This is probably my most requested post. I’m sorry this took so long to write but I wanted to wait as long as possible so that I could give you the most complete, accurate review possible. What if I told you I loved it and then it washed out after a month? Luckily that didn’t happen, but I wanted to wait to give you the full low down. 🙂
Back in September, I got my first Keratin treatment. I went to Frederic Fekkai in Soho and it’s dramatic to say but the treatment totally changed my life.
Change your hair, change your life… right? Let’s back up. For as long as I can remember, I have been owned by my hair. I talked more about my hair journey here… I’ve always had a lot of hair, and I’ve always had to put a lot of work into taming it and getting it to look good. People would tell me how lucky I am to have such thick, pretty hair and I would just laugh because I felt like my hair owned me. I have so many friends who can just blow dry their hair in 5 or 10 minutes and I’m (still) so jealous of them! I was getting weekly blowouts, timing them to blog photo shoots, dates, events, etc. Everything revolved around my blowout schedule and if Amika or DreamDry didn’t have an opening, life was ruined. Okay not really, I discovered The Beachwaver which really helped me become better at doing my hair on my own… but doing my hair (or getting it done) has always been an ordeal that takes me at least an hour. If I was going on a trip I had to remember to get a blowout right before so that it would last the whole trip. And don’t even talk to me about getting it wet at the beach. Every other thing about my routine is low maintenance. I don’t take long showers. I wear very little makeup. Etc. etc. But my hair. So much work.
I’d heard keratin treatments were great, but it was seeing Mackenzie that convinced me to do it. We’d complained to each other in the past about our unruly hair (and mutual love of blowouts) – I saw her at a dinner and she looked so good. Her hair looked amazing. Healthy, shiny, perfect. After talking to her, I went home and immediately booked an appointment at Fekkai.
What to know before you go.
If you color your hair, consult your stylist first. At Fekkai they actually wanted me to get my highlights after getting keratin. Some salons are the reverse, it really depends upon the products that your salon uses. My stylist (Erica) wanted me to wait one week after getting keratin to get my highlights. In some cases the keratin will lift the color. I really liked the results; getting highlights did not affect my keratin treatment at all.
Invest in a good (sulfate-free) shampoo and conditioner. The one “requirement” for hair that’s had a keratin treatment is that you must use sulfate-free products (or the treatment won’t last as long). I am a big fan of this and this from Alterna, or this and this from Fekkai. Both are awesome but the Fekkai products smell SO GOOD.
Make sure you get the treatment without formaldehyde. A lot of salons still offer the one that has the formaldehyde in it. Yikes. That stuff is used to embalm bodies… you don’t want it on your scalp. Just ask when you make the appointment. I know that Fekkai’s formula is totally formaldehyde free.
The treatment itself is pretty straightforward. I saw Erica for my treatment (she also colors my hair) and LOVED her. So nice and knowledgable. I was at the salon for a little over two hours. They start by washing (shampoo only, no conditioner) and rough drying your hair. From there, they apply the keratin treatment to the hair. I forget how long they left it on… maybe twenty or thirty minutes? Then they shampoo it out, blow dry your hair again, and flat iron it to seal it. Done. My stylist recommended waiting 24 hours before washing it. I was paranoid so waited a couple days.
I will say that until I washed it, I was a little bit apprehensive. My hair was SO flat. I’d never had hair that straight and it almost felt dirty to me because it was just so flat and limp. I found myself putting dry shampoo on my clean hair to add a little bit of body, especially at the roots. The other bummer was that for the first month, it barely held a curl, even if I used tons of hairspray. If I curled it, the curls would fall out almost immediately. This wasn’t an issue after the first month, but for that first month I learned to like it super straight.
I ultimately ended up chopping my hair (I cut six inches off!) because the treatment made it so straight that my dead ends were more visible, but more imporantly… I realized I could finally pull off short hair (I used to rely on the weight of my hair to keep it from going crazy and wild) with it that straight. In the past my hair was too thick and frizzy to even think about it… with the keratin treatment it’s easy and effortless. I feel like I finally have (more or less) wash & go hair. I spray a little bit of this leave in conditioner on after I shower, I comb it through my hair, and once it’s dry I use a little of this texturizing spray. If I have fancy plans or a shoot I’ll flatiron it or curl it, but it’s a thousand times easier than it was pre keratin treatment… and that’s four months in!
Questions I foresee you asking!
How much does it cost? It really depends on the salon you go to, and also your hair texture, thickness, and length. I had major sticker shock at Fekkai as Mackenzie had only paid $300 for her treatment. I guess I have more hair, or maybe it’s more expensive in the city vs. Connecticut because mine was $500… and that was before I added a 20% tip! Yikes. I’ve never spent so much money on a beauty treatment. I didn’t reach out for a PR discount or anything because I wanted to give you a fully unbiased review and while I LOVE the results I am going to be really honest and tell you that I don’t feel comfortable continuing to pay that much money. I have mixed emotions. I am one of those people who can rationalize anything and when you think about it, $500 is less than 4 months of weekly $40 blowouts… but still, it’s just so much money.
Edited to add: NOT ALL KERATIN TREATMENTS ARE CREATED EQUAL. I went to another place and was so disappointed. While it was less expensive, it literally did nothing. I will be going back to Fekkai!
How long did it last? I’m on four months now. I could probably go longer but it’s starting to get a little bit frizzy. The treatment technically lasts anywhere from 3-6 months. I’ve heard that it’s best to get a new treatment before the old treatment fully wears off, so I’m being proactive and getting it done this week.
Does it make your hair straight? Not completely. It makes my hair a frizz-free wave (the photo above is how it looks after air drying it. I took that photo a month in but it’s still pretty accurate now, though slightly frizzier four months in). I actually really like how it looks air dried short with a bit of texture spray in it… it’s a little messy and playful but NEVER FRIZZY.
Does it make your hair greasy? No. As I mentioned the first couple days (before washing it) were a bit of a struggle, but once I was able to wash it, and once I cut it, there were no grease situations. I will say that prior to getting the treatment I was one of those annoying people who always bragged about how often I could go without washing it. I could (no joke) go four or five days, and then put dry shampoo in and make it last a full week. I definitely have to wash it more now… I probably wash it twice a week now, and if it’s flat I just add a little dry shampoo.
How long does it take you to style your hair now? About fifteen minutes! I put in leave in conditioner and let it air dry (it still takes a while to air dry) and then I will either flatiron it or curl it. Flat ironing my hair alone used to take me a solid 30-40 minutes before I did this.
Is it bad for your hair? It’s actually good for your hair! This is maybe the best part. The treatment wraps each strand in protein, which makes your hair healthier and shiny. (That’s why you want to use a good sulfate free shampoo, to keep that protein coating intact for as long as possible!!)
Will it grow back funny afterward? No! Because the treatment gradually wears off, as your hair grows in, the treatment eventually wears out. So as my naturally wavy hair grew in, the treatment was slowly wearing out. I’ve seen crazy grow-in situations with Japanese straightening and there is none of that.
That’s it! If you have more questions, let me know in the comments… but I seriously could not recommend this treatment enough – it’s made my life so much easier and allowed me to finally have cute “short” hair.