edition of Elle. I did this, as despite the fact that of the 353 pages, 223 were devoted to advertising, there was an extensive article on hair. And, in Rio, hair is something I am having many problems with.
I come from a family genetically consigned to hair that is best described by ‘f’ words. Frizzy, fluffy, freaky, fuzzy and others only hissed at the bathroom mirror. In fact the only ‘f’ word not used to describe our hair is flat. My genetic situation has been exacerbated in Rio with the added factors of swimming in salt water and the humidity, to the point where I’m mostly just frightening.
So, taking matters in hand, I attempted to make more effort with the appliances, (hairdryer and straightening tongs), I’d brought from home. Unfortunately, the power supply here is about 0.5 volts, so my tongs barely make it to lukewarm and the dryer just wheezes unhealthily, familiar as it is to 240 energy boosting volts. Okay, fair enough, I thought, and I made a trip to the store and brought new tools. Armed with these, I sat down to read Eva Chen, (Elle proclaimed Hair Oracle) and her advice on how to have brilliant, shiny, smooth locks in any climate.
The first sentence dealt a blow. Rather than talk about hair, she told readers that she uses an average of nine to twelve products on her face everyday – a scary thought. Soldiering on, however, things got better as she told, (without revealing subject numbers or methodology), that she’d canvassed women of the globe to find out which group was most satisfied with their hair. The result?
Brazilians! (Oh my God, how fortuitous.)
And what made them so happy? Apparently a daily practice of combing through oils – with many product examples listed. Giddy with knowledge of the secret, I went straight out and brought one of the products named and also another type with Australian Macadamia Nut Oil. (I couldn’t resist it and figured if it didn’t work on my hair, I could possibly just eat it or make a salad dressing.)
With success nearly within my grasp, I opened my new box holding the Brazilian brand matching hairdryer and tong set, their shiny red metallic exteriors assuring me of imminent hair perfection. Of course, this kind of optimism is usually doomed and in a country like Brazil it pays to expect surprises. It did not take me long to discover that although the tongs were fine, for some bizarre reason, the Brazilian manufacturers had decided to use a different size plug for the hairdryer – one that does not actually fit into Brazilian sockets. The outcome? A loud rant, (why, WHY, WHY?), and some swearing.
Luckily, there were better hair results from the oils – although flat is still foreign, (or should that be foreign?), and all the other ‘f’ words still apply, the Ozzie macadamias have at least made everything a lot more fragrant.