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.
The treatment sounds lush! ❤️ I, too, had a keratin treatment last year, and my hair was so much more manageable after that. Still frizzy thanks to the awful humidity in Hong Kong, but less frizzy for sure! 🙂
Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog
Thanks Charmaine! It really does make a huge difference.
I’m obsessed with keratin. I’ve been doing it for year’s with Gaetano who does house calls in New York. Keratin in your pajamas…can’t beat it. And his prices are super competitive. http://gaetanohair.com/index.html
OMG what!? That sounds amazing – thanks for the rec!
I love your shorter hair so much! Unfortunately I have really thin hair so I don’t think that the keratin would work for me, but how cool that you had such a positive experience!
Thank you so much Emily! xo
Your hair looks so good! As you get older, you’ll be glad for that thick mane lol!
Design by Sydnee | A Lifestyle Blog
Thank you so much 🙂 xx
I was so happy to see this review! I did the treatment 6 years ago and LOVED it, but it was definitely the formaldehyde version as it burned my eyes like crazy! I’m dying to do it again but not sure if it’s okay to do while pregnant/nursing. Your post has convinced me to give it a go ASAP! Thank you for this!
It’s such a game changer! I think this one is much more safe!!!
I love getting keratin treatments. My hair is fine so I only need to do it about twice a year…however, it makes my hair SO flat. I just got one before a trip and I hate all of the photos because my hair is so flat…but now that I’m a month in it looks awesome. I guess the trade off (flat hair vs. triangle hair) is worth it.
Hahaha. I’m so glad you used the term “triangle hair”…I was trying to explain this to the woman who cuts my hair and she looked at me like I was crazy. It’s a real thing. Except when summer humidity is in full swing and then my hair becomes straight up “infinity sign”.
Triangle hair is REAL!!!!!
I agree – would rather have my hair be flat than a triangle… oy! haha!
Yay! So excited that you finally found a solution – life changing indeed. Happy Tuesday, lady!
Seriously the best. Have a great rest of your week Jenn!
This sounds perfect for my hair! I don’t love the price tag that comes with it, but the results seem great and long lasting!
I know… it is EXPENSIVE! Going to look into more affordable options!!
Yes!! I’ve been dying to read this post for months. I used to get Brazillian Blowouts in college but they drove my eyes crazy so I stopped and I also didn’t want to get cancer, lol. I miss the result of the Brazillian so much so I’m going to need to research some salons with keratin treatments ASAP!
Thanks for this thorough review!!
Yay I am so glad!!! Def check out a keratin treatment instead!!!
Ohhhh my gosh I need this!! I just wish it wasn’t so expensive. Like you, I’ve always had these compliments about my hair, “oh you’re so lucky you have thick hair.” Meanwhile, people don’t know the insane struggle that is taming my hair, getting it frizz free, blow drying it, etc. It’s a daily battle. Like you, I completely plan my life around my blowouts / my hair being done as well. eeeeek I’m also in a city so it’s unlikely I’ll find an inexpensive option, but I will be keeping my eyes peeled! Thanks for sharing your experience!!
Mackenzie || https://www.brunchonsunday.com
I KNOW. It’s so expensive.
I am having my regular hair dresser do their formula this week and will report back!!! xx
I just got this treatment this weekend and am liking it a lot so far (after 48 hours)!
The smell during the first wash was a little gross (they said there would be a smell after the first wash or two), but I was really really impressed with how quickly I was able to dry my hair!!!
You’re so right when you say how flat it is at first. As someone with ultra-thick hair, I was doubtful that anything could seem “too flat” – that seemed like a luxury! But I completely second your thought that it’s so flat it almost feels dirty!
Overall – the texture feels so glossy and it was so easy to style already after the first wash that I’m very pleased.
Yay! Did you go to Fekkai?
I ask as I went somewhere else and had a terrible experience – like, it didn’t do anything. So it’s back to Fekkai for me.
Yes it was Fekkai! And I tried somewhere else before Fekkai and paid ~2/3 the price and it did NOTHING. So I’m with ya! It’s obviously very pricey so I’m going to try to make it as long as possible before I have to do it again…but I’m thinking it’s worth it when compared to other places I’ve tried.
OMG I AM SO GLAD THAT I’M NOT THE ONLY ONE THIS HAPPENED TO!
I’m truly so, so bummed out!!! Not all treatments are created equal.
I am looking at the Fekkai Soho “menu”. What is the the treatment called exactly? Relaxer? I don’t see anything that mentions Keratin.
I would recommend calling the salon as maybe the menu is out of date? I got a keratin treatment – that’s the name of it. My stylist is Erica – LOVE her. xo
My hair is wavy, thinnish, and long. About 70% of the time I blow it out. I really like volume so my hair doesn’t look to flat and thin.
I want to try the keratin treatment and here are my questions:
Can I wear my hair wavy (after the first month)? And if yes, will it be frizz free?
I don’t color my hair so did you stylist mention anything that happens differently if you do not color?
When I do my typical blow out will I still have nice volume and a little curl at the ends of my strands?
By the way, I just listened to the first episode of the Bad on Paper podcast! Yay!! I’m excited to continue listening
If you have thin hair I probably wouldn’t recommend this. I think it will probably be too much for your hair and flatten it. That being said what I would do is call the salon and ask them – maybe they have some sort of solution!!!
We have opposite hair types so it’s hard for me to give you advice (mine is monstrously thick and unruly).
Nothing happens differently if you do/don’t color it.
Keratine treatments are the best. If you find the one that works fir your hair stick with it as some can make your scalp collapse. And those are the least expensive ones that you can smell the formaldehyde
I just did/renew mine. With the keratine treatment it helps if you blow dry your hair, as the treatment ia heat activated and it will last longer if you do
Thanks so much for this post!! I have the same hair type as you, and I agree that my life became so much better when I started to get these treatments. Have you tried the Brazilian Blowout treatment? I have tried the Keratin Complex and the Brazilian Blowout. I like BB because you don’t have to wait the three days afterwards to wash your hair or put it up.
Also, my stylist told me to maintain the treatment with Olaplex 3. Have you tried this?
I have not tried BB! Just the Fekkai one which I’m v loyal to after getting that bad one.
And yes! Love Olaplex. If you search Olaplex on the blog I have several posts.