It’s been 20 years since the launch of GHD, the brand whose irons blew their clunky, plastic predecessors out of the water. You know, the ones that took aeons to heat up, only to do a meagre, bordering on pathetic job.
Not understanding the concept of hair health, or science, it would seem, I used to slather my hair in John Frieda Frizz Ease-Serum, before indignantly clamping every section, until it sizzled like a steak in butter. Oh dear. But I needed all the help I could get. In fact, with kinks, corkscrews and wayward waves, I had few friends who weren’t taunted by the stick-straight brief of the day/year/decade. Hair that was impervious the effects of humidity was an unattainable ideal, but we were unrelenting in our pursuit. On occasion an actual iron was used, but don’t worry, hair went under a tea towel and the temperature dial went down to the silk setting first. We weren’t that silly. Only one blistered ear. Good going, really.
Then came GHD. A friend from school knew the girl whose dad had started it. At a time where hair straighteners were more precious than Yeezys, it was akin to knowing Kanye West. The fabled connection afforded her some long before anyone else. Imagine our faces when she arrived at a sleepover with a pair. They fired up quicker than a supercar, heat reassuringly emanating. Where previously we’d tested whether straighteners were ready to use by clasping the plate, we’d now hover our hands above, as if warming them over a fire. It was the activity of that evening, and many that came after it. We didn’t care that the host’s mum had rented Scream 3 on DVD from Blockbusters, or that a devastatingly handsome boy had topped up his phone and was therefore, up for text tennis all evening. Nope, we were too busy rapt in awe as the hair on the head of every girl in attendance was coaxed effortlessly, into ramrod straight and shiny sheets.
Between our friendship group, we took a pair everywhere. We’d scout out plug sockets on trains. While shopping in Leeds, we'd shunt sofas in Starbucks to crouch in corners and iron out single frizzy strands. God forbid we were seen in public with one. Yes, maintaining faithful and flat hair was a commitment, but we never wavered. At home, our bedroom carpets bore the brunt, 45 degree scorch marks, ten a penny.
20 years on and the brand that first enabled us to – actually – achieve salon-quality hair at home, is as big a part of our lives as ever. I own two pairs of straighteners, a hair dryer and a curling iron by the brand. I wouldn’t go anywhere else. While straight hair may have fallen out of fashion, eclipsed by salty waves and bouncy textures, like anything, we can expect a resurgence. If the AW21 catwalks of Versace and Chanel are anything to go by, the return of straight hair is already underway. And thank goodness, because god knows we're due some happy days in 2021, which we all know, start with Good Hair Days. Does what it says on the tin and all that.
Hershesons Keratin Blow Dry, from £300 29-32 Berners St, London W1T 3LR