Last week I received my first-ever keratin treatment, and my life was changed forever (or at least for the next six months). I know it’s hyperbolic, but when you have hair like mine—brittle, frizzy, impossible to tame—and all of sudden it dries smooth, silky, and shiny in under ten minutes, it is, in fact, life changing. I’m still not sure why I waited so long to try the procedure myself. So to help any other frizzy-haired folks like me who may be considering getting a keratin treatment, here’s what you can expect to experience at the salon from start to finish.
First, a quick background on the particular treatment that I got: Goldwell Kerasilk is a customizable keratin treatment that is 100 percent formaldehyde-free and uses glyoxylic acid, keratin, and silk proteins to help manage various degrees of shape and frizz. Most keratin treatments require that you wait three days before shampooing your hair and come with a laundry list of rules—no tucking your hair behind your ear, no pins, no braids, and especially no ponytails. That’s not the case with Goldwell’s version. “With this one, we shampoo you right after the treatment. There is no additional waiting period for the product to settle in,” says colorist Meri Kate O’Connor of Eva Scrivo Salon in New York City. Now that that’s out of the way, here’s everything you can expect as a first-timer:
It takes a *long * time.As in three to four hours long (but worth every darn minute spent in that salon chair). The process goes something like this: shampoo (no conditioner); rough-dry hair until its 80 percent dry; apply the treatment working in small sections; let process for 15 minutes; blow-dry product into hair; flatiron hair in tiny quarter-inch sections (this takes the longest!); rinse hair for five to ten minutes to ensure product is completely out of hair; shampoo (again); apply keratin sealing serum; blow-dry. Phew!
There will be a weird smell.The treatment has a strange, musty smell (kind of like an old attic) that comes and goes in subtle wafts throughout the process. It’s not overly offensive, but it definitely doesn’t smell good, and you’ll certainly notice it. In most cases the stink will disappear completely by the final blowout, but for some people a very faint smell might remain until the next washing. It’s hardly a deal breaker for the silky smoothness you get after the fact, but something I was happy to have been warned of.
You’ll start to flake.Midway through blowout number two (after the treatment was applied), I noticed white flakes falling from my head down onto my shoulders. And it continued through the flatiron process as well (it actually got worse). Dandruff is never a good look, but O’Connor assured me that this a) wasn’t dandruff and b) was completely normal. It was actually excess product residue flaking off the hair, which tends to happen at this stage of the treatment. I am happy to report the flaking disappeared after the final rinse.
You’ll be heartbroken…After an excruciatingly long flat ironing process (three hours!), my hair looked as straight and smooth as could be. I was ready to unsnap my robe and walk out, but sadly it was back to the sink for ten minutes of rinsing and another shampooing. I cringed as I watched O’Connor’s hours of meticulous straightening rinse down the drain.
…and then absolutely amazed.I’m not quite sure what I expected from the end result. I assumed my hair would be a bit straighter and less frizzy, but the final blowout totally blew my mind. Using her fingers, O’Connor attempted to show me just how easy it would be to style my hair post-treatment. It wasn’t until I got home, however, and was able to give myself the same ten minute salon-worthy blowout, that I realized what a game-changer this treatment really was.
Before the keratin treatment, washing my hair was a preplanned process, one I would schedule into my weekly agenda in order to carve out enough time to get all the drying and straightening done. And I was guaranteed a frizzy mess when I broke out the blow-dryer, regardless of my arsenal of frizz-fighting products. But that’s all changed. My blow-dryer is now my best friend—at least until these smooth, silky results wear off.
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