A few months ago, I asked my hairstylist about getting a Brazilian Blowout, but she said they weren’t giving those any more, due to the formaldehyde issue (the BB was not FDA-approved, but the patent was pending). My salon peeps said they were waiting to get the next big thing.

Well, this week I paid a visit to J Stila Salon & Spa, an unpretentious little house-turned-boutique in Bankers Hill. Redesigned and redecorated this year, the new owner is Coralie Smith, a delightful, peppy Aussie. She was knowledgeable about everything from "dodgy" chemicals to the secret love life of George Clooney. Straight away, she offered me wine, beer, tea, coffee, or water. I went with wine. Things were off to a great start.

At J Stila, Coralie performs the safest and strongest smoothing treatment available in San Diego. It’s called the Keratin Complex Smoothing System. It has the highest concentration of Keratin—meaning, she explained, that you’re coating the outside of your hair with its own structure. It protects and moisturizes, and it will take out the frizz for 3-6 months, depending on how well you take care of your hair (read: use shampoo and conditioner sans sodium chloride…that’ll set you back about $50, but, as she explains, "If you buy an expensive leather jacket, you don’t throw it in the washing machine, you take it to the dry cleaners—and you should do that with your hair." Touché).

The treatment I received contained aldehyde, which is a preservative derivative. Totally formaldehyde-free. First, a shampoo. Next, a light dry. Then: she applied the product like a tint. She combed me through and heated me for ten minutes with one of those plastic helmet things. The heat generating around my head, mixed with the wine buzz, made for a very pleasant, stupor-ific experience. Then I was blow-dried, and finally she locked in the straightening magic with a flat iron.

I walked out of the salon with the softest, sleekest hair possible. And that’s saying a lot for me, as, throughout my life, hair experts have described my locks as "brittle," "broken," "dry," "thirsty," and "unhealthy." In other words: fuzzy, frizzy, and wrinkly (uneven waves).


For three days, I wasn’t supposed to get my hair wet. But on the third day, I finally washed it and it was so weird coming out of the shower with stick-like dreadlocks. The ends were sliiiiightly wavy. But I was a new woman! I let my hair air-dry about 50 percent, and it was pretty straight! No broken ends puffing up at my crown; no surface strands lifting off in hideous clouds.

I should note that this is mainly a smoothing treatment, not straightening. For complete straightening, you’d have to change the chemicals of your hair—like you do with a perm—and get Japanese relaxing therapy. But the Keratin treatment takes out the frizz, bigtime. And most of the curl. (But you can still curl your hair using a curling iron.)


Anyway, I’m pretty excited about all the free time I’m going to have. I was so tired of spending hours yanking my hair straight with a round brush, only to sleep on it, and find it wasn’t completely dry and now has funny wrinkles and fuzz, and won’t lay down correctly around my face.

Definitely stop by J Stila and say hello to Coralie and the gang. They also wax, do facials, haircuts and color, skin care, lash extensions, bridal styling, event make-up, men’s barbering…and they’ll shellac your nails. As Coralie says, "It’s a one-stop shop!"

J Stila Salon & Spa

2454 3rd Avenue

San Diego, CA 92101



(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.