By Rebekah Sager
Photos by Jennifer Fox Armour From the moment a curly-haired girl gets her first straight-blonde Barbie doll, the quest to conquer the frizz is on.
And into adulthood, as they battle with at-home relaxers, flat irons and reverse perms, girls with curls become slaves to the war against humidity, often going to hairlarious lengths to tame their unruly manes.
Though Beyoncé and other kinkyheaded divas empower some women to let their freak curls fly, it's the über-straight locks of the likes of Jennifer Aniston, Kim Kardashian and Princess Catherine that typically set the trends.
If a brush with fame seems far-fetched, check out these local salons that are helping us San Diego girls set things straight.
First up is Del Mar's newest bar, Drybar. There are no cocktails, cuts or color here-just perfect blowouts for $35.
Drybar founder Alli Webb opened her first shop in Brentwood in 2010. With nine salons now open, and three more on the way, Webb has found a way into the hearts of legions of corkscrew-haired chicas.
Drybar stylists offer blowouts with styling choices named after cocktails, like the Straight Up (simple and straight), the Manhattan (sleek and smooth), the Southern Comfort (big hair with volume) and a few other options.
"We're offering women an affordable luxury," Webb says. "It's an homage to old Hollywood, where getting your hair done weekly at the beauty salon was the norm. We're not changing the world here, but we promise a transformation."
Having inherited my father's soft, wavy curls and my mother's "Jew-fro," I had to give Drybar a try. Though I love my curly hair, I also love how it looks when it's been straightened. I opted for the Southern Comfort and went from, "Did you know you look a little like Alicia Keys?" to "You kinda look like Marisa Tomei." Not bad.
12857 El Camino Real, Del Mar
HAIR AND NOW
If giving your hair a formaldehyde bath sounds appealing, then a Brazilian hair straightening treatment is the way to go.
A kinder, gentler approach can be found in keratin smoothing treatments, which promise to soften hair, make it shinier, reduce styling time and maintain texture and volume-and without the weird curly lines that sometimes plague women when hair grows back in.
PacificSD's marketing maven, Alyson Baker, agreed to have her hair professionally smoothed by keratin specialist Jennifer Schadt at Jet Rhys Hair, in Hillcrest, which has been beautifying San Diego heads for almost 20 years.
The keratin process is fairly simple. A stylist washes and conditions the hair, applies the keratin treatment, leaves it in for 20 minutes, and then follows that with a blow dry and flatiron treatment.
Initially, the hair is left pin-straight, but after 72 hours (in which clients are instructed not to bathe or sweat), a more manageable and attractive version of one's curls return.
"I liked having straight hair for a few days but was skeptical as to how it would look after the first wash," Baker says. "Surprisingly enough, it worked. I wanted it to look beachy, fun and sexy-and I think they got it right. I haven't done anything but wash, condition and use texture spray since."
Jet Rhys keratin smoothing treatments start at $250.
3846 Fifth Ave., Hillcrest
437 S. Hwy 101, Suite 205, Solana Beach
JUST BLOWN IN
Also shooting air at problem hair is La Jolla's newly-opened Naturale Hair Blows. The alternative blow dry salon offers a variety of styles, with an emphasis on all-natural and organic products. Owner Marla Ariza even offers a "day after" option, in which women can drop in after a night of partying and receive a $10 blow-out touch-up.
7932 Ivanhoe Ave., La Jolla, 858.228.8194, naturalehairblows.com