I tend to have thoughts while watching my nightly CNBC "Shark Tank" marathon, including, but not limited to: 'Why didn't I think of that?' 'Hold up...doesn't that already exist?' 'OK, that's...awful' — and, 'If my attraction to Mark Cuban is wrong, I don't want to be right.'
As an avid and active viewer, I'll occasionally even Google the name of a product to see how it's doing post-"Tank". But I've never been inspired to actually whip out the ol' Capital One and make a purchase based on a televised sales pitch — until now.
Enter The Sleep Styler, a hair tool that made its "Shark Tank" debut this past March, after racking up thousands of dollars in funding on Kickstarter prior to filming. The concept is both simple and brilliant, making for ideal Shark bait: Soft, super absorbent rollers, made from yoga towel-like material, are inserted into wet hair at night. In the morning, you've not only had an abnormally restful sleep, thanks to the extra head cushioning, but you've got perfectly undone Victoria's Secret waves — without the need for harmful, time-consuming heat styling. (The Sleep Styler can allegedly straighten hair as well.) According to the pitch, the Sleep Styler cuts hair styling time down to just five minutes a day.
Brilliant, right? QVC queen Lori Greiner thought so (she shelled out $75K for 25 percent of the business), and so did I. When you're about to wake up looking like Gisele for the rest of your life, $29.95 plus shipping and handling ain't no thing. I ordered a set immediately and bragged about my awesome future hair to anyone who'd listen.
Three months later (ain't backorder a bitch?), my Sleep Styler finally arrived. My body — well, my hair — was ready.
Before trying out my Sleep Styler, I took some photos of what my hair looks like the morning after I've gone to bed with it wet — typically semi-regular, tight waves, with bends in places I wish there weren't. It's how I imagine a middle-aged biker guy's hair looks after he takes it out of his Princess Jasmine ponytail. (You can see the results in the photos below.)
A few days later, I washed my hair again. Following the instructions, I let it dry about 80 percent of the way before inserting my Sleep Styler rollers, which took about 10 minutes. To my dismay, I found that the rollers were way harder to insert than I'd anticipated. My hair kept getting caught in the velcro, and even figuring out how to wrap the securing strip of fabric in the opposite direction of my hair was a challenge for me. Nevertheless, I persisted until my hair was fully Sleep Styler-ed! Then I went to bed, excited to wake up looking much more fabulous than I had the day before.
Sadly, sleeping with the SS rollers was not exactly the dreamy experience described on "Shark Tank." It took me a while to figure out a comfortable head position, since the rollers were staggered in weird ways. Things didn't improve once I fell asleep: The next morning, one roller was dangling at the bottom of a section of loose hair, and another had fallen out entirely.
The bummer continued when I removed the remaining rollers — only to find that my hair looked, well... EXACTLY THE SAME as it had when I hadn't used to Sleep Styler at all. Parts of it even still felt a little damp. I brushed out the waves thinking that, somehow, that'd activate the Sleep Styler's secret powers — but instead, I ended up with the poufy hair of my nightmares. Sad! (See photos below.)
Alas, the Sleep Styler wasn't the hair unicorn I'd hoped it'd be. Maybe my hair is just too thick and heavy, maybe I didn't put the rollers in right, maybe I just can't have nice things. I have a feeling that the wave effect would probably work out better on someone with naturally straight hair — so I may end up gifting my pack to a friend whose locks need a little extra oomf. I'm just thoughtful like that.
As far as my own hair is concerned, it looks like I'll just have to learn to embrace my Cowardly Lion mane for the rest of the summer...