It's the 21st century! We're living in the future, and soon we will be ferried around in driverless cars and get all our protein from eating bugs.
The future of hair care apparently comes in the form of a frozen flat iron that's not actually a flat iron. The Inverse Hair Conditioning System looks like your standard hair straightener, but it uses the power of sub-zero temperatures to restore moisture to your hair and make it shiny and glossy and all that good stuff.
We syndicated the news from InStyle when the product was first released, and given the company is New Zealand-based, I thought I better get my hands on one to see if it really works. I clearly didn't read the article properly, though, because I thought the tool was some kind of straightener that magically freezes your hair straight, which I didn't think was possible.
My skepticism was misguided. The Inverse is a bit more simple and science-based than that.
You know how most hair-dryers have a setting that lets you blast your hair with cold air once you've done drying, and how people always recommend rinsing your hair in cold water after you wash it with hot water in the shower? It builds on the principle that cold temperatures can seal the cuticle and help your hair retain moisture.
You get a plastic body that the ice cores slide in and out of easily, although they're held securely with magnets when they're in place. You take the ice cores out and leave them in the freezer for at least two hours. I've just been putting them straight back in the freezer once I'm done using them and leave them there until next time.
Inverse recommends that you use the system when your hair is still damp after washing. I tried that. My hair kept freezing to the plates, and I had to pull it off, which felt like I was damaging it, especially at the ends. The instruction booklet suggests letting the surface of the ice cores come up to temperature for a few moments after taking them out of the freezer... but I feel like that negates the whole "these need to be frozen" thing.
I let my hair air-dry after persevering and running the Inverse system over all of it.
While it couldn't dry my hair, I do think it changed the way my hair sat once it was dry — it's like a styling tool that kinda coaxes your hair into its best self. I found my annoying cowlicks at the front sat a little smoother and flatter, and there was less frizz at the ends. I left the house without blow-drying my hair and didn't worry that it was going to look awful once it dried, which is one pro to this product that I'm going to cling onto, given how hot it is here at the moment. Blowdrying your hair in the heat is the worst.
Running this thing through dry hair is a lot easier than using it on damp hair, though. The brand recommends using their Ice Mist, which brings your hair to the right pH, but I don't have that. My skepticism also comes out to play and wonders if that's what makes your hair look shiny, rather than the cold itself.
I haven't seen a significant transformation in my hair. I don't know if I will. Some people see a difference after one use, apparently, but looking at these before and after photos, any difference I think I'm seeing is probably imaginary. Maybe it's a little less frizzy at the back?
I'm coming to the same conclusion as I did when thinking about whether anyone really needs a powered face cleaning brush: it feels like it's just an expensive way to remind yourself to take care of your skin, or in this case, hair.
My hair is naturally a tiny bit wavy, but Inverse make a big deal out of how good it is for curly hair, so I'm going to pass it on to my friend who describes herself as "40% frizz" to see how it works for her. If it's a magical transformation, I'll tell you about it!