I'm currently trying to justify the cost of getting this procedure done. My hair does not like regular flat irons, and I'd rather not do that much damage to my hair if I can help it, so relaxing is out. What I'd like is just something that will make my hair easier to deal with. I'm tired of washing and styling it every single day, just so it can go limp as soon as it's dry. It takes me ages to get ready in the morning, and my hair doesn't dry completely until mid-afternoon. It's ridiculous. I'm all about low-maintenance, and I might miss my curls a little, but I think being able to just get up in the morning and go would make it worthwhile.

Everything I've read says the process will take about five hours. I can handle that, if it means my hair will stop taking over my life for about six months or so. I think that since finding NC.com, I've spent more money on styling products for my hair than the thermal straightening would cost.

I started looking for salons in Washington state that offer this service, and so far all I've found is one salon in Seattle. A good 4-5 hours away. I did find another salon in Portland, Ore., and the Web site seems very reputable. The stylist said she needs to do in-person consultations before recommending the procedure, and since Portland is also about 5+ hours away from where I live, I don't know when I'd find the time to drive all the way down there for a consultation, then drive all the way back up here, just to drive down there AGAIN to get the whole thing done.

The Portland salon charges a base $400 for the first three hours, and the stylist said she charges $60 per each additional HALF HOUR. $120 an hour is a lot of money.

I know, I should just accept my hair the way it is and learn to work with it, but I just want it to leave me alone and let me rest from the constant styling and stress and the whole "No, don't touch my hair, you'll disrupt the curl formation and make it frizzy!"

Is there anyone in the local area who can point me to a decent salon that knows how to do this straightening thing?